It’s hard to believe that exams have already come and gone. Two weeks ago, I was a bundle of high-energy stress – but nobody could tell. In fact, my friends told me they envied how “chilled” I was. They saw me as the laid-back one who stayed in the dining hall chatting with others long after I’d finished my meal, the one who was always the first to suggest playing cards or having a coffee, the one who spent her time painting cats when everyone else was studying.
But sometimes the people who seem relaxed are actually quite stressed! The reason I stayed behind after meals, or did some painting, was to give myself the downtime I knew I (and everyone else around me) desperately needed.
What my friends didn’t realise was that there were inner monologues that plagued me daily. I felt guilty every second I wasn’t reading something relevant. I was in a constant state of “I really should be doing something useful right now.” I dreaded that everybody else was more prepared than I possibly could be, and talking to my friends didn’t help. Everyone else seemed to be revising every waking moment, and the more I realised this, the more stressed I became.
Thankfully, exams are over now, and I’ve spent the last few days having fun in the British summer. Now that I can look back, I can tell that it wasn’t worth any of the stress – but it’s hard to keep a cool head when everyone around you is freaking out.
Exam season isn’t the most pleasant of times, and it’s understandable that everyone wants to do well. But let’s face it: staring blankly at your books all day won’t do any good. In fact, it’s probably just going to stress you out even more. So let yourself take the break you deserve – go for a walk, drink some tea, or do some sports!
If you ever have “one of those days” where you feel like you’re just sinking, stop. Then take a deep breath and close your books, your notes, and your laptop, and let yourself float back up again.
It’s okay to feel like you haven’t done enough – you probably know more than you think. Don’t panic; it’ll be okay. And this goes for most things, really!