Students picking up their HKDSE results tomorrow will be forgiven for feeling anxious and stressed right about now. In less than 24 hours’ time, they’ll know if their hard work has paid off, or if it was all for nothing.
Young Post spoke to three students from a counselling hotline set up by Hong Kong Shue Yan University (HKSYU) to find out how to keep calm before the big day, and what students can say to their parents if their results are not what they’re expecting.
“A student’s stress usually comes from not having a clear plan or vision for their future,” says second year student Kathy Yau. She says that those who plan for every potential outcome, from being accepted onto their favoured course to researching various non-Jupas options, will feel the strain far less.
If students have done this but still feel nervous, they might want to go over their programme choices, suggests Lee Ching-hei, another Year Two student.
Students should keep in mind WDEP, he says, which stands for wishes/wants, directions, evaluation, and planning.
“Students should have a good understanding of their wishes and wants, and check whether their [programme] choices fulfil them. If they don’t, they should evaluate their choices, and consider changing their plans.”
Students should ask themselves why they want to continue studying after secondary school, Lee says, and if they’re doing so for their own career goals, or to meet their parents’ expectations.
“They should evaluate the consequences of their decisions,” he says, and adds that even if students are choosing the latter, it doesn’t mean they have to give up things that interest them. “Taking electives you are interested in could be a way out as well.”
Once students have figured out why they’ve picked the path they will take, Lee says they should start feeling more confident about themselves.
Knowing for sure why they’ve picked what they picked doesn’t mean an end to stress, though, especially if they haven’t talked to their parents about it.
“Parent-child communications vary from one family to another, but students should be able to openly and honestly communicate with their parents,” Lee says. Parents can, he says, try to influence their children’s degree choices, because the students don’t explain their decision-making process. That’s why it’s important that they actually say they’ve got it all figured out.
Even then, some parents might think they still know best. No one likes to be judged, so some students may feel annoyed by their parents’ reactions and be tempted to argue with them.
Year Three student Anthony Wan says that students should try to keep conversations with their parents peaceful. They should, Wan adds, be aware of the verbal and non-verbal cues they are giving off. Defensive postures, like crossed arms, walking away, or slamming a door are indications a person refuses to communicate. If students are the best version of themselves when talking to their parents, Wan says, then their parents will do the same.
Students should also keep in mind that their parents only want what’s best for them, Lee says, even if their suggestions do not sound agreeable.
Yau says that, if nothing else, students should try to get rid of some of their nervous energy by exercising. Eating foods that increase the production of happy chemicals like serotonin and dopamine will also help.
Sometimes, though, all a student needs is to share their fears with someone else – and that person is often a fellow classmate or friend.
“Students are more likely to receive empathy from their peers in the same life stage, than [from] family or friends of other age groups,” Wan says. Even if readers aren’t picking up their results tomorrow, they should be there for a friend who is.
For all those that are getting their results tomorrow … the Young Post team wish you good luck!