Welcome to a stressed-out student club

By Monineath Nop

Wokandapix/ 2016/ CC0

The final exam is coming; your right hand is holding a book scanning necessary vocabulary while your left hand is holding a cup of coffee. Empty coffee cups start stacking up next to your desk as they accompany you reviewing your lessons, yet you could barely concentrate on the book. Does this sound familiar to you? Been there, done that!

We are somehow influenced by the social and academic pressure to succeed in a competitive world. To develop our academic performance and to make expected achievements, we stay competitive in class. Perfectionism makes us strive for a flawless academic record.

We have an unending list of work that we have to maintain–assignments, quizzes, homework and the will to live. Grasping at straws throughout the school year, not knowing whether you are going to make it or not. The amount of school work generates a great deal of pressure.

So why do we still glorify stress? The fear of failure can be a powerful double-edged sword, which simultaneously pushes you in two directions–success and stress. Some children may take 2 to 3 classes per day hoping that will expand their employment opportunities later in life. At the same time, parents seem to be under the impression that having more classes will help their children secure a successful future.

Sounds like school stress is unavoidable. Some students turn to unhealthy coping mechanisms such as excessively consuming coffee or energy drinks, pulling all-nighters, etc. That’s obviously a solution; a short-term one, however.

Things do not have to be negative. Sometimes, changing the way we think may help cut down a minimum amount of stress. Learn to shift your negativity and replace with positivity. Sometimes, we can have a small break to temporarily erase our mind off schoolwork by plugging in your earphones to block out the pressure. They sound cliché, I know, but it lowers the academic stress level somehow–if not completely.

If you happen to gulp in your lesson afterwards, please remember that the test score probably defines your academic success, but it doesn’t define who you are.

If you have been there, let us know how you manage to survive the storm of stress.

Views expressed here are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of UNICEF.

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