Should we be stressing for finals?

blogpic - pixabay - woman with books studying

I know exams = stress but does it have to really be that way?

It’s normal to feel the heat rising as exam season draws near. Around this time, the Barr Smith Library experiences an upshot of students dropping by and it’s a battle trying to find an empty cubicle. I’m constantly checking my calendar to make sure I still have some time to study my materials and make notes while meeting assignment deadlines. I also start to break into cold sweats and have a mini heart attack every time I realise I only have 2 weeks to nail down everything I’ve learnt in the past 12 weeks.

So you see, it’s easy to feel stressed in that situation, especially when you’ve got other things at stake like the desire to score well in exams, the fear of failing, scholarships to keep up with, etc. A lot of things come into play that make us feel a little bit pressured during this time around. 

From the perspective of an international student, I’ve always been stressed when it comes to exams because that’s just how we were brought up to feel about it – directly or indirectly. Asian parents have a reputation for expecting their kids to be on top of everything and to some extent, that’s true. If you’re not bringing home a report card decorated with A’s and A plusses, well, be prepared for the comparing and the nagging. 

Financially, though, most of us just can’t afford to retake a subject because they cost a lot. 

So, I suppose it’s normal then to feel a little bit stressed about sitting for your exams because you’ve got a lot of reasons to score well. Maybe a little bit of pressure is needed anyway to motivate you to study. 

But I wonder if it’s normal for us to get super stressed out and burnt-out during finals season. Have we been conditioned to attribute our success to the days we spent burning the midnight oil and stretching ourselves too thin? 

I’ve seen some students completely withdrawing into their shell and detaching themselves from their social life just to study and losing their appetite or sleep because the anxiety they feel from exams consumes them too much. 

Anxiety and stress don’t seem to end there too. Some continue to hold their breath and overthink the quality of their answers and fear that it might not warrant an HD.

And yet we brush these behaviours off because “that’s just how uni is”.

I don’t think that’s very healthy. It’s actually quite alarming how we allow ourselves to neglect our physical and mental wellbeing all because we strive for academic greatness. It’s sort of like that whole ‘being busy means being productive’ mindset.  

Instead, a balance should always be met between studying and relaxing. Allow yourself to catch a breath when it feels like it’s getting a bit too much. 

So what do you think? Should we be stressing about finals?

Tagged in What messes with your head, stress, Exams