The later years of school are some of the most stressful years of a persons life. The load of high levels of work, the need for time management and planning months ahead, combined with the stress of planning future study, managing social lives and large amount of co-curriculars can result in unpleasant years filled with extreme stress.
This article is for you if you are wondering how to manage the next few years as stress free as possible.
Tip Number One: Recognise your stress
You don’t gain anything from pretending not to feel stress. Bottling things up and trying to ignore stress is some of the worst ways to manage this situation, particularly over a long period of time. Chronic stress has real and devastating impacts on health, mental well being and increase medical risks like our chance of heart attack.
But this post isn’t just here to stress you out.
It’s important to recognise your stress, particularly because by managing your stress, you could turn it for your advantage.
It’s hard to believe in the craziness of the final years of school, but some stress is actually good for you. Stress has been proven to boost brain power, increase immunity, help people become more resilient and actually make you more likely to succeed. It also sometimes acts as a motivator - if we never felt any stress what would be getting us out of bed in the morning?
This has been scientifically proven by studies in rats that brief stressful events caused the generation of new nerve cells which improve rats’ mental performance. Showing that intermittent stress keeps the brain alert.
Stress that is recognised and managed can improve memory, increase alertness and make a person more likely to perform well. By training your brain to respond well to stress, you are not only solving a present problem, but also preparing well for your future.
However, this is only when that stress is managed - so make sure you don’t let it get out of control.
Master your stress
Stress is much less likely to have negative impacts if we feel we have no control over it. If you feel helpless, it is more likely you won’t be able to respond well to stress.
So what can you do to master your stress?
Be prepared! For any situation such as an exam, public speaking or even a difficult conversation. In regards to school assessments things like getting lots of sleep, eating breakfast and arriving at school early can go a long way to improving your exam experience.
Stress is also a reason practice paper’s and taking trial exams are so important - when we begin to train our brain how to react in similar ‘practice’ situations, it equips it for the real thing! At Pinnacle we offer HSC practice exams and the opportunity to do practice papers for that very reason - to prepare you for the stressful exam situation. These provide students with a chance to learn good exam techniques and how they react under stress, preparing them for the real exams.
This is a long list, but remember that in this regard, you are not alone. Look for your friends, family and teachers for advice and support. Remember, everyone is either going through the same thing that you are, or has been through it in the past.
While recognition and preparation are great for mitigating stress, but sometimes you are likely to be faced with something intensely difficult to handle. In this case, it’s important to find your perspective regarding the situation.
At the end of the day whatever mark you get, there are ways into university. Whatever happens, the future is in your hands.
Nothing is so bad that you can’t recover from it.
At the end of the day, take a deep breath and remind yourself that the HSC only goes for one year, no matter what you are going to get through it.
We’ve also compiled a list of external resources to help out if you are stressing hard!