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Topic: Exams and expectations

8 posts, 0 answered
  1. P17
    P17 avatar
    4 posts
    5 November 2019
    I wasn't exactly sure how to describe this, I hope I make sense here.

    I have always been an above average student. I won a scholarship to a highly prestigious school and everyone that knew me knew me as a really smart person. This has translated into huge expectations of myself to perform really well in exams. I always study really hard, up to two months before the exams. However recently, my results have been slipping. It's not like they've been awful, but they've been getting worse. Besides, my school requires scholarship students to be in the top 30% of the grade. I've been doing that, but I've been really depressed lately, as my results are very mediocre. I've been doing really well in class, but when it comes to exams my mindset becomes flustered and I can't perform to the extent of my capabilities. This, combined with my peers' expectations that I will do really well, is really frustrating me, and I find it hard to cope at times. I'm not sporty or musical, and academics is my only main strength. Right now, I'm feeling really useless.

    I feel so stupid writing this. If you are reading this, thank you.
  2. therising
    Valued Contributor
    • A special award for members who go above and beyond to support others here on the forums
    therising avatar
    88 posts
    6 November 2019 in reply to P17

    Hi P17

    Unfortunately, the 'old school' attitude really hasn't budged much over the years. With exams basically examining how well you've absorbed information, you'd think the school system would have come up with a better plan by now other than putting young people into a stressful situation, especially without some taught relaxation techniques. Human beings basically function better when they're relaxed in high activity situations.

    There are a few things to consider when it comes to how well we absorb information:

    • How is the information being taught? Is the style of teaching engaging?
    • Is the subject being studied interesting to begin with?
    • Are we as alert as we possibly can be during a lesson? Some teachers will actually begin the class with an exercise to stimulate the brain.
    • Are energy levels a little low due to things like poor diet, mental fatigue (overwork or mental health challenges), poor hydration, not enough quality sleep and so on? It's always worth looking into the energy factor.
    • Are there any mental relaxation exercises being taught to students at your school? Perhaps you can suggest to approachable open minded staff or the principal the idea of employing someone to come in and provide guided meditation, especially preceding the exam time of the year.

    With intelligence defined as 'the ability to process information', there are a lot of factors to consider when it comes to processing, like those mentioned above. By the way, it's not stupid at all to question why our processing ability appears to have altered. This questioning is the sign of a highly intelligent person who seeks greater self understanding. An ignorant person would ignore the opportunity to learn more about them self.

    Try not to be too hard on yourself. You are an incredible person who has worked hard over the years. Keep in mind you may be trying to measure up to a system scattered with faults. In other words, it's not necessarily a fault of yours that is the issue here. Just work the system best you can, the school system as well as your own internal system (keep energy factors in mind).

    Take care and look after yourself :)

  3. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Aaronsis avatar
    73 posts
    6 November 2019 in reply to P17

    Hi P17

    I want to say welcome and I am so very very pleased you have come and reached out for some support. I can hear how frustrated you are and how overwhelmed by pressure you are. That is so much for a young person to deal with, I am not sure why we continue in the year 2019 to follow a model that has caused so many kids anxiety, depression and overall feelings of self worthlessness and self loathing. You as a person are not a measure of your grades.

    I am firstly wondering if you can reach out to a wellbeing officer or person at school like a counselor, if you can express how you are feeling that they might be able to assist you with coping with the pressure of performing and being a scholarship student there is that extra layer. I would love for you to get this addressed as soon as possible and I will tell you why.....I hope this is not too much for you but you have hit a real heart string for me..

    ..you see my brother was 19 years old and 3 months ago died by suicide...he was the dux of every year level, also at a prestigious school, he then went on to study Chemical Engineering and was awarded 3 scholarships. We thought how wonderful, the pressure is off and he can focus on studies....the thing was that he now had this horrific amount of guilt and burden as he saw all his friends working 2 jobs to pay for their course while he sat back and began to fail, he was the intellect, he was who everyone went to for help, there was so much pressure on him to perform and he the best, this was too much. I am so very sorry that he had this pressure and that he didn't just get on a bus and come home and say "I need a break" "I need some help". It all got too much and his grades started failing and his anxiety and depression crept in and an out of control spiral downwards then made this story end with suicide.

    What I am getting at P17, and by no means am I suggesting you are suicidal but I would love for you to speak to someone to get the pressure out, the words out and to look after your mental health.

    You are so much more than your academics, so very much more and maybe a small break lets you discover some things about you that you love and that you are good at and that make you happy, that is not about grades, scholarships and expectations.

    I am not sure if this is helpful to you P17, but huge hugs to you.

    AS

  4. P17
    P17 avatar
    4 posts
    11 November 2019 in reply to Aaronsis
    Hi Aaronsis
    Firstly, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. I don’t want to say anything like “I know how you must feel” because I don’t. But I understand how hard it must have been to share that and I am really grateful.
    However, I don’t know where to go on this matter that has been troubling me. We just got our latest exams back and my results so far are solid, and at first I was rather content. But as I started hearing other people gloat about their marks, things just took a turn for the worse. One of my friends topped the year in a subject, and I know I should be happy for him, but instead I resent it and am extremely envious. In fact, for the last few months, I can’t stand anyone my age doing well. I know it’s an awful trait to have, but I can’t help myself. I struggle to watch movies with child actors because I feel worthless.
    I must sound like the worst kid in the world saying this, but I really needed to get it out.

  5. P17
    P17 avatar
    4 posts
    11 November 2019 in reply to Aaronsis
    Hi Aaronsis
    Firstly, I am so sorry to hear about your brother. I don’t want to say anything like “I know how you must feel” because I don’t. But I understand how hard it must have been to share that and I am really grateful.
    However, I don’t know where to go on this matter that has been troubling me. We just got our latest exams back and my results so far are solid, and at first I was rather content. But as I started hearing other people gloat about their marks, things just took a turn for the worse. One of my friends topped the year in a subject, and I know I should be happy for him, but instead I resent it and am extremely envious. In fact, for the last few months, I can’t stand anyone my age doing well. I know it’s an awful trait to have, but I can’t help myself. I struggle to watch movies with child actors because I feel worthless.
    I must sound like the worst kid in the world saying this, but I really needed to get it out.

  6. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Aaronsis avatar
    73 posts
    11 November 2019 in reply to P17

    Hi P17

    It is so great to hear from you again. I am so very happy for you that you feel like your marks are solid, that is so wonderful and I am so proud of you. I hear what you are saying that now you are left feeling angry and annoyed at others, at their results and how they are performing. It is so very "normal" to compare ourselves to others and want what others have and be the best. I am so proud of you for getting it out and getting it off your chest, you are most definately not the worst kid in the world, no way at all. You are a young adult who is going through a rough time, that is perfectly fine to have feelings of jealousy and anger, you feel like you are not enough and that they are....well you are so very much enough and these grades are just a reflection of a period in time, on the day that you sat that exam, if you sat the same exam tomorrow your results may be better but they may be worse, it is just a snapshot of time. Some of them may have been in a wonderful head space and still performed poorly on the day, don't forget about those students who are feeling so very bad. Then the students that went in on the day and did the best they could with how they felt and nerves....everyone is different and the exam marks are a result of a moment in time and are not a measure of who you are or how your future will turn out.

    I want to say thank you so very much for your kind and caring words to me about my brother, it is so lovely of you to think of me when you are feeling alot of mixed emotions, so thank you P17. To me this just shows who you are on the inside and that is so very special.

    I am so glad that when you felt like you didn't have anywhere to go you came here to chat to us and it is so great to hear from you.

    Big hugs to you P17

    AS

  7. P17
    P17 avatar
    4 posts
    12 November 2019 in reply to Aaronsis
    Hi AS
    Thank you for your quick response, it makes me so happy that at least someone is out there thinking about me. Just last night I had one of my worst bouts of nightmares, and I’m really concerned. They weren’t wacky, supernatural nightmares, but more about school, my future and one really odd one that kept popping up. I don’t know what to do, as it’s impacting my sleep. Do you have any advice?
    P17

  8. Aaronsis
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    Aaronsis avatar
    73 posts
    12 November 2019 in reply to P17

    Hey P17

    So great to chat and I am here for you to try and support you through this tough time.

    I sometimes have the same nightmare over a period of nights and then it goes again and then comes back. I try to write as my form of trying to get it out of my head space and onto the paper. I also find it really helps to kind of have like a bedtime routine and some nice relaxing and happy things to do before bed. I sometimes have a bath or even play some music I love just to get myself "happy" before bed. Lavender is a really good one too, even if you can have some next to your pillow just to have that smell really relaxes me. I think trying to stay away from things that stimulate your brain before bed like your phone or ipad is helpful too. The other thing and this is really easier said than done is that I try not to psych myself into have a good sleep or not having a bad sleep, if that makes sense..by thinking about the quality of sleep makes the quality of sleep bad....does that even make sense.....lol

    A hot chocolate or plain milk warmed up....(ekkk I hate milk).....milk is a tried and tested nice way to relax before bed too. Now I am going to really show my age and say that I also really love a wheat bag to hug and just make me feel comfy in bed...not sure you will think that is a good one...lol

    Chat really soon P17

    Hugs

    Sarah