HSC stress seems inevitable, but how can we best utilise it?
Coping with stress is a skill that we can teach to students, since it’s something that they can use throughout their entire lives.
Whether you’re sitting the HSC, making a speech in front of a room full of people, or attending a job interview – and at almost any stage of your life, you will have to deal with the effects that stress brings. The main point of difference is to develop positive coping habits to manage or decrease stress, rather than ignoring the warning signs and making it difficult for yourself in the long-run. Keep reading below for some positive ways to manage stress as a high school student (especially if you’re sitting the HSC this year), and make sure that it’s not dictating your life and everything you do.
What is stress?
In order to answer this question, we asked a few students some real life examples of a stressful situation:
Student 1: Not feeling prepared enough when I walk into an exam room. Reading the questions and thinking ‘Did I even study this?’ and trying to think of something to fill in the blanks.
Student 2: Trying and failing at a maths equation and not understanding the correct solutions.
Student 3: Getting a completely different multiple choice answer to my other friends.
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, stress is a constraining force or influence, such as:
a) force exerted when one body or body part presses on, pulls on, pushes against, or tends to compress or twist another body or body part, especially: the intensity of this mutual force commonly expressed in pounds per square inch.
b) the deformation caused in a body by such a force.
c) a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.
d) a state resulting from stress, especially one of bodily or mental tension resulting from factors that tend to alter an existent equilibrium.
What we can take from that is stress is the body’s reaction to a challenge or obstacle. It can release new hormones and make you feel anxious and scared, whilst pumping a huge amount of adrenaline throughout your entire body!
While you can take a negative spin from stress, we prefer to look at it from a positive point of view; sometimes stress can push you to perform better, and provide that encouragement that sometimes (as students) we need!
How can I avoid feeling over-stressed?
While stress in life is inevitable, there is a way to feel over-stressed which could have a negative impact on a students’ health and wellbeing. Here are a few methods which can combat stress and work for everyone:
Stress can have some serious impacts on our emotional and psychological wellbeing. Keeping a relatively healthy diet and avoiding skipping meals is the best way to nourish your body from the insane out. In times of stress, you might not want to choose the healthiest meal, cook something for yourself at home, or you might even choose to skip a meal altogether (which we do not recommend).
The key to this is preparation, and knowing exactly what you can expect by preparing in advance. Choose 1 night each week when you know you’ll be free, and do a weekly meal prep for next few days. This way, you’ll have one less thing to stress about!
Prioritise your studies
One of the biggest things high school students usually stress about is not having studied enough. They feel like they’re sitting the exam or sending through an assessment without having prepared as much as they should.
Make the time to sit down and and revise as much as you can; starting from the subjects you find most difficult, or are having some problems with. This way, you’re not wasting time on the topics you know inside out, and instead, you’re making the most of your study time with the topics that require more attention. Put in the effort today, and you will see how this can pay off in the future.
Get some sleep
Having a good sleep schedule is an essential part of de-stressing, and works hand-in-hand with keeping a healthy diet and balanced lifestyle. If you are a night-owl and enjoy studying late into the early hours, make sure you’re still getting between 7-9 hours of sleep whenever you can.
While we do recommend studying during the day (when you mind and body is more alert) you need to find a routine which will also work for you in the long term. When you do finally get to sleep, you can unwind by limiting use of your phone or any other electronic devices which emit a blue light – straining your eyes, and making it difficult to relax and go to sleep.
Constantly find yourself rushed for time? Not enough hours in the day? If you are someone who needs structure (especially whilst studying) it’s important to create a schedule which allows you to account for everything that needs to be done. We would recommend working this for each subject, making sure that you’re prioritising topics which need extra revision practice.
It’s as simple as using a print out calendar and pencilling in your requirements, or even using the Calendar app on your phone. Not only will this make your life a whole less complicated, but it should also decrease your stress levels since you will know exactly what to do!
Who else finds it hard to study with the constant distraction of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp notifications?
This is why airplane mode was invented (well, one of the reasons). There are also free apps you can link to your phone which limit your social media usage. You can set them to 1 hour per day, then the app logs you out of your account, rendering it useless for the next 24 hours. A great alternative if you find that your social media usage is a little OTT. Apps we recommend include: IFTTT, Forest, and Checky.
If the temptation is too much to handle, try turning off your phone completely – that should do the trick!
Find a study buddy
We turn to our friends when we need someone to talk to, why shouldn’t this extend to schoolwork? Two is better than one! Not only does having a study buddy keep you more motivated, but it will help you become more fluent in explaining the content to someone else. By teaching your friend, you’re also refining your skills along the way!
Still need some help when it comes to managing your stress at school? Leave your learning with us at Talent 100. Our vision is a new approach to education. It’s a vision for students to make their talent count, by helping them ace the HSC and open doors to dream careers.
With course programs in English, Mathematics, Science and Economics, you will find everything you need to excel for Years 7-12. Enrol today for our 2 Week Free Trial and let us know what you think!
Click here to find out more, and achieve your potential in 2019 with Talent 100.