Exams are coming, but you should remember to find ways to de-stress

By Michele Chan, Wycombe Abbey School, UK
By Michele Chan, Wycombe Abbey School, UK |

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Okay. Let me apologise that for these past few months, all I’ve been talking about are exams, exams, and exams. Trust me, I wish there was something more exciting happening in my life right now, but frankly, since the beginning of this year, my mind has only been occupied with the thought of my GCSEs. But I promise that this is going to be the last time I talk about exams – I want them to be over as soon as possible, too.

With exam season fast approaching, along with revision, obviously, one of the best ways to prepare is to find ways to de-stress. This is particularly important in a boarding school environment, simply because, well, you live inside the school, so the stress is bound to build up. Having said that, there are many ways to stay reasonably calm throughout this period.

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but personally, running outdoors is one of the most helpful ways to de-stress. Let me clarify that I am not at all sporty, nor am I a nature person. At first, I was dragged out to the running trail by my friends, but it turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Something about the physically-straining action of actually having to move my legs, the desperation to run away from creepy-crawlies, or the chilly morning winds, made me forget all about work and revision. Since that first time, I go running at least twice a week.

I remember reading somewhere that running outdoors releases some sort of hormones which are meant to make you happier and concentrate better. I don’t really understand how that happens, but I do work more efficiently after a good run.

The other ways that help me stay calm are universally acknowledged favourites: food and sleep. Exams are not the time to go on a weight-loss diet. Our bodies, especially our brains, need a lot of energy during this time. That’s why I’m trying to eat balanced, fairly-big meals in the school dining hall before my exams.

When I went back to the UK after Easter holidays, I brought along a whole suitcase of snacks, chocolate, sweets, and biscuits to remind me of home and cheer me up. Fortunately, the lights-out curfew at our school gives us more than eight hours of sleep every night, which allows us ample time to rest our minds instead of desperately cramming for the next day’s exams.

To all those who have exams soon, try not to stress too much – and the very best of luck.