Upon my recent return to Leicester, I have rapidly realised my biggest drawback in most aspects of my life is the crippling anxiety I face when under times of pressure. Usually, I’m a major advocate for anything which can present a challenge and have a habit of setting myself the most ambitious (and often unrealistic) goals. Yet, if I’m in the position of being judged or tested, I always seem to fall short due to this uneasy feeling that I won’t be able to show my full potential. This is particularly frustrating during the exam period.
Now, please don’t pull out any violins just yet, as I understand that my anxiety is my own doing and no matter how many times I have a pitying Skype-call home where I’m quickly pulled together by my somewhat exhausted parents (who have the same conversations with me every single time the exam period comes around), I always end up back in the same silly rut. It’s not as though I have cause for my anxiety – I revise religiously and organise my notes in such a manner that even the most organisation-loving OCD would approve, but for some reason this worrisome feeling returns and no matter how many ‘Kalms’ tablets I take, settles itself down to stay.
However, since being back at University and revising with like-minded course pals, I’ve realised that this horrible feeling of unease is not uncommon and, most scarily, after doing some research on the topic, I found that “about 40% of the service providers at University Support Services said they were unable to cope with the level of demand from stressed students.” Whilst it is a comfort to know that I am not, in fact, losing my mind and am one in many of stressed students, it’s also made me consider how I can refer back to my past experiences of anxiety and open up to other students in as many ways as I can about how to combat the waves of panic. I’ve also vowed to involve myself within the University’s excellent student support service of ‘Nightline Leicester’ as much as possible during my time in Leicester (I will provide details of the service at the end of this post).
I believe that in order of conquering this issue, it’s important to understand why it’s there. I’ve no doubt the budding Psychologists amongst us can give sound reasoning as to why such feelings occur, but the inner-Sociologist claims that it is simply due to the fact that everything boils down to an irrational need for approval, something which has been conditioned within us since birth. The solution? I’m not too sure. But one thing which I certainly know is that, if you put in 100% of your efforts and try your hardest, then you’ve done your best. I’m a big promoter of ‘you get out of it, what you put into it’. As my mum says, all that you can do is your best and if you can, hand on heart, say that you have then whatever results you get are just.
A few pointers as to how I try to calm my anxiety during the exam period are;
– Do not put unnecessary pressures upon yourself.
– Be organised; if you have what needs to be done to pass sufficiently down in a clearly presented order, the task doesn’t seem so daunting.
-Do not let any unhelpful criticisms you’ve been given in the past haunt you.
– Concentrate on all of the academic compliments you’ve been given in the past – whether it was on your motivation, admiration for your dedication to revision or even a passing comment on how eloquently you write and channel the feeling those compliments gave you.
– Do NOT sit holed up in your room, sobbing to the Les Mis soundtrack. Go and sit in your flat mate’s room for a natter, or, in the wise words of E.T., phone home.
– Take breaks. Take deep breaths. Take Kalms.
I wish you all of the luck in the world with these exams, but most importantly, if you are a fellow ‘stress-head’, I wish that you realise you’re not on your own in feeling like this and, although there are useful ways of conquering those anxious feelings, the most efficient way to banish them is to realise your full potential and have confidence within yourself.
“It’s not what it could have been, or should have been; it simply is what it is.”
NIGHTLINE LEICESTER; 0116 223 1230.
Their Facebook page; https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nightline-Leicester/290580271006297?fref=ts