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The stress of pending exams

Since none of us can predict the future, here are some suggestions about facing uncertainty
These are very difficult times. Unfortunately, these uncertain times will continue till the world comes up with solutions to combat this virus.

Shivani Manchanda   |     |   Published 02.06.20, 09:13 AM

A few of my exams are pending but I think I have lost the momentum to study. I wish the exams had all finished on time. Now I keep wondering: how long I will have to wear a mask in the heat. What if I faint? What if Covid-19 does not go away till end-June? Will the exams get postponed again? I am very worried.

These are very difficult times. Unfortunately, these uncertain times will continue till the world comes up with solutions to combat this virus. Since none of us can predict the future, here are my suggestions about facing uncertainty.

  • Focus on things you can change and control. The only thing you can change at this point is how you use your time and this extended prep leave. Since only a few papers are left, it may be best to revise the concepts.
  • Accept the things you cannot change. As a student you could, for instance, accept the fact that you will have to go for the exam wearing a mask and put up with the heat. You may even have to wait in longer queues as your temperature is checked before you enter the exam hall. You may not be able to freely chat with your friends before and after the exam. Repetitive thoughts and worries can be very annoying and destructive as they take over our mind and prevent us from being productive. If you find negative thoughts and fears overcoming you — for example, I might faint or the admissions will be postponed forever — I would suggest you write those worries down. Once negative thoughts are captured on a piece of paper, it becomes easier to manage them as the physical act of putting pen to paper actually channelises some of the negative energy.
  • Practise gratitude even though there is so much to complain about. It is easy to focus on the negative but there is so much that is positive around us. I would suggest you create a list of things that you are grateful for. You could begin with the roof over your head, food on the table, birdsong early in the morning, the care of your parents or grandparents or even the Internet, which is allowing us to stay connected. Practising gratitude is one of the easiest ways to combat negative thoughts.

Online classes

Owing to the pandemic, my school is offering online classes. But I am not able to understand much as it is both boring and distracting. Many of us live in the same house and my younger brother and cousins are always troubling me. There is only one room in our house for the children, so it is difficult to get privacy to study and attend online classes. On top of that, sometimes the Internet connection drops and I miss a point my teacher was trying to make. I am getting frustrated. Can you suggest something?

Your school is trying to make sure that there aren’t too many gaps in your learning. But, as you rightly pointed out, studying from home is not easy. My suggestion would be to do as much as you can and not be too harsh on yourself if you cannot do something. These are difficult times and no one has perfect solutions. Teachers have to work extra hard to provide these online classes, so it is great that you are trying to attend them and pay attention. You could request your teacher to make the slides or recording of the lecture available later so that you can revise what you missed. Also, see if the teacher can share some online resources that you can access and study at your own pace. Check out YouTube videos on the topics to try and understand the material. When we go to school or college, we depend on the teachers to provide us the information and the timetable to keep us structured. But in times like these, we have to depend on our inner discipline to keep us focussed and learning. Eventually, the responsibility of learning is our own. If you think it is important, now is the time to develop additional skills to make the most of online learning at home. 

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