Saturday, November 8, 2014

How NOT to deal with school stress

I may have never been the brightest student in the room nor am I genius. I am an average student at school and I am sadly the master of procrastination. I have seen so many posts and videos about how to deal with stress but most of them don't mention what you shouldn't do, they only mentioned what you could be doing to prevent stress or to overcome it. I'm not saying that you shouldn't look at new methods to prevent stress but also find factors that led to the problem in the first place and that is something I taught myself this year.

At the beginning of Year 12/11th Grade (US) all my teachers were telling us how horrible the year was going to be because everything was supposed to get a lot more difficult and harder. It was because you start becoming more independent when studying and you have to study a lot outside of school. I was horrible in year 12, probably the worst school year of my entire life. I would come home from school and just feel overwhelmed with the amount of work to do. I was stressed throughout the whole school year and it led to other problems such as missing many school days because I got ill as a result of all the stress.

1) DON'T believe your teachers, year 12 is really not that bad! Seriously, the teachers exaggerated the level of difficulty so much. They made it seem like it is almost impossible to even do well in that year. It honestly is not that hard, the hardest bit about year 12 is trying to get used to the new ways of learning and the extra hours and effort you have to put into your school work. At first you might not have a social life at all but once you get the grip of it there's not much that could go wrong really.

2) DON'T take naps 
I used to come home from school and get straight into my bed and fall asleep and my excuse used to be "I feel really tired, Sixth Form is so tiring I can't do it, I need to rest". Taking naps used to be my way of trying to run away from all the stress but it only makes thinks worse not better. Sometimes I would take a nap and then wake up at 10pm and then I would have to stay awake all night and do my school work. The next morning I would wake up left with no energy and I would almost fall asleep in my lessons and there was not really a point of me being in the lessons because I wouldn't learn anything as I was too tired. Then I would come home and obviously take a nap again and then it just led to the same problems all over again. It's a cycle and once you're in it it is extremely difficult to get into it so please don't get into the habit!

3) DON'T become a caffeine junky

Because I was constantly stressed and was dealing with it the wrong way I was ALWAYS tired or I made myself believe that I was which led me to the next bad habit, caffeine! Don't get me wrong drinking a cup of coffee while studying is not bad at all but that is not what I did. It all started off with coffee then energy drinks and then I even started using caffeine tablets! Don't even think about using caffeine tablets! They help you in the short-term but the next few days after you will start to feel like you have been taking drugs or something. I used to come into school feeling extremely tired and with heavy read eyes looking like a complete mess.

I was honestly such a mess last year. The worst bit was it wasn't that I didn't want to do well it was the opposite, I wanted everything to be perfect and I would get stressed out when it was not and then I would stay up all night studying.

4) DON'T skip days unless you're about to die

HOW TO CHANGE - how to leave the horrible cycle

Now that I am in year 13 I have changed a lot and the way I deal with stress is much more effective which has been reflected on my grades. I am currently not underachieving in any of my subjects which was not the case this time last year.

1) At the beginning of the year I sorted myself and changed my filing system because I noticed that the way I used to take my notes was not effective at all. I will be writing a separate post on that and tell you how to make your notes and stationary much more effective. My organisation is what I believe made the biggest difference to my grades and it's not like I wasn't organised last year because there's nothing I care more about than my stationary but I just don't think that my way of being organised last year was correct.

2) Get sleep - get your work done early enough and don't waste your time on naps just go to bed on time. I have been getting 8 hours of sleep everyday this school year and so far I have noticed that I remember almost everything I learn at school so when I get home I don't have to teach myself the topic again but all I have to do go over the topics using my school notes.

Whatever you study always find a logical way that makes sense to you.

If for example you learn a new reaction mechanism in Chemistry, don't sit there trying to memorise where the dots for the lone pairs go or where the curly arrows have to be. Try to UNDERSTAND the process and why the curly arrows go where they go. That way you will still be able to answer the question when you're in an exam under pressure whereas if you memorised it there is a higher chance of you forgetting where the curly arrows and lone pair dots go.

So that's how I got out of my own horrible stress cycle. If you're confused or don't agree with something I said feel free to talk to me about it or to comment below I'm interested in what you guys think. This is my personal experience but it doesn't have to be the same for everyone but I know how I felt like last year and I really don't want anyone to go through that so I hope that I have been useful to at least one of you.


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