If you’re like me you’ll have a love-hate relationship with this time of year. May has come around so quickly which for most people means Summer is on the horizon. If you’re a student, May is the month you dread. May means exams are impending. May means revision. May means a whole lotta stress. But, have you ever really thought about the letter or number you’re aiming to achieve at the end of all that stress?
Last year, whilst drowning in a pile of textbooks, revision notes and flash cards, I wrote an Instagram post as a gentle reminder to everyone that a grade does not define you. Of course, we all want the best grade, to say you’ve got full marks- there’s nothing better! But when I really thought about it, this grade isn’t the be all and end all. Results are unique- they’re unique to the individual who took the exam. An A to one person might not be the same as an A to someone else and vice versa with any other letter.
Don’t get me wrong, there is no better feeling than working your butt off and getting the grade you so desperately want. There really is nothing better. But I always say, you could have all the A*s in the world but be a horrible person. Do all those A*s really define how nice and kind you really are? Yes, it may say you’re an intelligent person but does it really define you? Likewise, someone may work extremely hard and put their all into revision and not get an A* and get a grade slightly below but have an immense sense of pride. To that person, that grade is everything they wanted.
During my GCSEs, one of my teachers once said some words which have resonated whenever I get caught up in exam stress. ‘‘As long as you’re happy, healthy and a nice person, that’s all that really matters.” And it’s so true. An amazing exam grade is just an added bonus. At the time, the exam or deadline you’re working towards is probably the most stressful thing you’ve ever encountered at that time in your life. But life is a funny old thing- it’s not perfect but it gives us second chances. If things don’t go to plan the first time, we get the chance to repeat, do the exam again, learn from the mistakes. Of course, try your best the first time round but if things don’t always go the way you intended, life will give us a second chance.
That leads me on to my next point (sorry if this sounds ranty). At the time of doing my GCSEs, this was my first encounter with major exams with the result dictating what happens next in my life. But what was so annoying to see and hear across social media was ‘pfft GCSEs are nothing- wait until A-Levels’. It’s important not to undermine the previous set of exams because at the time GCSEs are the hardest thing you’d have come across. A-Levels to be the next challenge, then uni, then a job and so on. That’s life- there’s always going to be something that’s harder and more challenging. But that’s in the future. You have to overcome the first hurdle to get to the next challenge. I always make sure I never undermine the previous set of exams. I sympathise with people doing A-Levels as last year, A-levels really were the hardest thing I’ve ever encountered and that is something I would never wish to do again so I really do relate to those finding A-Levels a struggle, despite me now doing a uni degree.
At this time of year, it can be easy to neglect yourself, I for one do this. But it’s important to look after you, your physical and mental health. I’m not saying to neglect your work, it’s about balance. Balancing work life with yourself. I’m going to share with you a few of the things I do during exam season to look after myself:
- Get out of the house at least once. Go for a walk or a cycle. This is something I do everyday to ‘recharge’ my batteries and get away from the working environment.
- Drink plenty of water and stay hydrated- this is so important during exam season- especially when the weather is so nice it’s important to quench that thirst.
- Set goals- this is something I always do ”if I get x amount of work done, then I will do Y to reward myself.” This doesn’t have to be something big, it can be as small as watching your favourite TV show.
- Think to the future. Think about how what you’re doing will have a positive impact on your future goals.
I’m sorry for such a rambly post it’s something which I’ve felt like I’ve been needing to say in a few more words than an Instagram post.
What are some of the things you do during exam period to reward yourself and take care of yourself? I’d love to hear any tips!
Remember, that number or letter is not a true representation of who you really are.
I hope you all enjoy the long bank holiday weekend!
Until next week…