Guest blog written by the Social Media and Administrative Officer at NBP: Isabella Pennings
Year 12 and final exams have always been stressful. However, reports in the past few years have shown that senior students are more stressed than ever before. If you’re about to enter year 12 I’m sure that you have heard the horror stories of how difficult it is; the stress, the exams and the all-nighters. But don’t worry, I’ve been there and done that, and learnt a lot of lessons along to way. So to help you I’ve compiled a list of some ways to help deal with the stress of year 12.
Handling The Stress of Year 12: My Tips
Choose Subjects You’re Interested In
Many people I knew in year 12 chose subjects solely on the basis of how that subject would contribute to their final mark. Many sacrificed studying things they actually liked, or things which would help in reaching their career goals because they thought it would get them a better grade.
In the end, a lot of them regretted it. They wished they had spent their time learning about topics they were interested in. It’s a lot harder to motivate yourself to study things you don’t care about. If you are interested in what you’re learning, you’re more likely to listen in class, less likely to procrastinate studying, and more likely to enjoy what you’re learning.
Obviously, do not drop out of compulsory subjects like English or Maths because you don’t enjoy them. But if you have the opportunity to study something you enjoy, then take it. The pressures of final exams are hard enough, let alone if those exams are about topics of little interest.
Set Realistic Expectations And Make Backup Plans
One of the sure-fire ways to become overly stressed in year 12 is to set unrealistic expectations for yourself. If you’re currently getting average grades, it’s probably unrealistic to expect you would achieve top marks by the end of the year. Doing this would be setting yourself up for added stress and disappointment. Set realistic goals for yourself so you achieve your best, without compromising your mental health.
Even if your goals for your final marks are realistic, it’s important to have a backup plan in advance. This means that if something happens or things don’t go as planned, you can have the reassurance that you have another plan in place.
This doesn’t mean giving up on your goals if they’re difficult. If you want to have a career that requires lots of hard work, then do your best to get there. However, remember that there are always alternative ways to enter degree programs or career paths, so learn about those options. Having this understanding will not only practically help you, but can reduce unnecessary pressure.
Practice Self Care
One of the reasons why people become overwhelmed by the stress of year 12 is because they’re not looking after themselves properly. Many put such a high value on getting good grades that they prioritise this over basic self-care. The irony is, if you’re not looking after you, there’s no way to succeed academically in the long-term.
Some basics of self-care include getting enough sleep, eating healthy meals and getting exercise. Self-care can mean different things for different people. For me, self-care includes having time to relax from studying and to socialise with my friends. In year 12, I set boundaries for myself to ensure that I had study-free nights and continued to spend time with friends every week. Pay attention to the things you need to remain sane and make sure you prioritise those things in your life.
Seek Professional Help
If you’re finding the stress and pressure of year 12 to be truly overwhelming, help is out there. Professional help from a psychologist can help you understand why you are feeling stressed or anxious and work with you to develop healthy coping mechanisms.