The life of a high school student is anything but easy. Especially the crucial years in between classes X-XII. These years demand a lot from students in terms of academic excellence and dedicated preparation for competitive exams. Students are expected to persevere through these years, which are turning points in their lives, despite the uncertainty of the future.
The end goal is usually simple – learn all that you can to build the career of your dreams. The process however is gruelling and leaves students stressed and susceptible to conditions such as anxiety and depression.
Come the new academic year, there are newer challenges to face in the form of academic stress, peer pressure, managing expectations, and overcoming the fear of failure. To help you cross these barriers, we have some tips that can help you.
Before that, let’s understand what is academic stress? If you’re feeling burdened under the pressure of scoring high marks, getting one of the top 5 ranks, and meeting your school work requirements, then what you’re experiencing is academic stress.
Now, what does this academic stress lead to? Students experiencing academic pressure continuously are susceptible to anxiety, depression, low self-confidence, self-esteem issues, and other illnesses that are a physical manifestation of stress. If this happens, students must speak to a trusted family member and get help from a mental health professional.
However, prevention is better than cure, so we’ve curated a list comprising various types of academic stress or pressures and ways to overcome them.
As a student, you may have high aspirations with regard to your grades. This is good but are you being harsh on yourself when you’re unable to achieve your goals? If the answer is yes, then you may be putting undue pressure on yourself. To overcome this, you must know that your marks don’t define who you are. Instead of being hard on yourself, you might want to focus on cultivating skills and hobbies outside of academics that bring you joy and add value to your CV.
If you’re aspiring for careers such as doctor or engineer, then there will be significant pressure on you to get exceptional grades and also clear competitive exams. Whenever you feel the pressure, you might want to avail career counselling to explore your options. If you are determined to work towards your dream career, then you might want to do it with the right guidance in terms of preparation and take it one step at a time. The key is to set small goals that will help you reach your big goal. It is also important to seek help when things become difficult. This will help you solve your problems and move ahead. Remember, setbacks teach you much more than you can imagine.
It is only natural that your family wants you to achieve what you’re capable of and more. Their expectations and support are supposed to motivate you in scoring well and get to your goals. However, these expectations can seem daunting and lead you to believe that you’ll disappoint your family if you don’t meet their expectations. It is important to know that you can always communicate with your family and let them know how you feel. It is important to know that marks do not define how much your family loves you. You are loved irrespective of your grades or rank.
Peer pressure is of two kinds – one where you tend to compare your performance with peers and another where you’re forced to alter your behaviour in order to fit into social circles. In the former, you may find yourself comparing your grades with that of your peers.
This may be unhealthy and add pressure on you to perform better. A bit of friendly competition can motivate you. However, if you seem to be greatly affected by the performance of your peers, it may hinder your growth. It may make you anxious and you may not be able to give your best. You may have heard this before, but always keep in mind that you are on your own journey.
And, not everyone has the same set of opportunities and privileges – these factors contribute to academic success. Therefore, it is wise to be happy for your peers and learn from them as opposed to comparing yourself with them and feeling low.
Crucial academic years such as classes X-XII are a run-up to what your career might look like. You must have heard this many times before. This means that you must stay on top of your exams and take up various entrance tests to secure seats in prestigious institutions. This translates into deadlines for assignments and exams to clear, which can be stressful and demanding.
The key here is to not only work hard but also work smart. Make sure you have a plan B. What are your other career or college options? Additionally, know that competitive exams have a pattern. Getting practice through PYQs and mock tests will give you the confidence and help you strategise better.
That said, remember that there will always be options and come what may, you’ll pick a career that will be rewarding. And, that you will manage to pass your exams with marks that will grant you seats in other great colleges.
The fear of failure can be debilitating, especially during crucial academic years. It helps you to know that small failures are actually necessary because they are learning opportunities. Making mistakes is a healthy way to learn. It is normal to feel fear, however, you must sit with these thoughts with compassion. It’s okay to fail as long as you’re willing to assess the situation and figure out what went wrong and have the intention to fix it. Lastly, you must believe in yourself and be kind to yourself. You need to trust that, you will get back up and work harder. And, the second time around, you will know what you must not do. Practising resilience and self-compassion alongside hard work will surely help you achieve your goals.
The new academic year brings fresh challenges, but worry not, here are some time-tested strategies to help you.
We hope that these tips help you navigate your critical academic years with ease. We’d love to hear from you in the comments section about any such challenges you may be facing and what helps you feel better.
Sara started her professional journey in a newsroom and quickly realised that words and stories are her happy place. You may have noticed that she adores her alliteration. She’s also an ailurophile who needs her fix of cute kitty reels to unwind. A warm cup of coffee, chocolates with hazelnut, and a Netflix binge on a cosy chair are all she needs in life. Trees and beaches make her very happy too.
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