With O Levels, A Levels, and University exams coming up, all that I see now on my social media feeds are mostly photos of work with captions along the lines of “Can’t wait for all this to be over“, “The stress is killing me“, and many more so I decided to write on how you can better manage your stress without feeling like your world is going to end!
Tip 1: It’s not over when you get bad grades
So what if you did badly this semester? Does that make you a failure in life?
Whether you get good grades or not, life still goes on. Life is not all about grades so don’t think any less of yourself when you get bad grades. It’s like a rat race in school with the bell curve system in Singapore so having bad grades does not actually mean that you did bad, it just means that others did better than you so they technically pulled your grades down. So instead of feeling sad about it, just get back up on your feet and work harder again for the next semester! (or when you get into JC/ University for those that are taking Os and As)
It’s not over until you hold that final certificate and you can always study harder the next semester to pull your GPA up. 🙂
Tip 2: Study for knowledge, not for grades
I know many people that just cramp all the information from notes before exams and forget everything when it all ends. What’s the point in that? It just makes you book smart. We study because we want to learn things which we can apply in life, not because of getting good grades. We go to school to learn about what we are passionate about, and it’s not just about how good we are in memorizing information.
As long as you know that deep down you gained knowledge after studying, that to me is enough.
I never felt less of myself even though I’m not exactly the smartest in class, that’s because deep down I know that I’ve tried my best and gained knowledge in school, and that to me is the key importance of learning in university; it’s not always about the grades.
If you keep that in mind, you won’t be stuck with the fear of bad grades anymore, and you’ll enjoy classes even more because you find that you learn something new every day.
Tip 3: Give yourself some time to enjoy
Life is not all about studying and cramping as much information as you can just to face exams. Here are 2 tips which you can use to allow you to still enjoy your leisure time without jeopardizing your academics.
1. Find your most efficient time to study, and enjoy yourself after
Ever felt like there are just some times which you just can’t focus on studying? For example, you tend to zone out a lot (thinking of food or games when you’re supposed to be studying)? Don’t worry, I face the same problem as well, this actually means that you’re studying during your ‘non-optimum’ time, and you should not be studying because you’ll end up taking 45 minutes studying for things which you can actually finish studying in 15 minutes.
Try to find a time whereby you can concentrate the most (in my case is from 9am – 2pm), and dedicate that time solely for studying, nothing else. That way, you’ll be really efficient in studying and to reward yourself you can start playing games after that without feeling guilty that you didn’t study enough.
For me I like to indulge in a game of Dota 2 with my close buddies. I find that that is a great way for me to release stress after a long and tiring day, both in school and in the pool. I don’t feel bad for not studying because I know that even if I try to study, it will not be efficient anyway.
So try to find something which allows you to release all that stress which you accumulated throughout the day. It could be reading a book, being on social media, skyping with friends; all of them are great ways to release stress!
2. Stop Procrastinating
Another thing you should try and avoid when studying during your optimum time is to procrastinate; it not only slows down your rate of studying, it makes you really sad too (I’m really not kidding), and negativity would disrupt your optimum study time which isn’t good.
We have to create our own optimum study time, and if we are going to procrastinate, we will never have an optimum time, and when we don’t have an optimum study time we won’t be able to study well, and when we won’t be able to study well we won’t be able to enjoy well because we feel guilty when we didn’t study well.
Tip 4: Small steps reap huge rewards
Start studying now and your future self will thank you for that. It could be as little as 30 mins a day, but imagine 30 mins a day, 5 days a week (excluding weekends, weekends are for enjoying), and over 6 weeks, how many hours of studying would that be?
5 x 1/2 x 6 = 15 total hours of studying
You get 15 hours of solid studying just by studying for 30 minutes a day. Doesn’t take much, but the end result is awesome, right?
Tip 5: Follow your passion
Last but not least, you should always follow your passion in whatever you do, even when it comes to studying. A lot of parents nowadays are pressuring their kids to take on courses which will “allow you to get money in the future” which I don’t agree.
We should always choose the course that we are passionate about, which is why for me I chose to take on Sport Science and Management. The things I learn in school everyday can be applied in the pool, so I no longer feel the burden of studying anymore because school now feels like a place for me to further enhance my swimming ability. I can apply whatever I learn in school in the pool so it’s pretty awesome.
However, I have to give credit to my parents for letting me pursue a degree which I’m passionate about, because ultimately it was with their support that I was able to choose my desired course; and to date, I have no regrets.
So parents, let your kids pursue their dreams, and don’t limit them to the course which will “benefit their future.” If you find yourself not enjoying what you’re studying, you’re probably in the wrong course.
With that said, I would also like to emphasize that I may be studying Sport Science and Management now, but that does not mean I’m limiting myself only in the sporting sector.
There have been many cases of people who do jobs which has no relation to their course, and they are doing just fine. Because school is supposed to be about learning life skills like having teamwork during projects, learning how to express yourself through presentations, training your ability to absorb knowledge through exams, and not giving up during adversity.
So as long as you are able to gain these life skills in your years of university, you have already done a great job. 🙂
However, I would like to add that this does not apply to you if you aspire to be a doctor or lawyer – These are courses which are specialized and require the specific courses to be able to take on these jobs. So sorry, if you want to be a doctor, you’ll have to go to Med school.
But back to my initial point – Choose the course that you’re passionate about, and good things will come naturally.
Hope these tips will help you with managing stress and making the correct life choices! All the best to everyone going through their O and A levels now, and of course to us University students who have our final exams coming up in a few weeks. Lets do this!