You’ve made it, hopefully successfully, through the first exam period of the year! The reward in the form of a partial lockdown is slightly disappointing, but we’ve got this! For now, what matters is that the painful hours of studying and panicking are over, the coffee reservoir of the library is no longer exhausted, and Aletta-Jacobs’ doors of orange hell are closed again. However, when I finished my last exam and handed in all assignments, I was waiting desperately for relief. And I’ve stayed that way for quite a while. Even though there was literally nothing I had to do, I could not relax. My brain just kept singing Rihanna’s “Work” and my body felt the constant need to do something productive. Being stressed about nothing and not being able to let go of all the tension: post-exam stress was hitting hard on me. Talking to my friends, I’ve come to realise that most of us have the same problem. After weeks of stress and a workload that was sufficient for twelve, we all forgot how to sit back. Google couldn’t provide much more advice than “10 minutes of meditation a day wipe your worries away”. As much as I wished I were one, I’m not really the meditation kind of person. As soon as I close my eyes and try to let go of all my thoughts, my brain cells start HIIT training. In case you can relate to that, I will provide you with some unconventional ideas for beating your post-exam stress.
Lastly, and I don’t mind if I sound like a wannabe psychologist, let me remind you that regardless of the results you will get for your exam, you are doing great. We often tend to define ourselves way too much over academic success. Grades neither determine ourselves nor our worth. They might demonstrate ambition and perseverance, but personal development goes far beyond grades. It is much more important to have a joyful life, to take care of one’s mental health and to appreciate the student experience, than always belonging to the best. It is okay to fail an exam and it is okay to take a step back. But it is not okay to have a burnout in your 20’s. So please take good care and don’t be too hard on yourself.
Written by Elli Winetsdorfer