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Exam fever is a very real thing, and its effects can range from anxiety to depression, panic attacks, and in some tragic cases, students ending their own lives. It’s time to have an honest conversation.
The Board Results are out across the country, with some achieving a 100 percent, and some breaking the records set so far. A new academic year has come around, motivating students to aim for more.
But, are we sure that our kids are moving towards the right path, in the right state of mind?
Examination: a word everyone familiar to all of us who had to undergo the extensive pressure it brings, at some point in time. But how did it turn out to be a word so important that students succumb to its odd possibilities?
Right from primary classes to the higher secondary, from college to competitive exams, every step we take is a result of how well we have done in the exam or how much better we are going to prove ourselves going forward. Nevertheless, the question remains the same, is it more crucial than one precious life?
Last month, more than 20 students from the state of Telangana committed suicide as soon as the intermediate results were announced, spreading shock waves across the country. It was alleged that a majority of the students who committed suicide were victims of ‘result goof up’, a blunder while evaluating the answer paper and false result declaration by the TSBIE that resulted in more than 3.28 lakhs students failing the exam out of the 9.74 lakh who appeared.
But what exactly is the catalyst that is fueling our kids to take such drastic steps?
Here is some essential evaluation on the factors creating exam pressure to an extent that results in a psychological breakdown among students.
Communication plays a substantial role in the parent-child relationship. There is a lack of deep conversation between them.
Why does it become hard for children to walk up to their parents and talk or disclose their problems and worst fears? Why is it more workable for them to end that one precious life than approach their parents for help?
One of my friends who is a psychologist says that the answer is fear. Most of us are unknowingly incubating unnecessary fear in a child during their growing up phase. Fear of being rejected, fear of being compared, fear of being let down.
Talk to your child like he/she is the best thing you have. Tell them no matter what, you will always be there for them. Moreover, pull them out of the subconscious mind that feeds them into taking drastic steps with love and affection. Fear gives rise to many negative possibilities, and if the fear is of the parent, nothing can be worse!
His marks are better than yours. Look at your cousins; they are toppers. These are the usual clichés that most parents throw at their child now and then.
Depression, high stress levels, negative behaviour issues, and poor decision making in students are the result of unhealthy competition, blame game, and comparison. The outcome is but obvious – poor academic performance as well as severe behavioural issues. Remember, a harsh, competitive, and utterly selfish world is waiting for the child when he or she will be an adult – ready to face the world. Hence, let’s not push our kids now and gift them a broken childhood!
I always wondered if such a thing as exam fever exists. Yes, it does, and it is nothing, but a word wrapped in an attractive gift wrap which is possibly nothing but stress. The most common symptoms of exam fever are loss of appetite, anxiety, and challenges with concentrating. But if it is going to convert into panic attacks, it’s a bit more than just stress.
Students appearing for their boards are bound to have stress and anxiety. A pleasant and friendly atmosphere at home can reduce stress to the utmost level.
Parents need to be more composed during exam time. Disconnecting the cable connection, hiding the remote control or stuffing food for extra energy should be avoided entirely. It’s only going to make them more uncomfortable.
Most parents consider counseling a taboo. Trust me, it is not; taking professional help is the best possible thing that you could do before the situation gets worse. In most of the case, kids tend to speak to therapists rather than parents. Not only parents, it is mandatory for the school authorities too to hire a counselor for the same. Such support and motivation can boost students’ morale before heading towards the fear called exam.
Half of the work is done if parents are supportive and friendly. Inculcate into kids the possibilities of appearing for the exam; it’s just a step towards the new start, not an end to everything! It’s perfectly fine to not be always a “goal cracker”.
A version of this was first published here.
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Sheeba Vinay is a writer by profession and an aspiring Criminologist. Her write-ups have
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