Exams, Exercise and Staying Social
Last Saturday I had my final exam! It is an unbelievably great (and a little bit scary) feeling to have finished my third year. All the hard work has hopefully been worth it, and I am looking forward to taking some time out to relax!
I feel like this year is the first time I have done exam season “right”. In previous years, I would effectively put my life on pause for the duration of it. I tended to avoid a lot of social activities since it made me feel too guilty to not be working. It made me feel tense and stressed and at the end of my exams, I was always left feeling completely drained. Yet this approach seemed to work as I always did well in my final exams. The downside was it made me feel pretty rubbish.
This year however, I wanted to take a more relaxed and less stressful approach. I tried to make more of an effort to stay in touch with my friends and organise fun things to look forward to. Going onto campus to work most days meant that I saw people and didn’t feel trapped in my own bedroom. Honestly, trying to have a bit more fun and do more exercise has done wonders for my mental health. Especially as a result of doing more judo, those hours of physical exercise helped to give my brain a break and channel some of the stress I was feeling! During one of my busiest exam weeks, I even managed to grade and get my orange belt. It was an exhausting couple of days but rewarding both physically and emotionally.
Don’t get me wrong, I worked super hard. However, even though I was perhaps revising for fewer hours than previous years, since I felt so much more well rested and just plain happier, I honestly feel like that helped me more than cramming a few more hours of work in. For the first time, I felt calm, collected and confident for all my exams.
Even though I socialised with my friends and took most evenings off, I feel like my exams have not been negatively affected. I think that having a bit more self-belief and confidence in my abilities was a contributing factor to this. After all, exam season isn’t just about the revision done in term 3; all the work done throughout the year is super important too!
I realise that not everyone has finished their exams yet and some haven’t even started! If that is the case, all I can say is hang in there, and that exams will soon be over. Remember that your mental and physical health is much more important than any exam can ever be. If it feels like exam season is becoming too overwhelming, having some time out away from the stress can do wonders for your productivity and general wellbeing.