My palms are sweaty, my heart is in my throat, my brain isn’t working and I feel quite sick.
I’m surrounded by the sound of hundreds of pens scribbling furiously, while I stare blankly at the paper in front of me that only has my name and the date, and I am not entirely sure I’ve written that correctly.
Question 1 is an essay question and I’m pretty sure of the subject but can’t recall any facts to back up my answer despite cramming the night before on this very topic…yep, I think I am about to throw up.
‘Vic?…Vic? I made you a cup of tea’.
THANK GOODNESS for that. It’s the boyfriend waking me up. It was just a dream – a nightmare actually, but I remember all too well that dreaded exam time at school and university.
I was a good student and I worked pretty hard but the harsh reality was that my memory was pants. My peers seemed naturally gifted and I felt I was putting in two hours of study for every hour everyone else put in and it just sucked. At the time, it felt like the whole world was on my shoulders and my entire future rested on whether or not I could remember the right law case or correct Trigonometry formula. Don’t even get me started on essays – I was rubbish at writing essays.
I don’t think I will ever forget the stress surrounding exams and tests – even non-academic ones. The evening before my driving test I suddenly had a panic attack forgetting what lane I needed to be in for going straight on a roundabout and before I knew it I had smoked an entire packet of cigarettes in an attempt to calm down (I hadn’t smoked for years). Needless to say it did not help my stress levels and in fact helped me develop a hoarse cough that took a month to shift.
Oh how I wish I had discovered yoga back then. I can’t help but feel that had I taken that time out for myself to calm down and relax I would have found exam time so much easier.
The pressure I put on myself to do well and a need to make sure that I didn’t disappoint anyone around me just brought on a level of anxiety that was just off the scale.
If I was ever advised to take time off I would always be afraid that it meant time away from the books which was vital time wasted where I could be learning another topic.
Of course, now I am older and wiser I realise I went about it all wrong. Breaks are important and while I did pretty well at school and university I can’t help but feeling that had I taken more time to look after myself I would have done better.
Just as I write this, I am having a small flashback to my uni days in the weeks leading up to my dissertation deadline. I was living in the computer lab wrapped in a sleeping back surviving off salt and vinegar Pringles and bacon sandwiches – hardly brain food. Such an idiot.
Just like a good Savasana at the end of class gives the body a chance to recover and observe all the sensations of the class, we need to apply this STOP and EVALUATE method to life, particularly when faced with stressful situations like exam time.
It is so important to develop good habits and look after your mind and body – even more so when you are studying. It will feel like time is short and you just don’t have time, but time out doing something worthwhile (like yoga) will mean when you return to study you will feel more energised and way less stressed.
This is why I have developed a brand new yoga course designed at combatting stress and increasing focus and attention. As well as making sure you get enough sleep and eat the right foods, trying something like this yoga will help to calm the mind and help the body relax and recharge for the next time you hit the books.
If you are interested in finding out more about our 1-2-1 sessions or would like to bring these wonderful classes to your school or college, contact us via the website or comment below and we will be happy to help you.
Yoga cannot guarantee your A* or First, but it can help create the mind space for you to find an easier path to achieve better results with much less stress. What have you got to lose?