With online exams, a pandemic, and instructions for social distancing, sanitation, etc. knocking on our doors all at the same time, many students are finding it hard to cope with the ensuing stress and anxiety. It is difficult for a lot of us to cope up with the situation and focus on our studies all at once.

Exams are an inevitable reality in every students’ life, no matter what the situation. Although the decision of conducting online exams has been heavily criticised because it doesn’t take into account the plight of students who have no or little access to technology, the fact remains that students have to take them. So how can students ensure that their mental health remains in best shape through the process?

Also Read: Delhi University Open Book Examination: What’s The Fuss About

Counselling Psychologist Saniya Bedi says, “Be it any situation, COVID-19 or exam stress, one would find anxious thoughts and feelings that are negative in nature.”

She speaks with SheThePeople.TV and gives students some tips to tackle online exams and COVID-19 related stress.

1) Accept that you are staying at home and facing all these challenges due to something that’s not in your control. Each one of us must be proud of our contribution to the greater goal by sitting at home! We are doing it not just for our benefit but that of others as well, and that does matter.

2) Try and make a list of things that are in your control and the ones not in your control. There is a chance that you may be spending time, efforts and energy into something that may not be in your direct control. Yes, online sessions are not in your control, however, ensuring that you acknowledge the positives and negatives and then look out for something that uplifts your mind is definitely in your control. Do you hate the 9 am class? Why don’t you reward yourself with a cold-coffee right after that?

3) It’s a pandemic and not a productivity challenge and honestly, that’s okay! Try and make a doable schedule for yourself that is a balanced one. We need to understand that things are not the same as before and so is the reward structure. The lines of work and rest are majorly blurred and that’s understandable. Try and plan for your exams that’s in your control, when will they happen? Maybe not. Scheduling not only helps in telling you what to do and when to do it, but also when to not do anything and just enjoy a break.

Read Also: 5 tips for college students to use final exam stress to their advantag

4) Pause Ritual – pause means a temporary break. It does not mean take a break from work to complete the household chores. It means to just pause. Yes, just pause. You can also focus on some self-care during that time. Maybe like having your favourite beverage while looking at the birds.

5) Achievements of the Day – A student told me the other day that, “I keep sleeping. I don’t do anything”. When we created a behaviour scheduling chart for her, a cumulative of 2.5 hours of household work came across that she engages in on a daily basis.  We are working and contributing even more now as the responsibilities have increased. Hence, keeping a tab is extremely essential now. Every day, write three achievements. It may seem like a task in the beginning, but is going to be an amazing practice. 

Here are Bedi’s tips on how we can interpret the situation better:

A perceived threat; not an actual one : 

If you keep reminding yourself that what you are feeling is anxious thoughts and feelings and that it’s a perceived threat and not an actual one, there is a very high chance that you will be able to nip it in the bud.

Acceptance of the situation :

The change in the education system has been an overwhelming experience for many. The error that most of us make is that we dismiss the very fact that we are feeling overwhelmed; there is a lack of acceptance.

What Bedi says is true, the first step to solving a problem is addressing that there is infact a problem. Once you set that straight, you can focus on calming yourself down and thus be in a better headspace to write your papers.

Pallabi Dutta is an intern with SheThePeople.TV. The views expressed are the author’s own.

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