Written by Rebecca Fayad - Year 12 - Managing Director and Co-Founder of KCDSpeaks
1. Do not cut out your social life!
People assume that to get 9s at GCSE or A* at A-Levels, one should forget their social life and study. This is so not true! I know a friend that got 4 A* at A levels in Maths, Chemistry, Biology, and Maths, and was still going out with his friends on weekends and was also part of a rowing team! Social life is important for stress relief. If you worry, you cannot perform the best that you can at school. Also, life is not only about grades! Grades are important to ensure a fruitful future, but social life is also important to ensure a happy future.
2. It’s all about Balance
Know when to decline a hangout at the mall. Know when to stop studying. Know when to skip training. Know when to ask for an extension to the deadline. No one said life is easy, but it’s up to you if you want to strive to make it more comfortable. Know your priorities. Is your English assignment more important than going out to the supermarket? I think so. Are your exams more important than your football practice? Well, if you manage your time, you might do both! Teachers are very understanding and they find themselves in those situations too, and as hard as it might be to believe: They don’t want you to fail!
3. Find an activity to relax
It can be anything. A sport, an instrument, building a puzzle, or just taking a shower, you need to have something in your life that forces you not to think about school. My go-to is playing the piano, shopping, or fencing. I force myself to forget about every worry at this specific moment. Any school drama, any assignments, and school worries should be gone in this 1 to 2 hours. School is overwhelming for everyone. Even that one student that seems so chill breaks into tears during exam periods - and there is nothing wrong with that! As long as you get back to work after crying, get back after this relaxation time to work, work, work!
4. Don’t do things that make you feel guilty
You know this feeling you feel after you’ve watched episodes of your favourite series instead of finishing the assignment you know is due tomorrow. Yes, this feeling is not telling you you’re hungry, it’s there to tell you that what you just did, had a negative impact on your life - big or small. If you feel that after watching movies, spending time on social media, or even gaming, then this might be an alert to minimise the time spent on this activity. Don’t cut it out completely if it makes you happy, but if you don’t manage your time, then you’ll end up stressed out, from this preventable cause.
5. Talk to someone about your worries
I know this is said a lot, but never feel lame about things that worry you. If you are upset because you got an 8 instead of a 9, then that is fine, and don’t let anyone make you feel down. Just like getting a 6 is super exciting if you usually get 4s! Don’t compare yourself to others and don’t let anyone compare themselves to you. Whenever I am feeling stressed or overwhelmed by schoolwork, I either rant to my parents or call a friend, which I know is going through the same as me, and we’ll just complain together.
6. Don’t let school drama stress you
“He said that about her,” “she broke up with him,” and “these two are fighting.” I cannot stress enough how much you should stay away from drama. School stress is already enough as it is, do you really think school drama will bring you any good? You will carry your grades up to university and even to your jobs, but where is school drama going to go? It’ll just die to the day we all graduate and leave school. I know it is interesting to know what is happening, and sometimes we need something exciting to happen in our lives, but don’t be involved. Hear about the drama, but don’t be the drama. The only drama you should worry about is your drama grade!
7. Last Golden Advice!
This is a trick I learnt over the years, yet I am passing it on to you just by reading this article! Don’t divide your life. Don’t divide your school life, your social life, your family life. When you are invited to a hangout with your friends but also have an assignment, consider going to a Cafe and studying together. If your grandparents are in town but you have exams coming up, take a book to read in the car! During our study leave for Mocks last year, I regularly had a friend over to study together by the pool! Each day we used to study a specific subject, and when we were done, we’d go swimming! That friend increased her grade from a 5 to an 8 in a subject because more often than not, you will learn much more with your friends! As long as you don’t go off-topic, your friends will motivate you to not stop, to take a break from your phone, and they might even help you with your work. The trick is to know which friends will bring out the best in you while studying.
There are tons of ways to reduce stress this year. Just the fact that you know that there is stress coming your way already puts you ahead of your game. Try to let it go quickly, don’t let it build up. If you ever need to talk to anyone about stress, school, or even drama, don’t forget to check on our wonderful inclusion team, and if you want to talk to a student about it, sixth formers are always ready to sit down and make you feel better! Love, Rebecca Fayad Y12.