Many Asian households place a large importance on academic excellence and Singapore is no exception. Singaporean students face national exams from as young as 12 years old. This national exam, the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE), will determine the school and programme that students can enrol in for their secondary education. An examination at 12 years old is a huge determining factor of the education pathway the child will be eligible to choose from and the schools they can enrol in.
Top secondary schools have high cut-off points and to aid those slightly weaker at academics, there is the Direct School Admission (DSA) process where students can enter schools with a lower mark as long as they have abilities in other areas such as sporting excellence. This causes parents to not only spend their time and money to nurture their children to become academically successful but also talented in sports, musical instruments.
The result of this is a well-rounded child with excellent grades which can open doors to many opportunities. However, with all the time spent in tuition classes or sports training, how much time is left for the child to have a fun and enjoyable childhood? With technological advancement today, students spend more time on their electronic devices, less time outdoors and more time at extra lessons and curricular activities compared to enjoying their childhood.
A recent case study is a PSLE math question where 12-year-old students were so distressed by their inability to solve the question that some went home crying, vomiting and even threatening to commit suicide. Many students are unable to cope with the intensity of the education system so it is best to look at ways to destress. In this article, we will be sharing ways to destress as a student, regardless of your age!
1 Surround Yourself With Loved Ones
Having moral support can aid one’s mental health drastically. The company around can influence one’s thoughts and behaviour. It is not healthy to be encapsulated in a toxic environment where one finds it hard to speak up or voice their worries, but it is also not great to be caught in an echo chamber where praises are constantly heaped on by like-minded individuals.
Both these situations make for unawareness of personal strengths or areas of improvement. Hence, a tip is to surround yourself with positive individuals who offer the care, compassion, and guidance needed, especially in times of stress. In return, be that person for others too. Read our previous article for ways to show your care and concern!
2 Plan Your Timetable
Planning your timetable allows you to leave more time for a break and ensure you work productively. For starters, setting aside time slots that are focused on studying and downtime is very important in helping you stay refreshed. If there is a blur between these two, you might be spending too little time relaxing and recuperating your mind which could lead to early burnout.
Here are some ways we recommend to keep track of your time and deadlines:
Forest: a mobile app that allows you to set aside your phone to focus on offline tasks. You can grow trees and gain coins according to the time you set aside your phone. There is a “deep focus” mode where leaving the app will cause the plant to wither. This app is highly recommended for students who find themselves on their phones too often or find it difficult to stay away from their devices.
Google Calendar: especially helpful not just for keeping track of classes and commitments but also tasks. The calendar can also be shared with other users. A recommended tip is the “task” function where one can set their task list on Google Calendar to keep afloat deadlines.
3 Spend Time Meaningfully
Time is precious, so spend it wisely on activities that you enjoy, with people you treasure! Regardless of whether you are a student or pursuing adult studies, relaxing with close friends and spending time with family are both important.
If you are still a student, you get to live in the moment and experience all the joy and fun you can before you become an adult, and if you have already grown up, these precious times will give you a respite from the “realities” of life.
One other aspect is also to choose to pursue your dreams and nurture your talents. If you like to play computer games, set aside an appropriate amount of time to do so, without being addicted. If you like to exercise outdoors, invite your friends to come along. Time does not rewind, so spend your time on things that matter and people who are deserving of your time. Live your life to the fullest, and chase the things that make you happy!
4 Study Smart
Instead of working hard, adopt revision techniques that allow you to learn better. An example of such a method is active recall where you test yourself on the content and how much you can remember, only referring to notes if you cannot remember the concept in your head entirely.
Different subjects or modules have different learning methods that work best, hence, it is advisable to explore these areas and methods, and choose the one that works best for yourself – there is no fixed rule for everyone! Remember to also schedule breaks between your study sessions to ensure your brain does not get tired. A good practice is to arrange study sessions with your friends or classmates to teach each other topics and ‘test’ each other on the content.
Conclusion: Grades Are Not Everything
There are many different paths to success, you do not have to excel academically and take the ‘traditional’ routes to ‘success’. Achieving excellence in other areas in life does not undermine your success. Even if you think that you could have performed better in certain aspects, remind yourself of the effort you have put in.
If that was your best shot, it is a pity the results do not show and it is not reflective of your results. If you think you could have tried harder, try again next round but you have to remember not to beat yourself up over a setback. Maintain a positive attitude and the path will straighten itself out!