“It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

These wise words were uttered by the one and only Nelson Mandela.  As a Year 12 student currently in the interim between the end of classes and the beginning of exams, I can certainly relate. I don’t think I would be alone in saying that studying – and the exam period in general – is starting to look a little impossible at the moment.

My school finished classes Thursday before last, Graduation was last Monday and now we are well and truly into study mode. Well, that’s the theory. So far my attempts at studying have been successful but sparse.

I don’t like to use the word ‘stress’. I am very much of the opinion that whether or not you experience ‘stress’ is largely within your own control. I also believe that everyone has their own take on what ‘stress’ encompasses. So in choosing not to use the word ‘stress’, I have eliminated the stigma that comes with it.

This does not mean to say that I don’t feel pressure. I’m only human. I do worry about my workload or my ability to succeed in one endeavour or another, but I don’t call this ‘stress’. It’s just a little bit of neccessary anxiety, and for the most part, it makes me perform better.

But it’s the way that different people deal with ‘stress’ that interests me. Some people go into ultra-hard-working mode. They lock themselves away and don’t surface until whatever it is they are worried about passes. Other people shut down, completely fall apart and end up cowering under their desk, hugging their knees, rocking back and forth and having hushed arguments with the voices in their heads. Others don’t even bat an eyelid.

Personally, I don’t know how it is I deal with pressure. In fact, the phrase “I don’t know” perfectly summarises how I feel when I experience this sensation we call ‘stress’. And my impending exams have really made this surface recently.

Am I prepared? I don’t know. I have done well all year, but for some reason with exams on the way I begin to doubt my knowledge and learning. There doesn’t seem to be any reason for it, but something makes me feel that I could not possibly know everything I’m about to be tested on, even if all signs point to the contrary.

What should I work on? I don’t know. I find studying difficult sometimes, often because I just can’t decide what the most effective method of revision is. They are forever telling us at school about the ‘different types of learners’ are. Visual, auditory, kinesthetic etc etc etc, but I seem to be a strange combination of all of them. Should I make cue cards and test myself? Should I draw up posters? Should I arrange all the content to music and learn it by heart? This is the major reason I experience anything like ‘stress’. Simply because I have the time, but I don’t know where to invest it.

Why can’t I do as much work as other people? I don’t know. I am certainly a subscriber to the policy of ‘quality rather than quantity’, but sometimes I do feel intimidated by the fact that some of my classmates can ‘study’ for hours on end. I can not do this. I don’t know if it’s a limited attention span, lack of motivation or if I simply don’t need to work that much, but I can’t do it.

So here I am, four days out from my first exam. I have six to sit in total – five over the next Thursday, Friday and Monday and then one more on the 17th. These exams contribute a large proportion of my final grade for my subjects. What I write in these six two-hour periods could greatly influence what I am qualified to do next year and for the rest of my life. They are the culmination of six years of secondary schooling and thirteen years of schooling in total.

I certainly think they will seem impossible until they’re done. But how do I really feel about them at the moment? I don’t know.

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2 thoughts on ““It always seems impossible until it’s done.”

  1. Like me, I think you live in your “head” rather than “gut” or “heart.” Like me, you seem to be an analyser!!! The way you think resonates. We “head” people like to almost think aloud and analyse the minutiae of our lives!

    Have you ever heard of the Enneagram? I love it. It’s a personality type program a bit like the Myers-Briggs but with a more Christian leaning element to it. It divides us into nine personalities, three heart types (the dreamers- my interpretation), three head types (the thinkers) and three gut types (the reactors)….definitely worth a look.

    You probably don’t need to keep reading and writing because it’s all worked out in your head anyway.

    As a teacher, I am expected to put all my plans onto paper. It’s a struggle because I already know what I am doing. I have thought it already! Maybe, I’m right off the track here but, it seems as though we share some of the same thinking!! Interesting how different we all are.

  2. Thanks so much for the response Marg! It’s great to hear someone is reading by blog and having some sort of reaction to it.
    I’ve never heard of the Enneagram but I’ll certainly do a bit of research, it sounds really interesting! I’ve heard of the Myers-Briggs before so it’ll be interesting to see the difference.
    I suppose I am an ‘analyser’. It’s a bit strange because I’m also a fairly creative person but I have some very logical, analytical parts of my personality too – I think that’s why I have trouble figuring out ‘what sort of learner’ I am, because I’m a bit of a combination.
    I completely sympathise with the struggle to put plans on paper – I have exactly the same problem when I have to write essays for Literature etc! So you’re not off track – I’d agree we seem to share some thinking!
    Thanks again for reading and for your feedback!

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