Exam Anxiety

His hands were shaking.

He was starting to feel nauseous.

It was the first time he had seen his heart beating this loud.

Exam paper in front of him, a classroom full of students.

A teacher staring at them one by one.

What would he do?

He thought he might vomit at any moment.

He made a plan in his mind to go to the bathroom as soon as possible.

His hands were starting to shake.

He couldn’t mark the small gaps on the paper.

The voices of his mother and father came to his ears.

“We trust you, my daughter/son. It doesn’t matter if you can’t, but we know you can.”

The sound kept echoing in his ear.

It was ending and wrapping up.

He looked around, everyone was solving questions.

He couldn’t.

He was sure that what he ate in the morning was starting to move from his stomach to his esophagus.

He didn’t try to swallow.

His mind kept talking.

He was talking so much that he didn’t realize that he was holding his head in his hands to silence him, trying to cover his ears.

He woke up when the teacher tapped him on the shoulder.

“Are you okay?”

She had a hard time not crying and was able to say “no”.

He ran out of the classroom.

He sat under a tree in the garden.

She cried for minutes.

“I can’t,” she said while crying.

Suddenly, her mother’s voice came to her ears, “Daughter/son, wake up. Passed.”

When he awoke, his mother and father were by his bedside, looking at him.

His pillow was wet from crying.

What a familiar scene for a parent with a child preparing for an exam.

A teenager waking up with a nightmare.

And what a familiar self-talk for young people who are going to take the exam.

From time to time, young people preparing for the exam may find themselves in a chaos when they say the complexity of the process, expectations, and what adolescence brings.

Young people who are overwhelmed by the emotional weight of preparing for the exam may experience some physical symptoms.

They have a harder time when they don’t understand why these symptoms are happening.

At this point, what they expect from their parents is a well-intentioned “We trust you”, “You do it.” rather than sentences

“How are you?”

“Is there anything I can do for you?”

“You are going through a difficult time. I see you’re upset.”

“This system is making you angry.”

“Come, let’s declare today a holiday, let’s spend time together. What do you want to do?” can have sentences.

The year they take the exam is the year when young people most need support, compassion, and acceptance for who they are.

As if all the problems in life weren’t enough, my dear young friend who is trying to prepare for the exam.

I know it sounds very difficult.

As if all the problems in life are not enough, my dear parents, whose children are preparing for the exam,

I know it all came together. It’s a knot.

Take a deep breath, family. Remember how much you love each other and that this is the most important thing in life!

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