Exam stress on teenagers: Over-hype is destroying self-esteem

By Tanish Chachra. Dated: 3/15/2019 12:19:20 PM

Exam season is upon us and every household in Jammu is worried about their children's performance in next few weeks and months, especially in the case of students who are in class 10th or 12th who will appear in board exams and competitive exams in the following months.
Children preparing for these exams are under tremendous pressure to score well in order to ensure a bright future for themselves or fulfill the "aspirations" of their parents and family members. This pressure mostly turns into a grave situation where the stress overpowers the psyche of youngsters and makes them feel over-burdened and heavily disturbed, which results in their breakdown and affects their caliber.
"Overstress can cause anxiety, depression and suicidal tendencies. It is important to analyze the child and be empathetic. For their child's own good they have to be supportive for the welfare of their mind." said Devika Mehta, a psychologist and counsellor. Considering, there are approximately 31 lakh students who will appear in CBSE 10th and 12th examination throughout the country and many more from various other state educational boards, the level of competition is severely high. Moreover, only limited seats in the prestigious university institutions makes the situation even worse.
Therefore, parents over here need to support their children and motivate them to do well but not stress them beyond the limit and prevent themselves from building the overhype about the secondary level examinations.
The usual approach adopted by the schools and the parents towards their children on school board exams is really negative. Many times these youngsters are taught false beliefs that scoring low marks in these exams would ruin their lives forever.
"Board exams have changed my schedule and habits ever since I entered class XII. The pressure of exams has confined me till course books. Since long I haven't been able to play basketball which I love. The long hours of study schedule also has affected my health," said Karan Sudan, Class XII student, Jammu.
The social influencers like relatives are also to be blamed, where constant comparison between the siblings, cousins and neighbourhood kids makes youngsters lose their own self-worth. Therefore, it leads to toxic competitiveness among kids which results in shaming when a person fails to deliver.
Adding to the misery, a new directive the Jammu and Kashmir Board of School Education (BOSE) has said that students of class 10th and 11th must qualify all the five subjects in their annual and bi-annual examination to be able to sit in the next class. Hence, students feel anxious by seeing such obligations directed upon them which further magnifies the stress level they are already dealing with.
In the recent past, blunders by the state authorities have resulted in disasters as students who prepared really hard but did not fare well in the results were pushed into depression and even forced them towards suicidal tendencies. One such instance in 2015, is of a 17-year-old electronics engineering student who committed suicide in Srinagar after he scored low marks in his exam. However, the re-evaluation of papers after four months found that he not only passed the subject but topped his class.
Further, over-ambitious teachers who want to achieve an excellent academic record through their students' near to perfect marks takes a heavy toll on the school students. Enrollment of students in private coaching centers, who train them for the competitive entrance exams also contributes to the present intensive curriculum and affects the well-being of children at such tender age.
This has made an impact throughout the nation including Jammu, where reports of suicides by students have become routine and common. The scarcity of quality institutions and limited seats in them enhances the chances of failure.
Here, parents should take charge to normalize the situation for their own kids and should reduce their stress and anxiety by counseling them with professional help. Also, if stress reaches its peak, then consulting a psychologist should be opted for a better mental hygiene.
Also, parents should be flexible over their kids' choices in life especially in regard to profession they want to chose, such acceptance could enable a teenager to improve productive performance and achieve high self-esteem. However, limited knowledge of other field of professions has led to such ignorance and rigid mindset among the adults.
Meanwhile, students also shouldn't be left carefree. It is necessary to explain them the importance of such exam and a little bit of pressure should be instilled for a better performance. The right amount of stress, which is known as U-stress enables a person to work under their full potential. Pressurizing more than required will eventually make students scared of exams and nervous.
Additionally students should try to follow their passion and shouldn't follow the herd. Many times it results in high self-concept and success. As the saying goes "Failure guarantees success". Therefore, one should not quit after failing and must try to rise again.
(The author is student of journalism)



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