Dear very stressed student,
It's that time of the year — late May. For some reason, your teachers thought it was a good idea to hold all the major projects and tests until now and suddenly expect you to be able to study for and do well on every single one of them. And then there are extracurriculars to deal with. It might be an end of year music exam or the last game of the season. You feel like you're ready to explode from all the pressure and just can't wait until everything is over. Sound familiar?
The truth is, every student has experienced this, especially high school students. This is only my first year in high school, yet the pressure that everything adds to me builds up over time, and when the due dates come up, it's like a cold hard hand slapping you in the face, ordering you to toughen up. No one enjoys that, and it certainly doesn't help with morale.
One thing that most people don't understand is that these end of year examinations don't completely define your success. They certainly don't define you as a person. Some people can handle stress better than others, and not every test is going to be something you excel at. The next time you feel overwhelmed, try sitting back and thinking about all your accomplishments and the good things you've done to get to where you are right now. Surely if you're so stressed, you worked hard in the past to get yourself to that level.
Congratulate yourself, give yourself a little pep talk and move forward. Remember that in about a month, you'll look back on this time and laugh at yourself and how desperate you acted.
You also absolutely positively don't want to procrastinate! I know that it is tempting, and I know that your device may call to you. You must understand that you only have to stress about most of these things for a few more weeks, and then you get a huge weight lifted off your shoulders, no matter what you're doing in the summer. And sorry to break it to you, but hardcore studying for five hours straight will do nothing good for your memory or your health. The night before the exam, you either know something or you don't, so cramming will just hurt you.
Instead, try to make sure that you really know what you know and let instinct guide you on what you don't. Your first guess is usually right in pretty much everything.
Make sure you go into whatever you're doing with a clear mind, with 100 percent of your focus on the task at hand. It may not seem like it, but it is a huge commonality for people, especially teenagers, to be thinking about something else or doing something else when they are supposed to be focusing all their efforts on what they need to do at the moment. I've experienced this firsthand and often caught myself contemplating life during my EOC testing when I was in the middle of writing an essay or reading a passage (oops!).
The truth is, you cannot completely control your thoughts, but you can train your brain to weed out thoughts that may be unnecessary at the moment. Meditation helps to focus your thoughts immensely. Just sit in a quiet spot and focus on one image or word. If other thoughts come to you (which they will), just leave them and refuse to think about them. Act lazy!
Take a deep breath and relax. Whatever needs to be done will be done, and you will end up doing it eventually. In the meantime, there's no point in stressing about something you have no control over until it's upon you. A little optimism never hurt anybody. Good luck on your exams, and walk into them with a smile.