I think I’m losing my mind. Today I tried to do my maths homework and I’m pretty sure I was doing what the book said to do... and yet, I consistently got the wrong answers. It was not a hard chapter. I cried.
Fortunately, my parents were on hand to offer ever-useful advice such as “Eat a banana” and “Go and play with the cats: they have a different set of priorities.”
I could use this blog post to rant about how painful maths is, how whoever implemented the new system clearly didn’t think it through...etc, etc, first world problems, etc... But instead I’d like to tell you this:
Nothing is worth getting that worked up about. if you are becoming so caught up in a difficult subject that you actually start crying (embarrassing as it is to admit this, it’s not the first time I’ve done that... it could partly be my age?) then something is clearly wrong. Almost nothing in this world is that important.
I want to let you know that I’m here if you’re having some sort of trouble. School and exams can be a very stressful time, particularly as most of us take exams during the most volatile years of our life, when hormones are all over the place and we get so angry about everything. Drop an email to email@example.com if you’re having any issues, or comment below, and we can try and sort it all out together. Even if the only advice I can give you is about fruit or the healing properties of a family pet, I’ll at least try to help and it might be nice just to talk about it with someone. The subjects I take are English, Irish, Maths, History, French, Biology and Business Studies (here in Ireland we take a diverse selection for Leaving Cert) and I’d be happy to advise on pretty much any of these where I can. Or if it’s general stuff, that’s fine too. The school-help hotline is officially open for business.
Of course, it’s true that a little stress is good. For example, I know that Bambi got stressed when she approached her exams last year (she probably didn’t cry, though), but she ended up achieving ELEVEN As (out of a possible... you guessed it, eleven)! So stress can be a huge motivator... It depends on how you respond to it.
For example, next time your Scumbag Irish book tries to explain what an Irish word means by using another Irish word... don’t get angry or give up. Simply find your dictionary (or go to www.focal.ie) and think about it this way: you now have two new words in your vocabulary.
Try looking at exam papers to see what use all this studying will be in the end. It might even make it all less scary. For example, I know that the French listening exercises for the exam are a lot easier than the ones in my textbook. Things like that tend to calm one down a little.
Write a list of where you’re at now, and what you need to get done before your exams. Hopefully, this will focus your mind and you’ll be able to formulate some definite goals and a timetable for achieving them.
Above all, talk to people. Talk to your parents, or, if you’re not lucky enough to have ones as supportive as mine, you can try offloading on friends, teachers, or as I've said, me. That way you’ll be able to actually find out what it is you’re having trouble with, rather than getting bogged down in the whole thing.
Last of all, ladies and gentlemen, I leave you with Scumbag Textbook. That's right, it's an actual thing! I checked!