Kids Speak: That Time Of The Year
This blog post was contributed by Arnav Chopra, a grade 10 student at Riverside School, Ahmedabad.
It is that dreaded time of the year again. This one has assumed particularly sinister proportions because of the Big Bs! Everyone around me seems to be conspiring to ensure that I do not forget that I am in the 10th grade. And that these are my first mocks (for the uninitiated, mocks are basically preparatory exams for the actual board exams) And that these could be indicative of my performance on the actual boards. And my performance on the boards could potentially determine my fate in the great college admissions sweepstakes. And … well the litany goes on!
I am normally quite a cool kid – both literally and figuratively! Nothing really frazzles me, except perhaps, Karate tournaments. But sadly, these exams have gotten under my skin. I have tried to be consistent in my effort throughout the year, yet I find myself feverishly cramming into the wee hours of the morning, my eyes glazing over. I don’t enjoy studying for even Math and Physics – my favorite subjects – because I can’t stop thinking about all the things that could go wrong. If I come across a challenging problem, I don’t have the luxury of spending time to dive deep, explore and analyze the different aspects and come up with potential solutions on my own. I must peek into the answer key and what is worse, memorize if I don’t understand. And what I have realized is that, the moment something is memorized and not internalized, you regurgitate it in the exam and then it leaves your mind forever. That is not learning. I HATE working like that. I want to really, truly know what I am studying, be fully immersed with all my faculties and not worry about making mistakes which are, after all, an inextricable part of the learning process. But exams sadly do not afford that space.The higher the stakes, the harder it is to get away with mistakes. And it doesn’t get higher than the Boards.
I dread the fact that my fate and my future may be decided just by one exam. You mess up, its over! I spend hours reflecting on my performance after giving a test. Even if I find the slightest of mistakes, I spend the entire day in self-flagellation. I completely neglect the fact that all the exams I am giving are just a way to get better prepared for the Boards, and making mistakes in these exams is actually a good thing, because I’ll not make the same mistakes again.
But it is not all doom and gloom. I am beginning to devise some coping mechanisms. Alexa (Amazon’s voice assistant, like Apple’s Siri, just better) has become my best friend. My favorite playlist always calms me down. I eat healthy to keep up my health and eat junk to keep up my spirits. When my brain goes into overdrive, I have discovered that physical exercise seems to shock it into submission, having an almost meditative, soothing effect on it. On days when I feel I could have done better on the exam, I come home and head straight to bed. The one-hour nap is incredibly refreshing, and what is more, it helps me flush out the negativity and I am ready to focus on the next day’s paper. And when all else fails, my mom’s warm hugs set everything right again!
As my wise mother says, a bad exam is not the end of the road, it is just another opportunity to course correct. Good luck and Godspeed!