The admission season brings with itself a lot of hurdles that impact our mental health. This article provides tips on how you can take care of your mental health during this time.
The admission season is the time when remaining confident and driven can take you a long way. It can make you feel ready and brave enough to face the world. Such a positive attitude that comes with sound mental health helps students remain focused and work towards their respective goals. But it is a matter of sorrow that students are often faced with complex circumstances that impede them from managing their mental health during their admission season.
Taking this into account, this article sheds light on the kinds of pressure admission seekers encounter during admission season as well as the steps they can take to improve their mental health.
Why Students Should Be Extra Cautious About Their Mental Health during Admission Season
The admission season is easily one of the most daunting times we go through in our student life. It comes with hurdles of multifarious nature. The kinds of pressure an average Bangladeshi student faces during their admission season can roughly be categorised as follows:
During the admission season, students as young as eighteen or nineteen find themselves in a position to take actions that essentially determine the course of their entire lives. Even though many of us form a rough idea about our futures by the time we pass high school, the thought of actually taking steps toward that almost irreversible process is rather formidable to many.
What if I am not making the right choice? What if I don’t actually like the line of study I’m preparing for? – These are questions many of us ask ourselves when we are struggling with setting our goals.
Getting Into the University of Choice
We prepare ourselves the entire season aiming to get accepted by the universities of our choice. Despite working really hard, there still remains a possibility of not getting accepted by those particular universities due to tough competition. For instance, roughly 120 students are taken in by IBA DU from a pool of around six thousand applicants – which means the acceptance rate is only 2%. Such a situation where there is a possibility to miss your chance by a small margin is bound to leave one anxious.
In many cases, especially while applying to foreign universities, students are required to score above a certain percentage in their high school board examination in order to be eligible to get into their university of choice. This obviously adds to the existing mental agitation of students.
The luckiest are those whose families support their educational goals. However, average Bangladeshi parents often fail to see things from their children’s perspectives and therefore can’t come to terms with their (children) decisions of pursuing certain disciplines. In such situations, students are burdened with the added task of justifying their choices to their parents, apart from just having to deal with the stress of preparing for the impending admission tests.
Our society can be quite ruthless when it comes to judging us. The impact of this can be felt anew during the admission season. Neighbours pinch us by comparing our results with that of other students’. Our parents’ colleagues pass remarks about our choices of discipline. Sometimes they brand our choice of subjects as ‘worthless’ and at other times they make it seem as though our ‘worth’ is determined by the institutions we go to.
This sounds like a time of immense hardship that might lead one to feel emotionally drained. So it is obvious that things are extra tough on students during the admission season, which is why they ought to be extra cautious about their mental health during this period of transition.
Ways to Care for Your Mental Health during Admission Season
Every individual is different and they respond to pressure differently. So it is rather obvious that their means of preserving their mental health is going to vary as well. However, here are some general guidelines that might help admission seekers manage their mental health and cope with the situation they face:
1. Share Your Thoughts and Feelings
Keeping ones emotions – be it of delight, agitation, or confusion – bottled up is detrimental to your mental health. Students are likely to face anxiety about their futures during the admission season. Talking to your peers or someone who understands your situation should make you feel a lot lighter. This prevents stress from being pent up and ultimately prepares you to handle the exam stress more efficiently. In this case, listeners are to remember that the student in peril might just want someone to talk to, as opposed to someone who can provide immediate solutions to their problems.
2. Make A Routine (And Stick To It)
Developing a realistic routine with the right balance between studies and recreation is the key to making progress. Apart from allotting a certain time of the day for academics, make sure you keep some time off for recreation. Sticking to a routine will let you have a sense of discipline and accomplishment – which is much needed to boost your morale. To make sure you actually follow the routine, you can write it down and stick it to the wall or a place where you can see it.
Find out how you can make a routine that works for you here.
3. Focus On YOUR Goals
Focusing on your goals comes with two main aspects-
- Evaluation of what you want in the long run
- Not succumbing to societal pressure
Ahmad Abrar, a third-year student of Institute of Business Administration, University of Dhaka has to say the following about this:
“Our society validates certain institutions more than the subject or discipline one wants to study. This makes the students prioritize going after a publicly validated university rather than the discipline one wants to study. In addition, the inflated societal validation out there rather than in-depth guidelines regarding the various routes that one can actually take makes the students all the more lost.”
This is exactly why students should ask themselves where they want to see themselves in the next five to ten years before making a decision. If your family has the tendency to put certain institutions in a pedestal, but what those institutes offer do not align with your goals, try to talk to your parents rationally about the situation.
4. Keep Things Organized
Organising Your Studies
The reason why you should consider organizing your studies or making a study plan is that it is bound to give you a more efficient outcome. The more efficiently you reach the desired outcome, the better you feel. The key is to set clear study goals for specified time periods while checking your progress every now and then. For instance, if your study plan just says ‘Study general knowledge (7PM to 9PM)’ it is quite unclear as to how much you would study, whether you would revise what you already know, or if you are going to learn new lessons. Instead, you are more likely to remain focused if your study plan looks like this:
If you manage to tick off all the items in your study plan, you would definitely derive some satisfaction that would help you remain at ease. However, while it is okay to push yourself, make sure the study plan is realistic and the goals are achievable.
Organising Your Surroundings
Keeping your room clean and organised surely has an impact on how you feel. So when you can’t concentrate on your studies and need to clear your head, clearing your room first might be a good idea!
5. Take Care of Your Physical Health
When you are preparing for your admission tests, it is a given that you would be spending a lot of time sitting on your desk – whether you are at home studying or at your coaching centre taking mock tests. Such sedentary lifestyle may induce lethargy, fatigue, and physical weakness, which in turn may impact your mental health negatively. Since physical well-being is related to mental well-being, you should take care of your physical health to enhance your mental health. Thus, eating healthy and exercising regularly can cast a positive impact on you and make you feel more energetic.
See how physical and mental health are linked here:
6. Take Ample Study Breaks
Just because you are an admission examinee, you do not have to study round the clock and drain yourself completely. You do not have to keep yourself from doing things you like or tending to your hobbies. In fact, these activities can energize you and keep you in a good mood. While recalling his experience of the admission season, Ifran Saad Omee, a CSE student from BRAC University says:
“Taking study breaks were an integral part of my routine. I used to cook and watch shows to keep stress from building up. I would occasionally be on my Ps4 to distract myself from overthinking.”
7. Self-Care and Me-Time
A lot of students benefit from spending me-time in between their studies. Spending me-time could be as simple as going out for a walk by yourself, spending some time on your rooftop staring at the sky, or rereading your favorite book. You can also take up meditation or yoga taking into account all the benefits that follow. Psychologists say alone time-
Find out more about managing to get me-time for enhanced mental health here.
8. Ask For Help
When you are suddenly expected to evaluate all available alternatives and make a decision so big that it would essentially impact a big chunk of your adulthood, it is normal to feel lost. It is important to remind yourself that it is completely alright to feel confused and ask for help. Firstly, it would do you good to seek advice from those who were in your shoes and have gone through the same experience as you. Ask them what they would have done differently and derive ideas from their experience. Secondly, convince your peers to form a study group. Studying with others is a lot less difficult and less monotonous than studying by yourself! Perhaps, it would help you realize that you are not in this alone. Lastly, please do not hesitate to reach out to a counselor or a therapist if you require professional help.
9. Care for Others
Admission season is a time when we can not meet up with our friends often. Admission in different coaching centers and different mock exam routines on top of the academic pressure stands in our way of hanging out. However, this should not stop you from supporting your friends when they need it. So look out for them and keep in touch – share your struggles and successes with one another.
Admission season is a time when you come face to face with a lot of changes. Of course, some of these changes are less than pleasant. This is why it is important for you to focus on your mental health and put in the effort to keep it good. It is to be noted that our mental health determines how we think, feel, and act so it is of utmost importance to care for your mental health during times as crucial as the admission season.