Exams are piling up. You’re drowning in work to do. You don’t know if you’ll ever make it out.

Don’t worry, you are not the only one who feels this way during the exam season. It is difficult to manage all your tasks, and sometimes it feels like you have more to do than there are hours in a day. This feeling of hopelessness can lead to feelings of depression. Surveys show 40% of college students said they felt depressed, and 61% of students said they felt overwhelming anxiety in the same time period. As I mentioned, you are not the only one who feels this way during the exam season. You need to remember that.

While I’m writing this post to draw attention to mental health, so that students know it is okay to be overwhelmed and feel sad, this post is also meant to help alleviate some of those feelings. Below are a few of my favourite methods for getting back on my feet during the exam season.

  1. Remember your grades don’t define you. You come first, and if raising your grade by just a few percent means straining your mind, it is not worth it. Your grades matter FAR less than your health and happiness.
  2. Confide in your friends and family. Your friends are likely feeling the same way, and even if they are not, they will listen. Sometimes simply telling someone how you are feeling can be therapeutic in its own way. For those who live far from home, call your family. You don’t have to tell them everything you are feeling, but just talking to them can remind you that you have so much love in your life, and everything will be better soon.
  3. Find and use the services on and off-campus. While you may only have time for one appointment, that may be all you need. Many schools have walk-in and bookable appointments, but if nothing on-campus works for you, go off-campus. These services are often covered by your school or parents’ benefit plans, and if not, they are well worth the cost. Talking to someone you don’t know can be easier, and because these are professionals, they can provide some of the best guidance available.
  4. Practice positive self-talk. You are smart and kind and wonderful. Look in the mirror each morning and repeat that to yourself. I don’t want you to just say it, though; I want you to believe it, because it is true. By reminding yourself of everything you have and everything you are, you can get through this exam season because you are strong as well.

When exams start to pile up and feel overwhelming, remember we will make it through. Try to keep in mind these four methods for staying positive. Also remember that you are not alone in these feelings, and that they are perfectly normal to have. Nevertheless, we should work to help ourselves and others. Always be kind to others and help them when they’re down. Together we can bring attention to mental health, and together, we can get through this stressful exam season.

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