Exam stress as a killer : an unjustified loss of young life!!

According to the latest data released by government, one student commit suicide every hour in the country; the reason primarily being the exam stress or the fear of a poor report card. The time before the exams, especially for a mediocre student, is very stressful as they have to grasp so much in very little time. Add to it the parental pressure to get good results, the student sometimes get buckled under the stress and take the extreme step of killing himself. And if it’s not exams, then getting unfavorable results becomes the cause of a student committing suicide.

This happened some two years back around the time when the results of board exams were out. We woke up to the commotion in our apartment society. And what we discovered left us really shocked. A teenage girl jumped to her death from her house on tenth floor.  The people pinned the “poor exams results” the culprit behind her impetuous decision to end her life.  Though I did feel bad that a beautiful life is lost so young but I felt sorrier for the parents. To quote a dialogue from a famous TV series- “When someone is gone, they’re gone forever, and all you have left is memories ….”  This line truly encompasses the pain and the irreparable void left behind by the departed one.

Undoubtedly, it’s quite disturbing to read news such as  “A  student committed suicide due to exam stress.”(quite common during this time of the year) I am myself a mother and never in my wildest dreams can imagine a life without my kids. They are too precious to loose over life’s trivial issues, which, by the way, can be resolved if parents show lots of empathy and kids show little sense.

This is again that time of the year when, at least for a fortnight kids will be holed up in a room preparing for exams and once the tests are over will keep pondering over the results. I suppose it makes sense to write an open letter to kids and parents at this juncture.

Dear “stressed” kids,

Exams are the time when you experience maelstrom of unpredictable emotions. However, handling the situation with proper time-management, help from parents and teachers and keeping a cool mind will ease the exam stress.

Now once the exams are over, obviously thinking about the results will give you creeps. No doubt, many of you will pass the exams with flying colors but some of you who would not be able to perform well might plunge into depression. Out of these “someones” I am sure most of you will bounce back, if you have supportive friends and family. You will take failure in your stride and try working hard next time to make your parents proud; or probably start looking for other avenues if one is closed. But some of you might find it difficult to come to terms with your failure. You probably even have to listen to your parents’ yells and accusations constantly. You might feel ashamed to face the world. You would possibly hear your inner voice cajoling you, “since failing in the exams is the worst thing that has happened to me, might as well end my life by jumping off a tall building or slashing the wrist with a knife.” But wait! before any of you take such an extreme step in the heat of the moment, for one last time think about your parents. Once you are dead, you can no longer feel anything but it’s the ones who are left behind who have to live with the pain of your loss. Please understand that their momentarily scolding can never outweigh your parents’ long-standing love for you.

So don’t let the feeling of dejection prevail over your good senses. Just remember one thing “the bad phase too shall pass”. Life is too beautiful to let it slip out of your hands, so tackle your stress and anxiety by talking to your parents or if need be, to a counsellor.

Dear “over-stressed” parents,

Let us give a break to the kids from our incessant ranting, advises , thereby giving them undue stress. Let us all stop making our sons and daughters, a mean to fulfill our unfulfilled dreams.

I am reminded of yesterday’s episode when my seventh grader burst into tears   while she was revising her biology chapter. I was shocked, sad and felt miserable (all in one) when I saw her teary eyes. Now I must tell you that my daughter is a very bright student and in an attempt to get excellent results, she herself starts taking pressure of exams. So after calming her down ,I went through the chapter with her which gave her enough confidence; but it still gives me jitters on thinking if at such young age  she is taking exam-stress ,what would happen by the time she has to take her boards or other competitive exams.

Though I can’t change her innate nature, I could bring changes in my behavioral approach to put my child at ease before exams. Yes, it’s time for me to learn some tips and tricks to help my child cope the exam-pressure. Having said that, I must add that though “google” will readily give the parents the ideas to diffuse the pressure of the exams but since the temperament of each child is different, we parents should chalk out the plan accordingly.

Parents should also be alert enough to look for warning signs: behavioral changes in their kids, not sleeping , eating  or talking properly etc. Although these may not necessary mean the child has suicidal tendency but are sure telltale signs of a child being overwhelmed by the stress. Either have mature conversation with your child or get some professional help before it’s too late.

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