As a fresher, there was a lot of pressure on me to keep up with existing academic records. Besides that, there’s a different energy that comes with entering a new phase and that keeps you on your toes, sometimes it’s too much and your metaphoric toes might get affected. Mine did and I only realised after the session.
Have you ever felt anxiety, bouts of depression, tiredness, low motivation or stress after completing an examination? Or have you felt guilty for taking a break, useless for not being under pressure to study or felt the need to remain on the pressure radar of examinations. If your answer is affirmative, you’re probably experiencing post examination depression.
I recently completed my second year examinations as a second year law student and I noticed a pattern of depressed feeling that comes with the completion of an examination especially one that came with tasking preparation or ensued after a stressful session.
I felt the same way after my first year examinations and reminiscing, I realize that I narrowly escaped the depth of the same feeling after my admission examinations because I immediately plunged into preparation for a new academic stage…well maybe not.
For vividity, I’ll share details of my personal experience. As a fresher, there was a lot of pressure on me to keep up with existing academic records. Besides that, there’s a different energy that comes with entering a new phase and that keeps you on your toes, sometimes it’s too much and your metaphoric toes might get affected. Mine did and I only realised after the session.
Hence, after my examinations in first year, I experienced bouts of depression, tension, stress and every other negative emotion. I had concerns about my results not because I didn’t prepare well but because of the pressure at the time to do well. Then again I had concerns about the next stage, being productive and what have you. Thankfully, that phase passed…maybe not.
Coming into second year, I realized that what I considered pressure in first year was only a tip of the iceberg, a lion’s cub compared to the new feeling. Covid-19 afforded me some break time but what came after was not amusing. This is not peculiar to me because I know several students experienced the same pressure. In fact, for many it was like restarting a gear that had been redundant for year, rusty part and all. Some handled it well, others didn’t.
Fast forward to post examination, I noticed the same pattern. A whole week of uselessness not particularly related to being productive because it’s okay to take a break, it was mentally. Besides the feeling of wanting to be absent, there was stress, tiredness, random sadness and what have you. I decided to do some research and booyah, it’s a thing; Post examination depression, one that a lot of students experience.
One of causal factors is post examination Stockholm syndrome that exists where the student considers life before the examination easier as it affords them their daily schedule or purpose. Many students become so dependent on school activities or exam preparation that when it’s over, there’s really nothing to fall back on or where there it’s a struggle and they feel guilty when they think they are being unproductive.
In lieu of this, here’s a few tips that could help you deal with post examination depression;
- Recognise that you’re not alone: it’s so important to recognise that this is something that a lot of students go through. As a matter of fact, it’s not peculiar to students; anyone who has dwelled on a particular endeavour for a long time is likely to experience the same when it’s removed
- Relay your sleep debt: stress is one the causal factors of this condition and your body needs to rejuvenate. Take time out to pay your sleep debt. Recognise that it’s okay to take a break and be unproductive for a while, do something you love doing for leisure, just take a break.
- Quit comparing your pace: one of the highlights of feeling useless is seeing your counterparts plunge into the next activity almost immediately. For instance, a session has just ended and while you’re trying to rest, you see your mates preparing for the next session almost immediately, making decisions about electives you’ve not thought about. While redundancy is not encouraged, comparison takes a lesser front. If your body and mind needs to recuperate, please do yourself the favour.
- Get on with other things: when you feel well rested, get on with other things. Make plans and execute them. Give your day more purpose. Since you have dwelled on one activity for so long, you might want to diversify, complete the tasks you stayed before the examination. In other words, take it easy, but still take it.
- Do not worry too much about the results: Certainly, it’s not as easy as it sounds. One of the facets of this condition is anxiety over one’s results especially when you have put in so much effort but unsatisfied with your evaluated performance. It’s even more difficult if you’re one with high expectations. However, worry has never helped anyone so why beat yourself up beforehand?
That’s it’s for today’s blogsode dear reader. These tips helped me and I hope they help you too. As always, I’d love to hear your views on the subject. If you’ve experienced post examination depression please share how you dealt with it. Till our next blogsode, ciao!