ISSN: 1391 - 0531
Sunday January 13, 2008
Vol. 42 - No 33

Getting over those jitters

By Tahnee Hopman

The dawning of the year 2008 was tinged with nervousness for thousands of students – the A/L batch of 2007. While late night party goers recuperated from their hangovers of 31st night, the A/L students anxiously awaited the long anticipated results, either camping out in their schools, or sitting in front of their computer screens.

Similar to the level of preparation done for the exam itself, is the way in which some students prepare themselves for their results - help the cause either! Some stress out about their results to such an extent, it is surprising that they have not developed high blood pressure or been subject to a cardiac arrest. "I'm going to flunk my exam! What am I going to do with my life?" Talk about pathos. Talk about melodrama. These drama kings and queens could give soap actors a run for their money.

The aftermath of the A/L exam was more than usually eventful. While the wait for the results was both long and painful, the strikes staged by various unions had students wondering if they would even get their results. And finally, they were released. It is to be expected that in almost every one of these students' homes, the tension could be cut with a knife.

After all, this would be the result of weeks, months, and in the case of over-zealous swatters, two years of non-stop studying. Thirteen, or maybe fourteen years of education culminates in the all important A/L result. This, in the mind of the student, is a make or break, or to quote Macbeth, "The be all and end all." But it isn't. There is no way that one isolated exam can measure the knowledge of a student, and no way can that one result define an individual.

So why on earth do we all tend to give this much significance to one particular set of results? Maybe society is to blame. One of the most frequent complaints of A/L students is that, as the time for results draws near, apart from family and friends, people they barely know come crawling out of the woodwork, asking them about results. To make things worse, results are one of the main topics of conversation at various social gatherings, where the already tormented student is reminded even more of the upcoming A/L result. Considering that results arrived almost at the end of the Christmas season, it is not too difficult to imagine the mental state of some of these students.

To get back to the point, many students believe that their anxiety about the results is heightened when people give so much attention to it. High expectations can also be hard to deal with. However, harder still is coming to terms with results, particularly when results are not consistent with the amount of hard work put in.

Disappointing results are hard to deal with, but unlike earlier, there are far more options out there which are worth considering. Right now, the A/L's may seem like the most important thing but they are not. For one thing, the A/L is more a beginning than an end, and where results are concerned, approximately a week after the results, people are already beginning to forget about them.

The best options when dealing with results are simple. Send answer scripts in for re-correction, hope and pray for the best. If things don't work out, there will always be something better for you out there. Consider all the options you have. Meanwhile stick like glue to those who inspire you and make you feel good about yourself, and most importantly, avoid pessimists like the plague!

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