Matric is a highly stressful time for both parents and students. It being the final year of high school, there is a lot at stake for learners. Not only do they have to worry about their exams, but they also have anxiety about their final marks.
Matrics will finish writing their National Senior Certificate (NSC) final exams next week after another challenging year of the Covid-19 pandemic.
While most grade 12 learners will be celebrating the end of more than a decade of studying, others will be stressed, anxious and under pressure whilst waiting in anticipation for their final matric results to be released in January.
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) revealed that the Grade 12 final exams put substantial pressure on many learners to achieve.
“Pressure from teachers, parents and even self-directed pressure from yourself only serves to intensify an already stressful situation,” the organisation said.
According to SADAG, moderate amounts of stress can be a good thing. It can sharpen concentration and performance and help to create the energy and motivation we need to keep studying. Too much stress, however, can be overwhelming and stop us from being able to study and function healthily in life.
“ It is very common to think that we will be judged solely on our academic achievements rather than as individuals with contributions to make in all sorts of ways. If someone believes that his/her self-worth depends on academic achievement, there will be considerable anxiety surrounding any academic assessment.
“Too much anxiety can be paralysing. If the pressure to succeed from family or others is extremely high, it may help to contact your local counselling service in order to talk about this, ” said SADAG.
Here are tips from the research conducted by Psychological Society of South Africa (PSYSSA), on how learners and parents can cope with stress while waiting for final results in the coming weeks:
Being kind to yourself rather than being overly self-critical, is a helpful way to deal with academic disappointment because it helps you look at the situation with empathy and balance.
Another important strategy is called ‘engagement coping’, where an active effort is made to manage your stress by changing your emotional reaction, e.g shifting from anger to disappointment to acceptance
Let your parents know you need their support and understanding, let them know that attempts to downplay your results by minimising them or dismissing them as ‘nothing to worry about’ are also unhelpful.
According to SADAG, parents need to be there for their children before and after the exam results. Offer support and make an effort to show them that it is not the end and that there is so much that can be done after a bad result, missed distinction or points too low for University exemption.
“Our lives and futures do not rely on any exam results. Passing an exam is only part of the story. Remind your teens that there are always other chances and other ways to reach your goals.”
Emergency Crisis Helplines
Telephone: 011 422 4242 or 0861 322 322
The South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG):
National helpline (24 hours): 0800 12 13 14
Suicide Crisis Line 0800 567 567