I got home from school after my history exam yesterday morning and I felt pretty down. I’d spent all of Friday, Saturday and Sunday revising none stop and I was just about to start again in preparation for two exams the next day.
There’s no doubt about it that anyone studying any type of exam during their school years or beyond find it tough and difficult to revise. Whether it be SATs, Mock exams, GCSEs, AS, A2 or so on. It’s a stressful time and we all long for a technique which will help us revise and get those vital facts and figures screwed into our heads. There’s a lot of pressure put on us and as someone studying their GCSEs at the moment I find it extremely overwhelming. If it’s not the teachers nagging and moaning that if we don’t do this or this then we won’t get our target grade then it’s the worry of have I done enough revision. Along with the constant worry of have I done well enough to get the grades I need to go on to do what I want to do next year. That’s without a doubt the most worrying, I’m always thinking have I done enough and what will happen if I haven’t. There’s a lot of competition nowadays for places in colleges, sixth forms, jobs and so on.
Obviously revising has a major part to play in the grades we get. You revisit what you’ve already done and try to make sure everything you need for the exam has been absorbed. At school I had a week of assemblies about revision techniques, all of which I found completely useless. If anything it was just over thinking what we should be doing and trying to make it seem something that it isn’t. Along with this there’s all talk about we need to relax and take regular breaks. This could include going to get a drink or perhaps a quick snack. Or perhaps intervals and spending time watching TV or perhaps spending time with your friends at the weekend. As I mentioned before, to me it’s all over done and it’s far from relaxed and helping. Most of the time we know these techniques. Relaxing isn’t going to happen by popping for a snack or watching TV every few hours, in my opinion it’s a massive distraction and fires you up more about the revision you’re about the go and do again. When doing things like this you block it out and don’t look forward to going back to it, your mind sees the short term and the fact that the rest of your day will be boring and not the fact that if you do well in revision you’ll do well in the exam and therefore get the grades you need. In the heat of revising you forget this. Then when you have short, block outs from it this doesn’t help either. You seem to force yourself to forget.
In our homes we’re surrounded by hustle and bustle, whether we see it or not. It might be the TV on downstairs or a car driving past. One thing I worried about when my exams approached, like many others, was will I have time to myself? Will I have time to meet with my friends or go out on a walk? Wildlife and being outdoors is my method of relaxing anyway as it’s my passion. However when I think about it, it’s much more then that. As soon as I hit the overgrown pass on my local patch everything zones out. I forget about the hustle and bustle and the traffic noise. The greenery takes me away, it’s pure. Once I’ve walked along into the wilderness more, the actual sound of traffic does go and in every direction there is nothing but nature. When this surrounds me I can’t help but relax and completely forget about everything, including my exams. When I return home I sometimes feel like I’ve been in some sort of comma as I feel revitalised again. I’m away from all man-made things like my laptop, the TV as well as my revision and the exams. I wonder to myself what if (what if) other people in the same position as me would get the same effect, I immediately think no. The reason why I find it as a good break is because it’s something I love and other kids my age have different interests again. However I then begin to think about all the studies which show how a trip out within nature should be something a doctor should prescribe and how studies do show it reduces stress levels.
When I return home, how destressed I feel is pretty amazing. I know how much I love being out in the wilderness but surely others would feel this to a certain extent too. It really is away from EVERYTHING. Nothing in sight, nothing can be heard therefore nothing in mind. As well as this as I observe what is going on around me, I see the world around me from a different angle, an angle where everything is natural and my brain seems to switch to a different mode. A mode where I can think and see clearly. I do think about my exams but not like I would if I was sitting in front of a TV screen, I think about them from a different angle and most of all when I do so I don’t feel stressed. I’ve spoken to many people recently, my age and older, and they have said that when they feel stressed or tense they’ll go out for a walk in the countryside and this has an impact on them. When they return home they feel much better and their mind has been cleared.
Anyway, my point is going out for a walk in the countryside is something simple and easy. It’s not over thinking anything like when I’ll go and get the next chocolate bar or when I’ll watch TV or how long I’ll spend on a break. It’s simple and completely relaxing. Another example is at a school, of which I know one of the teachers. The school is a school for students with Autism. One of the things they will do most days is go out into the woodland. I’m told that these students are often tense and stressed but when they’re out surrounded by nature everything drops and it’s as though they’re reformed for a short while.
Imagine if something like this, the idea of just going out when things got stressful with exams within younger people did happen. They could go with their friends and it could become something ‘cool’. Along with this there’s no doubt that they would get to know the true feel and understanding of nature. This could be a precious thing as it would be something they may teach to their own children and something they’d do when they experience everyday stress when they’re older.
Overall it could be a win win situation. Children and young people would be taught to connect with nature as an effective way to relax, especially with the pressure of schools, then they’d grow with this and nature could be valued more throughout more young people. One of the reasons why I decided to write this post is because I’m pretty positive exploring the countryside to get away from exam pressure would be very effective for ANY young person but would they give it a go? Give it a chance and open their minds to it? Just think, how often do you go out on a walk in the countryside and see someone who’s got a sad face or look unhappy, unless it’s a farmer telling you to get off their land, it’s not very often.