Hair loss, weight gain, insomnia. Now add the devastating condition of memory loss to the list of stress- and anxiety-related symptoms that afflict students in the run-up to the board exams.
A Class 12 student of SIES College, Matunga, was so tense about her prelim exams that she forgot she had to go to them. “She asked her friends who they were and what exam they were talking about,” said principal Harsha Mehta, of SIES. “She couldn’t remember anything. Her classmates had to drag her to college, after which we called her parents. She is being clinically treated.” She requested that the student’s name be withheld.
As students try to make the best of the last month left before their make-or-break Class 10 and Class 12 board exams, levels of stress and anxiety inevitably shoot up.
Clinical psychologist Pankti Gada, who counsels SIES students, points out that although exam pressure may not have been the sole reason for the memory loss, it certainly played a role. “There could be undetected biological underpinnings,” she said. “The exam-related stress could then have triggered the memory loss.”
A Class 11 student from NM College developed similar symptoms. A good student, she nevertheless refused to enter the examination hall once there. “She refused to take the exam, saying that she remembered nothing,” said Vijayam Srinivasan, the vice-principal. She has recovered since.
Yet another college student was so anxious that he shut himself at home a month ago. Having scored 90 per cent in Class 10 was not enough to boost his confidence. He is getting help at Lilavati Hospital, but the principal does not think he will be well enough to take the exams.