Mehek Mukhi (17) loses her cool and screams every time there is even a little noise at home. She is taking her HSC exams this year and spends all her time studying — or worrying.
“I can’t help it, I just blow up. To get less than 90 per cent would be disgraceful,” says the stressed girl.
Board exams for Class 10 and 12 are close, and students, parents and teachers are on their annual visit to the cliff-edge of nerves. Helplines like Aasra receive up to six calls a day, most of them from students who feel they are not prepared.
“During exams, students usually don’t use the phone because their parents frown upon it. Still, a fair number of students call us daily,” said Director Johnson Thomas.
Schools are also doing everything they can to help — from holding workshops to counselling sessions — to help students relax. At Andheri’s Holy Family School, students have been given the cellphone numbers of maths and science teachers Susan Babu and EP Babu.
“I get calls even at 11 pm from students who are nervous or are having some difficulty with their studies,” said Susan.
Many students, meanwhile, have found their own ways of tackling the anxiety. Some are effective and safe — listening to music, watching television, chatting with friends or meditation and yoga.
Others are horror tales — induced crying and vomiting, medicines to be constipated so they can concentrate better or even staying on liquids to not feel sleepy.
Experts say the key lies in finding non-intrusive methods of de-stressing. Jasmine Bharathan, who conducts workshops, recommends Emotional Freedom Techniques, wherein one gently taps points on the face and hands to neutralise anxiety. “One should remove anxiety and let yourself shine through,” she said.
Meditating before a tiny statue of Christ is Harsh Rijsinghani’s way of de-stressing. “I meditate mostly before the Hindi paper,” he said. The Class 12 student of Bandra’s MMK College also walks in the building garden or listens to music. “Chatting with friends also relaxes me,” he said.
Karishma Shah (18) swears by sudarshan kriya — a rhythmic breathing process. Arushi Aggarwal, a Class 12 student, has a wilder method — running up and down her house, screaming into bags, or breaking into a dance. A Surat-based group has even released a song ‘Bhanvani Rutu Aavi’ (Study Season is Here), urging students to treat exams like a girlfriend or boyfriend, so they study with love.