Students, Exams And Mental Health
About this period in many parts of the world most students are either preparing for or taking exams. Some may have already finished exams and are awaiting the result. In Nigeria specifically, final year students are sitting their school leaving exams, while university students should be getting ready for the second semester papers. Of course studying is concentrated, focused mental activity, and the added desire to do well, or fulfill the hopes and aspirations of parents who may have spent considerable sums on education, brings pressure to excel. This has resulted in many students complaining of stress, mental breakdown and other health issues.
Taking tests and exams are part of the education system, and no student can avoid this activity, but they can certainly expect it not to affect their mental health adversely. One way to ensure this is to start spiritually. Learning is a natural process that even the new born is exposed to, albeit in an informal setting. This shows that learning is natural. It does not need to be stressful. Unhealthy competition and corruption that is at the root of exam malpractice, cheating and stress related illnesses arise from the false notion that there are winners and losers. But spirituality assures that no child of God can be a failure, a cheat, or be indolent in carrying out their assigned work.
Many students have been helped by the spiritual ideas shared in Science and Health with key to the Scriptures by Mary Baker Eddy. She writes reassuringly that God gathers unformed thoughts into their proper channels, and unfolds these thoughts, just as naturally as He unfolds the petals of a holy purpose, in order that the purpose may appear. Every student has their unique place and purpose in God’s perfect plan — in time and eternity; and honesty alone gives spiritual power.
Realising that God is responsible for every event of their careers, students can realise that God rewards hard work, honesty and diligence. That their place in God’s plan is a place of honour, good success and practical reward. Moreover being aware that their ability to learn and understand comes from God, and not from some special personal dispensation or individual prowess removes the propensity for ill-health as a consequence of studying long hours. There is no concept new to God, and as the diligent, honest and hardworking student understands that they reflect or express the all-knowing, omniscient Mind, God, they shall experience better mental health, and come to exam halls with the assurance of having done their own part in the learning process.
Spirituality takes away the stress of studying, the fear of exams and the trepidation of awaiting results. It also removes corrupt thoughts and lack of confidence which encourage exam malpractice. It makes a student eschew laziness, dishonesty and reliance of stimulants as study aids. It teaches trust in God and His unique plan for every student regardless of human situations and circumstances. It gives confidence in the ability to learn new concepts. Most importantly spirituality promotes physical and mental health.