The summer holidays are usually a time young people look forward to as a chance to rest and recuperate after a long school year. However, August is exam results time for many and that can mean anxiety and worry.
Exams can be useful and for many are part of a well-travelled road which works for them – the ‘right’ results lead to the next step, whether that is further education, apprenticeships or employment. For some the path might not be as straight forward and it might take some diversions to get where they want to be. Indeed, there are plenty of us happy not to have a set career plan or just one career for our whole working life.
It can feel overwhelming and that everything is reliant on getting certain results; pressure from school and home can make it feel as though achieving results is the be all and end all and it can be difficult to see a way forward without them. It is important to reassure young people that there are other routes to get to where they want to go and that it is ok not to necessarily have an exact step-by-step plan already decided.
There are many examples of people who have achieved great things without having exam results to back them (I am not just talking about the famous and rich ones). Some of the most successful, happy and influential individuals found other routes to get where they are.
It can be difficult not to worry or feel anxious, particularly if there is a set career destination in mind or the results are needed for a university place for example. Try and find some other activities to still enjoy the summer break, to make some memories and to have some fun – which can be good as it can create distraction from the anxiety. The worry about what might happen is often worse than what actually does happen; not knowing can be scary.
Find someone you can talk to and don’t bottle up your feelings. It is also a good idea to have support on hand when the results are given just in case. Even if you get the results you want, it can still feel overwhelming as it can be the beginning of a transition time in life, for example to a new college / university, or from school to work.
What to do if the results do not go the way that is expected or hoped for? Well, to start – lots of reassurance and the opportunity to calmly discuss what other options there might be. There are lots of online and telephone support services if needed and they will be ready to help deal with all kinds of issues. A few examples are Childline, Young Minds, Blurt It Out.
Do not underestimate the power of breath work and in mindfulness exercises; these are not just for adults. At Outside the Cave we offer many activities that can help young people feel more confident.
Outside The Cave
Holistic wellbeing for the individual and wider community in Edwinstowe