A Universal Guide to Stress Management?

Good Luck with That!

Dear Deakin Law Students,

Are exams important to you? Of course, they are. What a silly question. Do exams make you feel stressed? I’d be willing to put my house on it if I wasn’t renting. We want to do well, it is only natural to feel stressed. I suppose it does not calm the nerves that the typical law exam is incredibly weighted, sometimes up to 80% of the overall mark. I’m not looking at you directly, Criminal Procedure. Does this type of assessment reflect what is needed in contemporary practice? I digress. That is a conversation for another day. I am here to talk about a feeling that is synonymous to law students; stress!

So here it comes, the age-old spiel about stress management. Whether it be in our home life, working life or study life, we all want to effectively minimise it. Sure, we are told exercise, diet, sleep, study and social interaction are just some of the keys to achieving minimal stress during the exam period and indeed throughout life. Clearly, on a general level, I agree with this. What position am I in to disagree? I certainly feel that the introduction of exams makes it difficult for me to achieve all of these things on a consistent basis.  However, to me, there are no strict rules to follow for a guide to stress management. We all have special things that we like to do to keep us relatively stress free.

I am sure I am not the first to admit that my exam preparation is in complete contradiction to some of these basic keys. My consumption of an excessive amount of Caramello Koalas is shouting at me. But who doesn’t love a Caramello? It’s a sacrifice I am willing to make.

Oh, you ask why do I make this sacrifice? Simply, it works for me. Sure, if I just sat in my bedroom eating Caramello’s all day not doing a thing, my health would deteriorate. The key is to do it in moderation. I think it should go without saying. We are all mature here. Don’t go buying 27 family bags of Caramello Koala’s and isolate yourself in your bedroom. Rather, if I read a chapter of my textbook, I reward myself with a Caramello.

If this method works for me, what method works for you? Is it pounding the pavement running 10km a day, or 50km a day? Is it drawing funny pictures after you too have completed a chapter in your textbook? Is it writing wacky opinion pieces like this one? Whatever it may be, use it to your advantage. It is your unique way of dealing with stress during exam time. So, what would happen if you ignored the advice of this wacky opinion piece?

Well, simply, the marker will be able to smell the stress and fear on your exam booklet. Don’t let them smell fear, make them smell confidence. In my case, the confidence will reek of Caramello’s. I’m hoping to take the exam marker to Caramello heaven, if such a place exists? Therefore, how does one approach the exam period with as minimal stress as possible? Well, that is up to you and your unique way of dealing with stress. Only one thing is common between you and me, I too want to pass my exams with minimal stress.

Lachlan Speak

Fellow Deakin Law Student