Experts helps students deal with school stress

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Guidance: High school student Brooke Staunton gets some handy hints from career consultant Melissa Johnston. Picture: Chris Lane

THIS time of year can be stressful for year 10 students preparing for HSC subject selection or year 12 students about to start HSC trial exams.

Sutherland-based career expert and psychologist Suzie Plush said maintaining a healthy school/life balance was crucial in keeping stress levels down.

“We hear that a lot of students feel very overwhelmed and feel immense pressure when it comes to the HSC and getting the marks they need,” she said.

“When you are stressed you can throw out your body’s natural balance and that can lead to illness and mental health issues.”

Ms Plush offered practical advice to students preparing for exams.

“It is really important to make sure you are eating well and exercising, as well as limiting your sugar and caffeine intake,” Ms Plush said.

“Taking some time out to have some fun and see your friends is also important.”

When it comes to gearing up for upcoming HSC trial exams, De La Salle College Cronulla year 12 student Brooke Staunton said a study plan was crucial for managing stress.

“I like to make lists of everything I need to do to get things off my mind so I can get through the day,” she said.

“I’ll exercise if I need to and it’s important to make realistic goals when it comes to studying.”

She turned to career consultant Melissa Johnston to set her on to the right path.

“In our career consulting sessions we look at the students’ personality traits and determine what type of jobs would suit their personality and interests,” Ms Johnston said.

“We talk about what marks the student should aim for and the courses they should do as well as advising students on what universities they should be applying for.”

Parents are also under strain at exam time and Ms Plush has tips to help them maintain a stress-free household.

“I think it’s about checking in with your kids and seeing if they need any support,” she said.

“It’s important just to be there for them and build a really good, strong relationship with your adolescent and help them through a very stressful period.”

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