Luana ALEXACounselor at the Career Counseling and Guidance Center (CCOC) of the UVT
If you are preparing to become a student, you are most likely already thinking about what this stage of your life will look like, what you will learn, what your new colleagues and teachers will be like. These thoughts can excite you, on the one hand, given the fact that you will soon start on a new path of your life, but, on the other hand, they can worry you. And these worries can take the form of questions such as: Will I cope? What will the session look like? Will I be able to take my exams? Will I integrate? Will I have colleagues to get along with? How severe will the teachers be?
Well, first of all I would like you to know that these worries are perfectly normal. Most of the time, when we are put in new situations, we become agitated. Think about how many emotions you felt on the first day of school, at the time of the first kiss or how much you are stressed or stressed by the idea of the baccalaureate. Do you know why this is normal? From an evolutionary point of view, if thousands of years ago we had not raised the issue of the existence of a dangerous animal in an unknown place, not yet explored by us, we would not have taken the necessary protection measures and probably would not have survived as a species. However, at the moment, we know that no matter how threatening an exam may seem, our lives are not in danger. But while we are aware of this rationally, torturous worries can still arise. What can we do in this situation?
First, let's not deny that we feel a certain way. It's like telling you right now NOT to think of a pink elephant with big ears 😊. Did you really manage not to imagine that elephant? And this applies to all emotions, not just anxiety1.
Secondly, aware of how we feel, we must access one of the most powerful "magnifying glass weapons" - trust. Confidence in oneself and in others. Maybe you have already experienced the feeling of security given by the confidence that you can cope with a situation.
How can you increase this self-confidence? A useful exercise would be to write down the moments when you did very well (for example tests, theses, etc.). Unfortunately, we often tend to focus our minds on personal failures at the expense of success, which undermines our self-confidence. Next, it is important to keep that list in your mind's pocket and complete it periodically, whether we are talking about high-impact successes (passing the baccalaureate exam well), or whether we are referring to “small successes,” such as completing a set of math exercises on a day when all you wanted was to watch acel captivating serial on Netflix.
Another important aspect is trust in others. Unfortunately, we often hear around us about small evils or horrible things that people do to each other, and the question "How can I trust a stranger?" is a relevant one. By trusting the other, we mean that you can give the person next to you the "presumption of innocence." How can we do that? A first step would be to learn not to take things personally from the first "mistake" of the other, and then try to understand the person's behavior. Maybe a colleague's mischievous remark doesn't really reflect his intention to hurt you, just his inability to tell you the things he appreciates about you. As we often, in turn, when we have a worse day, we behave in an unpleasant way with others and we realize this only later.
Self-confidence is one of our most important resources, with an impact on both personal and professional life. And trust in others can be seen as a gift given to those around us, a gift that makes us happy when we receive it, in our turn.
Finally, please give us some of your confidence when we tell you that although some events are going to happen in your universe, whether we are talking about the baccalaureate exam, admission, completion of studies or the beginning of a new stage of life or of a new cycle of studies, resembles some fierce tigers, ready to "devour" you, self-confidence, sprinkled with proper training, can turn, as if by magic, these tigers into playful kittens 😊.
1The American Psychological Association (APA) defines anxiety as a condition characterized by a feeling of tension, worries and physical changes, such as increased blood pressure. (https://www.apa.org/topics/anxiety)