Hi, I’m Hannah and I’m Aaliyah and we are the welfare officers on the VMS committee. Each week we will be discussing matters related to wellbeing and how we can support each other during this difficult process. It doesn’t have to be a stressful time, and our aim is to help each other. We’d love to have your involvement in these discussions, so please feel free to share experiences (this can be done anonymously if you would like to do so). Join us in discussing each week’s topics by sharing your thoughts and questions. The goal of this blog is not to judge others based on their experiences, but to make sure everyone feels valued so please be respectful of people’s opinions even if they are different from your own. We’ll be discussing a new topic each week and answering the most common questions during the weekly Virtual Medical Society Meetings, as well as in the comments section below. We’d love the main body of this blog to be a discussion, therefore, we have included a short intro to this week’s topic to be used as guidance. However, we want the conversation to be led by you because it’s your Virtual Medical Society after all!

If you have any suggestions of topics, you’d like covered in the future then please let us know in the comments too!  

This week we will be discussing- A-level and Higher stress

Hands up if A-levels are easy? Says no-one, ever. We both definitely agree with this having gone through the whole year 12 experience, we understand that this can be incredibly stressful.  But it doesn’t have to be. This week we will be discussing stress and coping mechanisms.  We understand that lockdown hasn’t made this process any easier and the lack of support and extra work form teachers certainly contributes to the stress we all feel.  Please comment on any experiences or worries that you wish to share, no matter how small you think they are. Again, this can be done by posting anonymously below. Here are some of our top tips for dealing with stress, but feel free to share your tips too!

Our top tips:

1. Know when to ask for help- whether it be a friend, teacher or any of the committee members (like us) please do talk about it. We’ve gone through the same thing and no one is immune to stress and we’ve all felt overwhelmed at some point no matter how much we may seem under control of everything.

2. Take time for yourself- find something you enjoy and make time for it we’re not saying don’t do work but make time for the things you enjoy. For example, we enjoy reading, going for a walk and watching Brooklyn 99; it’s the small things now, like appreciating the time that we have (well the time that teachers give us anyway)!

3. Keep organised- this one is for the younger members out there: learn how prioritise and stay on top of work. Remember to keep going back to subjects you find difficult. Just to add in a warning; make sure you do work little and often at the start of year 12 or S5, because we all let work pile up without realising and that did not go well for anyone, so please year 11s and S4s stay on top of work next year. Just to highlight that this doesn’t mean work constantly- just prioritise your time well.

Over the past few weeks we’ve seen lots of messages from year 11s and S4s wondering if they should start A-level/Highers work now. This is your time to relax and take a break. Enjoy your time off, this is an opportunity to spend time with your family. ‘Burn out’ is as real for us as it is for healthcare professionals.  Take your wellbeing seriously.  If you need a break, you need a break!

If your school has asked you to do work, of course do it, but remember to take time for yourself too, doing something that you enjoy. There is plenty of time for A-Levels and Highers next year so there is no need to worry about them now.

Disclaimer- we are not experts but we try our best 😊