Stress, anxiety, sleep disturbances, mood swings, use of drugs, poor eating habits and much more. These are the side effects of the first “quasi” post-pandemic Maturity exam, at least in format, given the return of the writings. And if, in addition to the obvious increase in difficulty, we add the weight of a three-year period that is certainly not easy (not only from a scholastic point of view), we can well understand how the impact of the exam on the psyche and physique of the candidates is greater. compared to the past. As many as 7 out of 10 graduates, when the final preparation had yet to begin, about a month after the start, they were already experiencing tension and stress. This was reported by a search conducted by the portal Skuola.net together with the team of psychologists and psychotherapists of the National Di.Te. (Technological addictions, GAP, cyberbullying), on a sample of 1,909 girls and boys who in a few days will have to take the state exam.
And, according to what the interviewed students say, it is easy to imagine that things will get worse as the appointment approaches. Over 1 in 2 – 51% – is certain that their physical state will suffer other shocks, in negative ça va sans dire, on the eve of the tests. Many more – 65%, practically 2 out of 3 – who will further worsen the curve of their emotional state. Already today, 71% confess that they are dealing with severe mood swings due to worry about the exam.
More generally, more than 3 out of 5 report negative impressions – such as anxiety, anger, despondency, desire to escape – if they think about the exam. A painting that, in the case of high school students, becomes even more precarious, with anxiety and a desire to escape that monopolize the scene. Positive emotions, on the other hand, are rare commodities: tranquility, a sense of “possibility”, the pleasure of facing trials are all things that affect less than 1 in 10.
Going deeper into the climate maturity, anxiety becomes a companion from which it is almost impossible to separate. Over 4 out of 5 already know that they will have to deal with it: for 34% it will have a very strong role, for 46% it will be quite present. And 72% think that the same anxiety will affect their exam (for 24% “very much”, for 48% “enough”). So, looking forward, more or less the same people (70%) think they will never be ready enough to face the test. With 73% blaming the negative feelings on the outcome of the exam to what they experienced, especially in the school environment, during the pandemic.
But the real problem, focusing on the “state of health” of children, is that all this stressful load often translates into dangerous changes in normal habits or, even worse, in the adoption or intensification of bad habits. Almost 70% are reacting by changing their relationship with food: 37% tend to overeat, 31% too little. While about 1 in 2 – 48% – say that lately they are sleeping much less than usual due to exams.
Even if the behaviors to keep even more under observation are others, those that in some cases could trigger addictions. Because many students – about 2 out of 5 – to ease the tension, admit that they are resorting to various forms of “help” to face the final review in a more efficient way: 38% have increased the use of coffee, 40% say who are smoking more than usual, another 40% who are using drugs and supplements for more physical and mental energy.
Hoping that things don’t add up together, otherwise the situation could be really explosive. Also because there is no shortage of those, about 1 in 3, who instead have increased the consumption of substances that can have a psychotropic effect, such as alcohol or drugs. Finally, speaking of “distractions”, 1 in 2 noted that they had increased the time spent on their smartphone for reasons not related to study needs.