I am in the middle of my exam period of the first semester of my first year in the study of dentistry. I have been pondering on how to study without stress and maintain a healthy lifestyle, just like in the days when I do not have exams going on.
I always keep caring for myself during the exam period at University; it does not make any sense to me to stop with everything I am normally doing and only focus on studying and eating TV dinners as I see many of my fellow students do.
I make sure I have enough food to nourish my body, I still cook meals every day, I make sure I wash my clothes, go for a walk to clear my head and keep my body fit, and in the evenings I do not study so as to have some quiet time to spend with myself.
So I thought I was taking care of myself pretty well, and I was, but there was something that didn’t feel quite as smooth in my life around exam times as it had when I wasn’t studying for my exams, and that was the stress.
The day before my first dentistry exam my stomach started to ache and I felt tense in my back as well as an overall feeling of stress and anxiety. I noticed a thought of “I only have to sit this stress pain out until tomorrow, after my exam.” This made me stop as this did not make sense to me anymore. Why was I accepting stress as normal and something to sit out? And why couldn’t I study without stress?
“Time to look into this a little deeper”, I thought. How could I still feel so much stress in my body whilst I was studying – all the while knowing it was not necessary and healthy?
- Could it be that I actually enjoyed the excitement and stress of study as a form of thrill?
- Could it be that I liked doing exams only because I could get noticed for having great test results? And to get these outstanding results I had to go all crazy on studying?
- Could it be that I felt good if I could answer as much as possible to make me feel smart? And to be recognised by the professor? And it would be even better when I said at the beginning of the exam: “Oh, I am not sure I can do it” and then get the highest results of the class… (it sounds quite desperate, I know).
- And… could it be that it was a distraction from living a simple and joyful life whilst studying?
I realised I still had quite an investment in getting excellent university exam results. Under my indifferent attitude there was still an arrogance of being able to study better than anybody else and a need to be recognised/rewarded for that by good results.
I wondered why I had this need to be recognised by the professor and fellow University students. I remember that I learned to study like this at secondary school. As I was a bit shy, quiet and did not say very much at school, the only way I could get recognition and attention from the teacher was to be very good at school.
I have learned in the last couple of years, with the support of the workshops, presentations and courses held by Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, that there is so much more to me, that there is a beauty inside me and that I deserve to be myself and bring that beauty to the world. With that I feel I do not need the recognition and approval anymore, and that all I truly want is love – from myself, for myself and from others. Love for who I am, not what I do or the great marks or exam results I could get.
I could feel that I do not need the teacher’s approval anymore as I did when I was young and did not know any better than doing it that way.
Another thing that I realised was that I am wanting to study to become a dentist to serve humanity; to bring my care, attention, love and eye for detail to the people I am going to treat in my profession (and enjoy this process.) And with that, yes, I have to study and do exams, but they are just part of the system we have created to teach people to be a dentist. No big deal, not to get excited, frustrated or stressed about, but just a part of the program that I have to do.
I became aware of the fact that getting all stressed about the exams is just a distraction from actually doing what needs to be done… to study in this case.
After realising all of that it was easier to study, and without stress. I just did what needed to be done: studying, doing the exam (and being present with myself during the exam) and around that, caring for myself as I always do.
The very cool thing was that when my second dentistry exam came around, the day before I did not have cramps in my stomach or tension in my back and didn’t feel stressed when I was studying. Also, after the exam I did not feel tired.
This time I felt vital and ready to go on with the day and to get studying for the next exam. To me this is a miracle! The stress associated with studying always felt like something that came over me, now I know how to make the choices and how to study without stress, yes!
Inspired by Serge Benhayon and the work of Universal Medicine.
By Lieke van Haastrecht, Student Dentistry, Age 23, Ghent, Belgium