"In the first half of this year, I lost both my grandparents.
The day before my exams begun, my grandfather passed away from heart failure. It really hurt to lose them, so suddenly — my grandfather took care of me since I was young, and had always been very healthy. It was even more painful to see my parents struggling with this loss as well. Sometimes the emotions would come all at once, and would feel very overwhelming. I couldn't focus on preparing for my papers.
I managed to cope by keeping to simple routines. I made sure I slept early, ate regularly, and had everything I needed for the papers in the coming day, just like clockwork. I also tried to envision what the next day would be like, so I wouldn't forget anything I needed. My routines gave me the time and energy to check in on my parents. That helped us to bond and cope together, even in that difficult time.
My experiences have helped me to see that many difficulties we face are ultimately temporary. How we respond to them is an active choice — we can choose to dwell on the negatives and prolong the bad, or we can choose to bravely move forward and make the best of the situation. In that time, I did choose to move forward, and that really helped me to carry on with my exams.
For those who will be taking their exams: I know that many of you might be feeling anxious and worried. But do keep a larger perspective: exams really aren’t the biggest things in life! There’s no need to get panicky. As long as we keep calm and carry on, we'll be okay!"