Wigan teen uses YouTube to help fellow students cope with exam stress
A Wigan teenager is using the internet to help thousands of her fellow school pupils cope with the stress of sitting their crucial GCSE exams.
Olivia Greenhalgh, from Orrell, has used her YouTube video channel to talk about the important issue of mental health among young people.
The 15-year-old pupil at St Peter’s Catholic High School has been producing videos since the start of the year but her latest insight into life in the classroom, released just before this year’s GCSE results come out tomorrow, has really struck a chord.
Thousands of secondary school pupils around the world have watched Olivia’s advice for coping with the tribulations of studying and many have messaged her to say how worried they are by exam changes in recent years.
Olivia said: “My recent video is about mental health as a student and the reality of exams.
“There is now a lot more pressure on the GCSEs because of the new number grades. A seven is equivalent to an A and then an eight is A* and nine is better than that.
“A seven, as the third-lowest grade, sounds much worse than an A.
“The video has had around 2,000 comments and lots of them are saying they are in the younger years at secondary school and already feel stressed about GCSEs.
“I tell them that it is important but not worth risking your mental health over and that there is more to someone than the numbers on that piece of paper.
“I can’t really believe it has taken off as big as it has. It’s incredible. People are looking for somebody they can relate to. There’s now a big community on YouTube supporting each other.
“In the video I tell people that if they are struggling to cope with it all they need to find ways to switch off completely and they also need to speak to teachers at school.
“I do think schools need to talk about mental health more. They realise students are stressed but there is a lot of focus on year 11 and I’ve got pupils in year seven, eight and nine commenting on my videos worrying about GCSEs.
“Students need to be going into year 11 with a good mindset.”
Olivia said she found school life stressful at one point but is no longer worried thanks to meeting so many supportive youngsters online.
Olivia’s videos also contain guidance about work and studying and she also filmed a mock exam week.
A talented singer and dancer, she hopes to study musical theatre at college and degree level after sitting GCSEs next year with her ultimate ambition being to star in the West End.
Charity Childline, meanwhile, says young people worried about their GCSE grades should get in touch on 0800 11 11. A 15 per cent spike in calls was reported last year.
You can access Olivia's YouTube channel here