Reminds them that they’re not alone, and that even if things look bleak now, they might be just about to take a turn for the better.

College entrance exams are serious business in Japan. For one thing, graduating from a prestigious school is extremely helpful in opening doors with the country’s brand-conscious hiring managers. What’s more, failing to get into a school, then taking an extra year to start college, means being a year older than other employment seekers upon graduating, which is often seen as a black mark against job candidates.

As such, test day can be extremely nerve-racking for teens, even before they’re sitting down with the test in front of them. Applicants sit for their exams at the campus of the school they’re hoping to attend, so on test day they have to travel, usually alone, to an unfamiliar place, hoping they don’t get lost along the way.

So every autumn Naruo Station, in Hyogo Prefecture, sees hundreds of teenagers walk stone-faced out its gate on their way to take the entrance exam at nearby Mukogawa Women’s University, hoping to be accepted for the next school year, which starts in spring. This year’s exam fell on November 5, so on that morning the station staff decided to put up a special message at the exit.

The first thing that catches the eye is a trembling schoolgirl, who’s telling herself (in the blue text) “Oh no, this is bad. I always screw up when it really counts.”

That probably had more than a few teens nodding their heads in agreement, but underneath the schoolgirl the sign reminds them that “Everyone is feeling that way right now,” and goes on to offer the encouragement of “We’re praying for your success,” in the upper left corner’s red box.

The main body of the message has even more kind words:

“To everyone taking the entrance exam at Mukogawa Women’s University,

It’s test day. Are you feeling nervous? We imagine you must be. Every year, on this day, we see you all walk by with your faces tight with fear.

We know how you feel. In the spring, we think we’ll see you coming through our gate again, and next time, you’ll be smiling.”

“They’re so thoughtful,” tweeted @haruna37ota, who shared the photo and was moved to tears by the gesture. We’re sure plenty of Mukogawa applicants were moved too, and hopefully it took just enough pressure off them that they could give the test their all.

Source, featured image: Twitter/@haruna37ota