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The Obsession with Making an “Academic Comeback”

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

According to Urban Dictionary, an academic comeback refers to when a student freeloads for the majority of the semester until they suddenly make amazing grades that save their GPA just before the semester ends. 

Why is there this obsession with making an academic comeback? 

I’m not going to lie and say that I’ve never wanted to make an academic comeback. Actually, I say that I’m planning on making an academic comeback every single semester. While it may come off as delusional because it almost never works, a part of me wants to believe it every time.  

Academic validation is the core of this obsession. This can manifest itself in several ways, such as only wanting to attend the most prestigious and rigorous university, or being mentally destroyed for days when you receive an average grade in a supposedly easy course. 

From the minute I entered the education system, I knew that my education would be the most important part of my life. Especially as the eldest daughter of immigrant parents, it was drilled into my brain that I was not just succeeding for myself but for my family as well. Now, I am a first-generation college student at an elite university in Boston. It is nearly impossible to ignore the academic pressure that consumes me.

Labeling an academically obsessed person as being “driven” and “dedicated” downplays the effect that it has on one’s mental health. In addition, with the rise of social media and the concept of “hustle culture,” it has become almost admirable to be constantly stressed out. 

The need for an academic comeback is almost always because of burnout. Overcome with emotional exhaustion and pessimism in the middle of the semester, I slack off and so do my grades. I then become entranced by the idea that I’ll somehow make an academic comeback, decide to work myself to death, and am ultimately disappointed by the results. 

It is crucial, especially as college students, to shift our preconceived notions about education and success. It is not to say that academics are unimportant, but letting go of that tunnel vision will ultimately benefit your academic journey.

The competitive nature of college is already stressful enough; We don’t need to put more pressure on ourselves by obsessing over an “academic comeback”.

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