The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
In college, final exams have high stakes and can feel like the end-all-be-all. Though exams are definitely important and you should care about them to a certain extent, they aren’t everything. As a perfectionist myself, I often fall into the trap of defining myself by my grades, which can make finals even more daunting. Here are some tips and reminders for perfectionists as you enter finals season!
- You are not your grades.
It’s easy to define yourself by your grades, especially if you have a history of thriving off of academic validation. But it is essential to remember that you are more than letters on a transcript. You are a dynamic and complex human being with talents and interests outside of academics.
- No matter how you do, you will still be the same person.
Whether you ace or flunk your finals, you will still be you. Your value as a human being doesn’t change based on your grades. You aren’t a better person if you get an A, and you’re not a worse person if you get an F. All that matters is that you try your best.
- Try embracing grade neutrality.
Don’t let your grades impact your self image in a negative or positive way. Of course it’s okay to be proud of yourself if you do well and to be disappointed if you don’t do as well as you hoped, but try not to let those emotions take control. It’s important to value yourself as a whole person and not rely on grades for validation.
- Tests are stupid.
Some people are naturally great at taking tests, and others suffer from extreme anxiety and struggle. Tests are almost never a good indication of your knowledge and ability, and that isn’t your fault.
- Sleep might be more valuable than studying.
Cramming the night before a final won’t improve your performance. Prioritizing sleep is much more important than studying the night before a test. Try to study regularly leading up to your test so that you can get a nourishing night’s rest before the big day.
- Your mental health is important.
No matter how important a test or project may be, you should never prioritize it over your mental health and sanity. Balance studying with intentional moments of self care. Try setting a timer for 30 minutes to an hour and focus on studying. Then, set another timer for 20-30 minutes and do something that you enjoy. This could be journaling, playing an instrument, doing a face mask, taking a yoga stretch break, anything that nourishes your mind and soul.
- Comparison gets you nowhere.
Comparison is the thief of joy in every part of life, but it is especially true when it comes to academic comparison. Don’t compare your grade to your friends or classmates. Whatever other people get doesn’t change your own grade. Extenuating circumstances also impact your own academic performance, and any comparison you make lacks context, and therefore isn’t relevant.
- It’s impossible to be good at everything.
You aren’t going to enjoy every class you take, nor be good at every class you take, but that is more than okay. You have strengths and areas where you excel, but you also have weaknesses and points for growth; we all do. Don’t kill yourself over getting an A in a class that you have no interest in or really struggle with. It isn’t worth it.
No matter what happens with your finals, you will be okay. Remember to honor your needs and value yourself holistically. Best of luck! You got this!