I’m sure that I’m not the only one who’s wanted to pull her hair out by the roots these past few weeks. Between ten-page essays, culminating group projects, and final responsibilities, I’m stressed beyond all limits. There’s no doubt that many of you are just as frazzled, so here are some words of encouragement and consolation that you may need to hear before you drown in textbooks and tears.
1. It’s just a test.
Yes, it may be an important test. Yes, it may be worth a thousand and three points. Yes, it may be the difference between graduating in a couple weeks or graduating in December. But, it’s still just a test. There is no reason why you should be crying over a Scantron, especially before you’ve even taken it. By all means, strive for an A, unless those means are selling your soul to the Devil or promising your first-born to the witch next door.
2. Your health and sanity come first, always.
Under no circumstances will a grade ever be more important than you and your well-being. You shouldn’t be running on three hours’ sleep or wearing the same socks for five days because you’re studying every waking minute. If you’re writing your hundred-page essay at 4:43 A.M. and your hands have been shaking for an hour and a half, go to bed. Sure, you may get a less-than-satisfactory grade, but you’ll be a functioning human being instead of a coffee-fueled zombie. If the Java City barista knows your order before you even walk through the door, lay off the caffeine and opt for a gallon of water and a nap. You’ll be glad you did.
3. Do not burn yourself out.
We’ve all heard that studying in increments is more effective than cramming in long blocks. (Don’t worry, I’m guilty of cramming, too.) I’m not talking about breaks between chapters, though. I’m talking about taking some time to step away from the textbooks and binders. Make yourself a cup of tea, take a shower (or a bath!), pet your cat, call your mom, take a nap, go for a quick run, eat a cookie. Do anything! There are 1,440 minutes in a day. Take twenty of them for yourself.
4. “The sun will come out tomorrow…”
So, your World Politics final didn’t go as smoothly as you wanted it to. Is it the end of the world? Of course not! Tomorrow is a new day to show planet Earth what you’re capable of. Just because you stumbled one day doesn’t mean you don’t get the chance to shine the next day. What’s important is that you do your best. As long as you give it your all, things will work out. So, get back out there, sunshine! We’re waiting for you to wow us.
5. Your grades do not define you.
Someone who earns straight As is not worth any more than someone who has collected the whole letter grade set. We all learn in different ways, and something that works for one person doesn’t necessarily work for someone else. No one can expect you to excel at everything. You’re not a robot! We have different strengths and weaknesses. It’s part of being human (if you’re not human, congratulations on getting into college! Welcome to higher education). Above all, one bad grade will not destroy you, nor will it ruin your entire life. I promise.
If you’re graduating, congratulations! I hope you get everything you want in life. If you’re starting an internship, congratulations! I hope you gain some great experience and make some important connections. If you’re going home to relax, congratulations! You survived finals week!