Finding Peace in Imperfection

It’s exam season, and with that comes a whole lot of stress, lack of sleep, questionable eating habits and more. At this time of the year, it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the piles of work you need to finish while forgetting to take a breather and relax. In first year I spent so much time worrying about my exams and my marks that my grades actually suffered due to my stress. In today’s age, I feel as though there’s so much pressure to achieve constantly in everything that you do and you’re expected to do the absolute most during your time here at university. From stressing over getting a 4.0 GPA, to being involved in school clubs, to having a social life– all while trying to take care of yourself– is a lot for young people to have on their plate, and often, one of those areas will falter slightly.

I have personally struggled with the anxiety that comes with being a university student and the pressure to achieve the standards that I feel are set for me. As I’ve grown a little older, I’ve begun to recognize these immense pressures set for us but realized that it’s okay not to be perfect all the time. We as young people are so rushed to complete our degree in four years and immediately begin working, even somewhere that we may eventually end up for the rest of our lives. I’ve discovered that it’s more than okay to do things at your own pace, to take a fifth year without feeling like a failure, or to take a year off and travel or work if it’ll benefit your well-being. There’s nothing wrong with taking time for yourself instead of staying awake for that extra hour to cram. Failing one test doesn’t make you a failure and it doesn’t define you. It can be so easy to beat yourself up over the smallest things that, in the future, really won’t matter much.

During this extremely stressful time, I think it’s okay to be a little bit selfish. Take a minute to breathe and remind yourself that eventually, you’ll finish the tasks that you have set out for yourself and that it’s perfectly okay not to be perfect all the time. Do something that you really enjoy, like reading a book, going for a walk, or watching a movie with your friends; you’d be surprised how helpful this can be during a time when it feels like the only thing on your mind is getting an A. Being at your best means taking care of yourself and putting yourself first sometimes, which, in the grand scheme of things, is really the most important thing of all. Know that no one is perfect (even though sometimes it feels like it) and that it’s totally okay if you’re not always perfect too.