A Finals Week Pep Talk

Alright, girlfriend, I know exactly how you’re feeling.

You have at LEAST three papers that were due, like, yesterday, you’re brushing dust off of your biology textbook as you open that sucker up for the first time all semester (your brain is just now processing that that was a giant mistake), and if someone so much as looks at you the wrong way, you feel like your head is going to implode.

This sucks. This sucks big time.

And chances are, you’re probably a little bit tired of hearing everyone talk about how much this sucks.

So, as someone who’s done for the semester and is watching the chaos unfold from Twitter, I figured I’d pop in to give you a little bit of a pep talk.

Just a few days ago, I was in your shoes. I had eight papers, a take-home test, and a presentation glaring mockingly at me from my planner (which, I’ve realized, is way too cheerily colored, given the grim news that it always seems to hold). I didn’t know how I was going to make it through one paragraph of an essay, yet alone one hundred pages. Naturally, I opened my planner and closed it again, did that about seven times, spent six hours falling into the YouTube black hole, set a new personal record on every single game on my phone, took at least two naps a day, and allowed myself to get unreasonably stressed.

#JustCollegeThings!

My procrastination, I soon realized, was making me feel significantly worse. But I just couldn’t seem to bring myself to do anything more than set up my papers in MLA format. Heck, I was considering that to be a giant accomplishment. And I hadn’t even actually done anything.

Then, I did the thing. You know the thing. The thing that you know you should do, but that you get super agitated when someone tells you that you should do it. The thing that is far easier said than done, but the thing that eventually has to be done.

I wrote the first paragraph of my first paper.

And just like that, I had entered ~the zone~.

My thoughts were flowing, my energy was cycling, and my hands were typing at least 100 words per minute. It felt so, so good.

With each task that I accomplished, I felt myself feeling more and more prepared (and actually excited?) to tackle the next one. The best thing that you can do to get yourself to the finish is just take that first step.

This intense focus looks different for everyone, but I guarantee you won’t be able to find it with your phone on the desk. Leave it in your room and hit the library, Starbucks, or your favorite study spot. Every couple of hours, switch locations so that you don’t fall into a fog. Make a detailed list and cross things off, paragraph by paragraph, slide by slide, small step by small step. Really relish in those tiny victories, and give yourself the space to make them.

Truth be told, you are more prepared for all of this than you think. Every exam, paper, and presentation that you’ve given up to this point has been a drop in your giant bucket of preparedness (it’s finals, give my metaphors a break).

And at the end of the day, even if you’re not prepared, remember this above all else: you are more than your grades, and college is more than your grades. Yes, ultimately you’re here to learn, and you’re probably paying a ton to do so. But this is just as much for the experience, the independence, the friendships, and the laughter as it is for the degree. When you start to have the mentality that your grades are not all that you are working for in life, you will finally be relieved of so much pressure and will actually be able to exert even more energy on your studies. You’re not the grade in Blackboard, and neither was your semester. No matter what the outcome of this one week was, you’ve been successful. You’ve learned so much as a human being, and you’ve made so many people’s days brighter. You’re a rockstar.

There’s this wonderful quote that I have taped on my mirror. It says, “Perhaps the fact that we have this dream at all is an indication of its possibility.” I know how badly you want that career, and darling, you’ll get there. There is no grade in the world that can thoroughly impair the power of passion.

I mean, don’t say I told you so, but C’s get degrees, baby.

So stop reading this and just go freaking do stuff.

I know you can, and so do you.