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Mental Health

Little Reminders to Carry You Through the Semester

First-semester finals are a crazy time. The three weeks between Thanksgiving and winter break are full of happy holiday excitement and crazy school schedules as teachers wrap up classes for the year. The most wonderful time of the year is paired up with a college student’s nightmare, creating a uniquely stressful few weeks for many students. To keep those cortisol levels in check and protect our sanity, it is especially important to look out for our mental health. As we enter into a crazy, busy, stressful but wonderful season, keep these little affirmations in mind. Repeat them to yourself as many times as you need to, and remember—everything will be alright.

I can do hard things.

Finals can be hard. Studying while enjoying the season can be hard. A lot of things about the weeks between Thanksgiving and Christmas can be hard. The point is, you can do hard things. You’ve taken hard tests before and passed. You’ve filled your days with too many commitments and turned out fine. You’ve probably succeeded in plenty of things harder than what you’re about to try, which in no way discredits any struggles you may be going through. It simply means that you are entirely capable of doing hard things.

One day at a time.

This time of year can be really overwhelming. Looking at every task you have for the week can be so daunting that it keeps you from getting anything done. Take each day one at a time, and focus on your immediate tasks at hand. And be proud of yourself at the end of each day—you’re one step closer to break!

I am more than my grades.

When your primary identity is you as a student, it is easy to think that grades are the most important metric of your success as a person. It doesn’t get any easier if you’re surrounded by friends and classmates who radiate that same energy in stressing over classes. Remember that your grades do not measure how good of a friend you are or the success you’ve had in leading a club. They don’t show the emotional growth you’ve achieved and are still going through, or your dedication to every project you start, or the delicious chili you make when your roommate has a bad day. They don’t define how successful you will be in the future, and they most definitely don’t measure your worth as a human.

I am on a good track.

Notice how I didn’t say the right track? There is no one right track, and if we spend our entire lives trying to find it, we’ll burn ourselves out before we find what we’re looking for. Are you taking challenging but doable classes that are preparing you for a job that will let you live a happy life? Sounds like you’re on a perfectly fine track. Keep up the good work!


Did you just anxiously scroll through this article in a few seconds to glimpse the bolded ideas without pausing to think because you only have about four seconds to spare and should really get back to studying? No judgment—I probably would too. If you take away one thing, it’s to take a deep breath and be kind to yourself. Get some sleep, study smart, take some breaks and crush those exams. We’re almost there—you’ve got this.

A thrifting enthusiast studying Civil Engineering and Environmental Science at Saint Louis University. You can find her running, reading, cooking, and probably running again when the sun comes out.
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