An Open Letter to My Former Academic Self

Hey you/me,

I'm going to start off by saying that I'm writing this letter as a tool for procrastinating a different assignment, which will probably come as no surprise considering my typical work habits include finishing an assignment that could take an hour in three hours, unless I left it to the last minute and then I could probably finish it in 20 minutes. I felt like it was really important to write this letter because this semester has not been going so well academically, but I hope you can come to accept that it is not the end of the world and you will be okay.

Yes, I know that academics have always been your thing. In high school you did all that you could to get a 90 on an assignment (though looking back on high school, it was never that difficult) and it was a crushing defeat to get anything lower than an 80. Your friends were for the most part academically driven and just like you, shared very similar post secondary aspirations. One of the best feelings was getting the email from the university seeing just how much your entrance scholarship was. All of your hard work, long nights, procrastination and dedication was recognized. Even in university your grades were good, even with the major learning curve that being in post secondary education throws at you. After adjusting to spread out class times, establishing a somewhat structured study routine and locating the best study spot on campus, you discovered it was actually possible to do well in school, unlike what your high school teachers constantly told you.

But then, it happened. You get that first disaster of a grade back on a paper. The test you seriously studied for comes back with a much lower mark than you anticipated. You start desperately calculating your average in a vain attempt to reassure yourself things will be okay and your precious scholarship isn't at risk of being taken from you. Maybe you only get one grade back or maybe one semester it just seems like a constant flood of poor test scores, essays covered in red ink and a never ending feeling of shame. I know that at the moment you're seriously questioning your identity as things feel like they're falling apart but I promise you that this isn't the end of the world so stop looking at careers best suited for college drop outs.

University is incredibly challenging academically. This is a place where you grow and your skills are constantly being reformed. You are still a smart person but you have to adjust. Maybe your high school writing styles aren't going to cut it anymore. Start looking into tutoring sessions offered by your student association, meet with an academic advisor or plan study dates with your friends instead of hitting up the on campus bar. Start using a planner and organize all of your assignments or readings into small chunks that can be accomplished early. The most important thing to remember through all of this is: your grades do not reflect your value or worth as a person. Do not let a bad grade or two destroy your mental health. You will overcome whatever challenges you are faced with because you are a resilient person. Also, please do not sacrifice your health (mental or physical) just for a couple of grade points. Get some sleep. Eat healthy foods. For the love of all things good in this world, PLEASE self care.

You might be looking at exams coming up and your unfinished assignments or missed readings might seem like mountains. I can promise you though that you will make it through this semester and you will be okay. Once this semester is over those mountains will barely seem like mole hills. I believe in you. Now go hit those books.

Love always,



Picture Credits: Cover Picture