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The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UIC chapter.

I recently have been undergoing stress from balancing my academics, extracurriculars, and personal life. Sometimes, it is hard to see life from an optimistic perspective. Even though I know how blessed I am, it is hard to be positive. 

During midterms, we face a lot of pressure to maintain our academic performance. However, sometimes we lose sight of the purpose of our education. The chance to pursue an education is an opportunity for mental, emotional, and social enrichment. The idea of being the perfect student is impossible for anyone to fulfill. One extreme example of this is imposter syndrome, which causes immense self-doubt and personal incompetence despite your achievements. Imposter syndrome is one source of stress and insecurity, as no matter how successful you become, you continue to doubt yourself.

Insecurity around your academics or career could also be due to your environment or your upbringing. Maybe your parents were never really supportive of your dreams. Maybe your family got into the habit of comparing you to others. Or they never celebrated your milestones. Or possibly they never told you they were proud of you. Maybe you grew up as a gifted student at your old school, but you struggled since you got to college. So, you constantly look to others for validation of your accomplishments. You compare yourself to your classmates and peers to rank where you stand in the class. Whenever you fail, it reflects on yourself, your intellect, and most of all, your character. When you exhibit this behavior, it could be a sign that you feel you are unsuccessful. Unfortunately, when you seek affirmation from academics or career, you will never find satisfaction. 

To recognize accomplishments, we need to address them by acknowledging we have achieved a goal. When you aim high, sometimes you can forget to celebrate the little things. In your education, every assignment, paper, quiz, or exam passed is a victory. We have to recognize that we made it through the day. Sometimes to receive self-satisfaction in our career, we have to unlearn our definition of success. I urge you to remind yourself that you are intelligent, ambitious, successful, and you are VALUABLE. The purpose of the grade is to score the progress of a student in a class. However, the report card and the GPA does not entirely reflect you as a student. 

When I accomplish something, such as completing an assignment, I check it off my to-do list. The mere feeling of checking things off my to-do list helps me feel less overwhelmed. But, you will realize that as you accomplish anything, you need to allow yourself to relish in the satisfaction of the achievement. It means more than checking it off your list. You have to make an effort to reward yourself for accomplishing something, big or small. Rewards will motivate you as you have incentives to accomplish your goals, but they will also remind you that you have achieved something. Far too often, we finish something, and we are already on to the next thing. Soon enough, we find that as soon as we do complete one action, there are at least five more things left to do. We have a paper in one class, a quiz in another, and then an exam all in a week. We have to remind ourselves that as long we are on track, we will succeed. When we carve out time for our peace, we prioritize our mental health and rest. So, go ahead, order some food for yourself. Take a nap. Have a night out with your friends if you have the time. Set an amount of time for you to study, and when you finish, take a break. 

I hope this article gives you some support during this semester. The purpose of this article is to encourage you to make time for yourself. And if you are worried about your grade, do not worry! As my genetics professor would say, “Yes, my children, there is such a thing as REDEMPTION.”

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Hello! My name is Tayo Omoniyi, and I am from Tinley Park, Illinois. I am a 2nd-year student at the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying Biology with a pre-medicine track. My passions are writing, travel and medicine. My ultimate career goal is to become a pediatric doctor. Outside of school, I love spending time with my family and friends. I have two younger sisters.