I don’t enjoy saying it, but the spooky season has ended. It’s time to begrudgingly pack up your fake skeletons, get rid of your carved pumpkins, and try to ignore the sleigh bells ringing in the distance. On the bright side, with the ending of October comes the (undoubtedly drawn-out) ending of the midterm season. This midterm season has been particularly trying for me. Not only have I struggled to keep my grades up, but I have been anxiously contemplating my future. Luckily, I’ve found a few things that have made and continue to make this stressful time more endurable.
Firstly, I’ve started to plan “nothing” days. In my perusal of wellness and productivity posts on social media, I often come across the idea that you should have “no ‘nothing’ days.” This means that no matter how unproductive you are on any given day, you should at least do a small task so you can’t say you did nothing with your day. Personally, this idea brings intense guilt. If there is a day when I can’t bring myself to do anything, the “no ‘nothing’ days” mindset makes me feel even worse. Instead of ignoring the fact that I can’t be an academic weapon 24/7, I’ve decided to consider my responsibilities and strategically plan “nothing” days where it won’t hurt if I do nothing school-related.
On top of my planned “nothing” days, I’ve started to let go of my high standards. Lately, I’ve noticed that I stress way too much about school. Although it is important to keep my grades up, it is not worth the deterioration of my mental health to constantly worry about getting straight A’s. Upon realizing that it’s okay to be academically imperfect, I felt a great weight fall off my shoulders. Don’t get me wrong, I will still try my best, but I refuse to let my academic performance dictate my happiness. As my gram says, “Do your best and forget the rest.”
To me, the hardest part of the midterm season isn’t the difficulty of the work but the amount of work I have to do. To make it worse, I often struggle to ask for help. I would rather stay up all night doing a task rather than ask for an extension or help. Recently, I forced myself to reach out and ask for help when my workload felt unbearable. I was joyfully assisted, which reminded me that it isn’t so bad to reach out when I’m struggling.
As I mentioned before, I’ve been dealing with uncertainty during this midterm season. Throughout my degree, I have questioned if what I’m studying is right for me. To find some direction, I’ve sat down to research and plan my future. While doing so, I’ve reminded myself that it is okay to forget my initial plans, as my happiness should guide my education and career choices at this time in my life. My research and planning have brought me comfort and inspiration while facing university’s difficulties.
In all, I plan to carry my mindset and techniques into the final exam season for comfort, health, and happiness.