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Finals season is always very stressful for college students, but I have found studying for finals particularly challenging as a senior. Not necessarily because my coursework is any more difficult, but because I’m constantly worried about the potential outcome of obtaining a bad grade on an exam or final project. 

For seniors, a failing grade on a final can ruin your target GPA or even prevent you from graduating. Upper-level courses are typically the most difficult to excel in, and most seniors are taking multiple upper-level classes, which means they have a huge workload. 

I find that the worst finals to prepare for have subjective grading, which means you are completely left at the will of the instructor as to what your grade will be. There are many professors who want things a particular way, but unfortunately, they don’t always outline their expectations to their students clearly. 

Most college students have also encountered courses where the tests are extremely difficult, and most of the class is failing at some point in their college career. This may seem awful as an underclassman, but it’s even worse once you’re a senior who wants to graduate because failing could set back your graduation schedule. 

The majority of seniors are stressed about not only their finals but also what they will do once they graduate. It is quite difficult to find a job even outside of a global health crisis, so you can only imagine how much more difficult it is during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Woman sitting on bed with laptop and books
Photo by Windows from Unsplash

People that are graduating have a lot of pressure on them, and the knowledge that one grade could make or break you is a lot to carry. However, seniors need to know that despite all of the stress they’re currently feeling, they are capable of accomplishing anything that they put their mind to. 

Channel all of your stress into determination to study for your exams and create the best final projects you are capable of making. Tell yourself that all of your hard work will pay off and just do your best, that’s all you truly can do.

If even after doing your best work, you don’t get the outcome you desire, don’t allow that to make you doubt yourself. You are still worthy and capable whether you fail the class, get a lower grade than you expect or even end up with an A. 

Graduating a little later than you expected or getting a lower GPA than you’d like to does not mean you can’t be successful in the future. We often feel like we have to abide by the timeline set by society and meet societal expectations when it comes to graduating and grades, but everyone’s journey is different. 

Don’t feel obligated to replicate anyone else’s journey because we each have our own individual path. Just take things a day at a time and do what you can, and things will fall into place as they’re meant to. 

This is the advice I’m telling myself as a senior, and I hope this advice resonates with any other seniors as well. You can do this, don’t let the potential possibility of something negative occurring scare you. Just invest your time and energy into creating the outcome that you want, and think positively. 

Britney Simmons is a senior at Virginia Commonwealth University who is majoring in Mass Communications with a Concentration in Print/Online Journalism. She has loved reading and writing since she was a child, and is an animal lover. She loves to travel whenever possible, and you can usually find her binging some new series or napping.
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