If someone told you not to worry about your grades, you’d probably roll your eyes, flash a cheeky smile, then sadly get back to your pile of papers, trying to push down the gripping anxiety pushing on your ribcage.
You might pour another cup of coffee. Joke to a friend about how it’s your “blood,” or “essential to your functioning.” Or perhaps it’s simply a coping mechanism at this point. You’ll drink it regardless. It won’t do much to quell the wave of drowsiness hitting behind the eyelids, but it’ll kickstart your pulse and send your nerve endings into overdrive.
You might joke about how you’re totally going to fail this exam. You’ve got five assignments due this week, three exams next week, and no money to boot. Your friend flashes you a reproachful look, then confirms a similar situation. It almost becomes a competition: the person who’s the most f*cked wins.
You might comment about how your parents will “kill you” if you fail. Your friends laugh in agreement, and you smile, but it’s false. That feeling grips your chest again; an elastic band around your heart, squeezing and squeezing and squeezing.
You might decide that sleep is optional. It doesn’t matter if the information’s going in or not. The computer screen scalds your eyelids. Each word is blurrier than the next. You can’t remember what they say, but you can remember how you felt when you read them.
You might sit outside your exam, clutching piles of papers in the hope they’ll contain some new enlightening information. You’ll feel the dread spreading like venom through each vein in your body.
You might feel red hot rage at the words you’ve written. They’re not good enough; they’re too simple, too flowery, too detailed, too short. You’ll hand it in. Your legs will feel light as you walk. You’ll berate yourself afterwards.
You’ll contemplate if all this is worth it: the late nights, the bloodshot eyes, the hives, the dread, the elastic band, the pressure, the jitters.
It’s not worth it.
Don’t let fear of failure jeopardize your health and your life. Your grades are not worth it.
Take care of yourself this exam season.