5 Things People With Anxiety, Including Myself, Need to Hear During Finals

It’s no secret that college is among the more stressful things you’ll do in your life. From exams worth a lot of points to rarely sleeping to juggling all the groups and people in your life, it can definitely get to be a bit too much to handle. Already having anxiety and dealing with the sometimes more than an occasional panic attack, there have definitely been days where I doubted that I was going to get through it. But I’ve made it this far, and you will too. Here are some things that the chronic overthinkers of the world could benefit from, including me:

  1. 1. Your friends don’t hate you

    Although for me this specific issue stems from some pretty terrible experiences in high school, I know that many people are wondering more often than not whether their friends are actually legitimate or if they did something wrong, even with no probable cause — I know I do! Remember that people would not be putting in the effort with you if they did not genuinely enjoy you as a person and being in your presence. Chances are if someone happens to be acting standoffish for whatever reason, you’re the last thing on their mind! It’s so easy to get wrapped up in your own life that you can forget that people have all the same things going on as you — they’re probably just as stressed about life as you are, and worrying, more than likely, about themselves and their own situation.

  2. 2. Your grades don’t define you

    Yes, grades are real, and they are scary. However, in the long run, it’s just a letter on a piece of paper. If you’ve put in the work and effort, you can’t ask for much more! Even if you don’t get exactly the results you want, think about it — is there really a world of difference between your AB and B? Yes, it’s not ideal, but you’re getting the credits and you’re progressing with your degree. Employers will more than likely not even look at your grades. Just as important as your grades, if not more, is getting involved on campus and getting experience relevant to what you may end up doing in your career. Although GPA is something you want to be high, take a step back and a breath — yes, it is frustrating, but it is one semester, and a small difference in one grade will not change anything in the grand scheme of things.

  3. 3. Self-care is allowed

    Picture this — it’s about 10 p.m., and you’re in your fourth hour at the library. Your eyes are drooping, your friends left an hour ago and your coffee is down to the last sip. You think about going home — and, news flash, you can! If you’re super worn down and have already used all your brain power for the night, staying at the library another hour is not doing you any good. A much better option would be to go home, get some sleep and feel refreshed and focused in the morning. Never, ever feel guilty for taking care of yourself — go home, take a shower, do a face mask, pick up a pint of ice cream on the way home, watch an episode (or two, or three…) of Netflix. Your brain needs proper care like everything else, and sometimes spending five straight hours in one spot studying a single subject is not the key.

  4. 4. Focus on your own situation, not anyone else’s

    Sometimes, especially at a school like UW, it’s hard not to look around and feel like everyone is doing everything and ahead of the game. I’ve had those thoughts constantly for the past year! One internship, for example, is not going to make or break your chances of getting a job when you graduate. I had a friend recently tell me that she decided to let the stress of getting an internship go — if she got one, she would, but if she didn’t, it would not be the end of the world. Take a step back and examine where you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you really want and need at the moment — it may be different than some of the people you know! Everyone’s college experience is drastically different, even though that’s easy to forget looking around. Do what’s best for you, even if that’s taking on one or two fewer things than some of the people around you.

  5. 5. Breathe

    It’s more than likely that your chest and stomach are tightening up and you aren’t even aware of it. Remember to take a deep breath, loosen up your stomach, eat three meals a day and give yourself some headspace. (I recommend the Headspace app or the Breathe app on Apple Watch if you have one). Listen to your body and give it the respect that it deserves. Take a break if you need it, clear your head and remember — you will get through this semester!

Saving yourself from burning out is so important, and with how busy you are in college, taking care of your mind and body can easily slip away. Do what you need to to stay healthy, especially during the stressful time that is finals week. Believe in yourself, and no matter what, know that you will come out alive and another semester will be under your belt. Remember—you’re amazing, you’re smart, you’re loved and you got this!