in which we discuss the pressure to perform

As an English student, essay season always finds me suffering from stomach discomfort. There is the sinking panic right before I hand in an essay, and the queasy nausea right before I get back an essay. I’m pretty sure we all know these sensations too well. The fear of not having met the number grade expectations you've set for yourself, or bureaucratically required of you... The university environment can be tough. We are all familiar with the study grind, the seemingly lost cause of staying on top of our work, and the collective experience of late nights and cram sessions at various locations all over campus. Coupled with the anxiety that peaks every time midterms or essays or finals come around, it is remarkably easy to lose motivation and interest in the learning we have come for. In a setting where achievement is so heavily emphasized, how are we to deal with the pressure to perform? Firstly, remember that a GPA is not an indicator of your abilities. IMG_8962

deep truth we should all internalize.

We each possess a different combination of skills and talents, and these are not all quantifiable in the same way.Extra-curricular involvement showed me a whole set of skills I did not know I possessed that marks would not have highlighted. Recognize your strengths and your weaknesses. A healthy dose of self-knowledge helps combat the self-doubt in times of high pressure. Practically speaking though…our GPAs do impact us in school. So what then?  Keep sight of your greater trajectory of learning. IMG_8965

the stairway of learning....sometimes takes me back into bed.

Learning takes time. Learning takes effort. Learning takes practice. Building on past effort is much more important and practical than any isolated attempt at success. Every year, my only game plan is to raise my marks per essay, per class with each try. If I successfully do that, I've learned a little more. I read the comments of each essay I get back, take note of what is being critiqued, and carry that with me into all the other essays I write after that. Each class requires slight adjustments, and so does each term, each year. Taking a more holistic look at your overall academic achievement helps you be more pragmatic and clear about setting personal goals. Set those goals.


start simple. don't be too ambitious.

  • Write goals down on post-its.
  • Remind yourself of said goals.
  • Attempt those goals.
  • Celebrate successes.
  • Throw get-over-failure parties.
  • Consult others for help: Professors, T.A.s, Alumni, Peers, Writing Centers, Libraries.
Through the process of goal-setting and goal-attempting, I guarantee that you will learn something. You may learn how to approach academia better, how skilled exactly you are at procrastination, how much you can cram into an hour, or just how hard some things are for you. Whatever it is, you will be in a better place for having tried, than not having tried at all. Lastly, wake up every day, look yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you are awesome….and that in a few weeks it will be Christmas break. IMG_8964

um guys i have no fingers... some help here?

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