The closer we get to the beginning of May, the harder it gets for me to breathe. Deadlines fill the back of my mind as I scramble to limp to the finish line. Classes are coming to an end as we wrap up the curriculum we will be tested on — a test that will determine our final grade in the class.
I slip in and out of the mentality of basing my self-worth on grades I receive after hours of hard work. The question, “But what if I’m not good enough?” reverberates in my mind like a catchy song on loop.
Toward the end of the semester, my imposter syndrome starts to kick into high gear. I begin to wonder if I’m meant for the life of cut-throat academia. The pit of self-deprecation sinks deeper with each passing deadline and mention of final exams.
Normally, I am a health-focused individual. However, my health goes out of the window during finals season. I’m stress eating more, my only exercise is trudging to the library, caffeinated drinks are my drinking source and I find myself lacking in the hygiene department.
The slicked-back, unwashed bun I wear is definitely not a fashion choice.
Each semester, I question why I constantly put myself under intense pressure. Wrapped up in a toxic cycle of dwelling on the possibility of misfortune, I get trapped in my own head, unable to see the positives of my life.
When I hear my friends complain about school, I realize that I’m not alone in the depressing, hopeless mindset that I force myself into. Hearing their grievances allows me to take a step back, peering above my haze of anxiety.
As if I’m a fly on the wall, watching the exchange between depressed college students, I see myself in everyone that struggles with school. Removing myself from the atmosphere of negativity, I look up to see the sunshine of hope peeking through the clouds.
Taking a step back from the pessimism that I let consume me, I see how I contribute to my own anxiety.
When I hear others talking about how much students are struggling right now, I realize that I am wrapped up in myself, refusing to look at the world around me or the future for hope. I forget that the work that got me this far will carry me further if I maintain the drive to succeed.
I also recognize that I have the privilege of school being my only concern. I am very fortunate for the ability to attend Boston University and pursue my current dream of becoming a journalist. As tough as this school is, BU prepares students for the real world, forcing them out of their comfort zones and turning them into well-rounded individuals who often succeed after graduating.
Attempting to see the positives of the stress-inducing situation, I am reminded that my mental health needs to be my top priority to avoid the burnout that I occasionally stumble upon.
When I feel myself spiraling, I force myself to get up and go on a walk, take a much-needed shower or grab a snack. The little incentives that I give myself after I complete little goals keep me from trapping myself in my own head.
I keep telling myself the stormy season of the semester will pass soon, and I’ll get to rest — not having to think about school for the following three months of summer. When I close my eyes, I escape to the unblemished skies, mountain breezes and flowy sundresses of summer.
I escape to the better days ahead while remaining grounded in the present — ready to conquer the tasks at hand.