Cutting Yourself a Break

For the past few weeks I’ve had the same reoccurring nightmare: I’m somewhere on campus looking for my classroom on the first day of the quarter, but no matter how hard I look I’m unable to find my class. I wake up in a cold panic, convinced that I’ll have to drop my class and won’t be able to graduate. It takes me a few minutes to get my bearings and realize that it’s the middle of the summer and I’m in no danger of missing my first day of school.

I’m no Freud, but I’m sure that these dreams are subconscious manifestations of my deep-seated anxieties surrounding my academic performance. I’ll be the first to admit that I put a lot of pressure on myself to excel in school.

As a high school student I was never too concerned with my academic performance. I was always a good student but I wasn’t bothered when B’s showed up on my report card. I would blow off studying to hang out with friends and cut class once in a while.

However when I went to college something changed, all of a sudden I became determined to get the highest grades and excel in school. I’m not quite sure what caused the change; perhaps it was because while I truly enjoy school, I also enjoy the challenge and like setting goals for myself.

I feel confident in saying that I have worked my hardest these past three years, pushing myself to double-major and get straight A’s- as well as working and completing multiple internships. While I’m proud of my accomplishments, I’m also aware of the pitfalls of the pressure I place on myself to succeed. It’s taken me a couple of years to learn that sometimes the healthiest thing to do is cut yourself a break.

What Are You Working Towards?

There is nothing wrong with trying to achieve your best in school or other arenas, but sometimes you can walk a fine line between trying your hardest and being hard on yourself. Don’t burn yourself out; think about what it is you’re working towards. Set goals and try to meet them. If you want to be at the top of your class because you are certain that you want to go on after college and get an advanced degree then work towards that goal.

Try to Balance Your College Experience

Make sure to balance your college experience; just as you don’t want to sacrifice your academic performance for a great social life, you also don’t want to sacrifice your social life for your academic performance. It might take a while to learn how to strike the perfect balance, but keeping your schedule varied is very important as well.

College is about a lot of things, trying to balance all the different facets of your school experience can be tough, but its not impossible. Make friends who challenge and encourage you to reach your academic goals. Join study groups and don’t cheat yourself out of different social experiences.

Cut Yourself A Break

At the end of the day all you can do is try your best. It may sound trite, but it’s true. If you set goals for yourself, try your hardest, and end up falling short, don’t beat yourself up for it. If you’re someone who gets upset about a bad grade then ask yourself if you’ve tried your hardest, if the answer is yes, then just let it go.

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Brianna Low

Brianna Low

Brianna Low is a rising senior at DePaul University pursuing a double major in English and Spanish. Brianna enjoys reading, writing, and traveling. She currently works for DePaul's Art Department as a receptionist and hopes to one day work in a library. Brianna is happiest when surrounded by books.
Brianna Low

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