Final Exam Newsletter: Why You Should Stress Less

Don’t be too serious during finals.
Don’t be too serious during finals.

I wrote last semester about how you are far more than your GPA or any other numerical marker, and during this Christmas season that belief of mine is just as strong. I will remain resolute and steadfast in reminding my college friends that life is so much more than a number that appears beside your name.

This semester it seems there's been a surge in the amount of joking about how pitiful and doomed our GPAs are and how we as students must be retreating to libraries to cram at the last second because we haven't been concerned with our academics until now. In reality, many of my friends who have made jokes falling within this category are among the most studious, academically-prone individuals I've ever met. I'm confused.

My friends know that I personally hold myself to a high academic standard, but I am by no means the cream of the crop in Chapel Hill and my GPA falls well below a 4.0. But more importantly than a number or an academic categorization is what I've learned throughout my time in college: the necessity of taking a moment to breathe. I receive a good deal of flack from a few of my closest friends for my trademark response to deadlines and due dates: "You only get one life!" Sarcasm reigns upon my delivering of this one-liner, as one of my buddies in particular can always see it coming from a mile away. And still I am resolved to stand by its meaning and message.

I'm seeing way too many of my friends mentally exhaust themselves over information they will have erased from their memory a week from now. Really? Do your best on exams but please don't make final exam season a time of utter despair, sadness, and heartache. Do yourselves a favor: RELAX.

We are in college to do our absolute best and find our passions. Neither of these feats should involve overwhelming stress or anxiety, and joking about GPAs only perpetuates the belief that your character and self-worth is definable by a decimal. College is a time for adventure and excitement, and final exams should not be a hindrance on that. Use exam studying as an excuse to go explore the college town in which you live. Take a break from pouring over a textbook you'll sell in 48 hours and go get lost on a two-lane road, void of any final destination. Remember that whether you spend five hours or four hours studying, you will still be the exact same person when it is all said and done.

My plea to my college peers: Please relax and remember that you are not a number. Your self-worth extends far beyond your transcript, and though I've said this so many times I will continue to repeat it as long as people will listen. Value yourselves more than becoming emotionally invested in a final grade. By this point in the semester, the bulk of the information you will be able to regurgitate is already engrained in your mind anyway; studying is more of a way to refine what has been learned throughout the past few months. Don't calculate your grade in a class 47 times to make sure you know exactly what decimal you need on the final for an A. We're all so much more than that.

Enjoy final exam season, study hard and test well, but leave time to take care of yourselves. Life is short, tests are temporary, and college memories involve far, far more than GPAs. Less than a week before a month of complete, expectation-free relaxation. Good luck and go Heels.

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