I recently found myself feeling numb and on a "just get it done" mentality.
I always do it. I always get it done.
Not only do I get it done, but I get it done so damn well. "Wow, you write really well!" My professor comments on my 4000-word essay that I wrote the day before on the car ride to and from the Packers game.
Last semester, I took 16 credits, with 7 of those credits being honors classes. I also worked three jobs and started a new one. But during finals week was when I almost broke. I wrote a 15-page research paper in three days, had two other papers due, and had five exams to take.
I still felt like I wasn't doing enough.
I think this is a feeling that a lot of us — whether working, in college, in high school, etc. — experience. We ask ourselves, "What will build my resume?" "Am I working enough?" "Am I doing my best in classes and they're just difficult, or am I just lazy?"
We never feel like what we do is enough, so we do more and more until we reach the point of exhaustion and then are left wondering if we can hold on any longer.
The thing is, that although I often feel that I am doing enough, I never have the feeling of not being enough. I know that I will thrive in whatever I do out of college. I know that I am smart and a hard worker in all my jobs.
I thrive in a fast-moving environment. I love coming up with new ideas, writing social media posts, and tracking analytics for my communications internship. I love sending out emails and filling in submission charts for the writing organization that I'm president of, and I love bartending at chasers. But none of that matters in college. What matters in college for many classes is how well you do on exams, and I am not good at taking exams.
But exams — on exams, my mind goes blank and fuzzy. Words and numbers get mixed up and flipped upside down, a headache settles in, my stomach gets upset, I start to sweat, nothing makes sense, and I just cannot focus. I stay until the end of the time period because in the last five minutes my head clears up and everything all of a sudden makes sense. I quickly erase all my writings on the problems and figure them out in a minute. Then I run out of time before I can finish.
The walk home from an exam is the worst though. Damaging thoughts dash through my head, "I'm just dumb, I don't get why everyone else does fine and I fail so horribly?" "Why do things make sense when I study but seem completely foreign when I get to the exam?" "What if my GPA tanks and I don't get a good job and I fail the person who counts on me the most — myself?" My head gets dizzy, my legs and arms shake, I can barely walk. I feel extremely nauseous.
I wrote this so easily. It just flowed and flowed and flowed. At my internship, creative ideas for posts flow and flow and flow.
But when it comes to a research paper or a final exam, I don't know what to say.
I feel so confined by the requirements and the format. The period goes after the parenthesis, italicize this, don't capitalize that. Two points off for writing 'f(c)' instead of 'f(x).' When attempting these assignments I feel as though I am moving through Jello and feel as though how I write is more important than what I write or what I know.
I write this article knowing that others face this too. I write this article to remind those people that you are not alone.
You and I will absolutely thrive out of college, and honestly, we're doing way better than we think we are. Let's keep our heads up and toast to the new year, a year of reminding ourselves that we are doing enough, and we are killing it!