Illustration by Alice Leach
With mounting pressure towards the end of the semester, it is no doubt that students feel overwhelmed by their courses and pressured to finish the semester in great academic standing. Especially with final exams just around the corner, it is no surprise that many students worry about their grades and their performance. Throughout the last few weeks, I have watched several of my friends and peers put an extreme amount of pressure on themselves to finish the semester with perfect grades. In the process, however, these students have begun to ignore their own self-care habits, neglect their friends and socially isolate themselves from activities on campus. Although grades are an essential part of our success in college, I also want to remind students of a broader perspective outside of college that will hopefully reduce stress and provide comfort to those who feel overwhelmed by the end of the semester.
It is essential in college to be concerned about grades, as GPA is a very important determinant of the success of college students. Students should always strive for their best grades on assignments and exams and want to make improvements in areas that they can learn more in. However, one bad grade on an assignment is not, for lack of a better term, “the end of the world.” Several of my friends who have received grades that are less than their expectations tend to become extremely upset. As a result, they put an extreme amount of pressure on themselves and isolate themselves from the activities that they enjoy. Self-care habits such as working out, spending time with friends and even hobbies that students enjoy tend to become neglected when students pressure themselves with unrealistic expectations.
Especially at this point in the semester, it is pivotal for students to realize that setting realistic expectations for themselves and budgeting their time wisely are some of the most important keys of success. Becoming overwhelmed by assignments and exams is inevitable, but if students set realistic expectations for themselves, they will most likely be able to achieve their goals and feel satisfied by their performance. Furthermore, it is extremely important that students refrain from ignoring their friends, family and even their own hobbies during this time. Spending time with others and doing activities that are not related to courses helps mental health and has the ability to relieve some of the pressure that students can feel at this point in the year.
Most importantly, students should realize that in the grand scheme of things, one bad grade on an assignment does not mean they are destined for academic failure. Learning from our mistakes is an essential part of college and academic success. By setting realistic standards and learning from their mistakes, students are destined to achieve the best academic standpoint that they can in order to finish the semester.
Lillianna DiFini is a first-year student at Kent State University studying communication studies with a concentration in relational and workplace communication. This semester, she is a blogger for The Burr Magazine and plans to focus much of her content on ways students can better adapt to college. After earning her bachelor’s degree, Lillianna plans to continue her education and earn her master’s degree in education to one day pursue a career in academic advising.