You are not just a number.
Okay, so I’m not sure whether everyone is in the same boat as me, but I have had deadlines consistently since reading week of Term 2. In the midst of the seemingly never-ending pile of work, it’s really easy to get lost within your stress and get consumed by it. I was literally just there; to be honest, I’m not even fully out of it yet. The stress of getting a good grade, over anything else, lingers over my head like a sword tied to a fragile thread. (I’m sorry that simile may have been a bit too intense. Or not enough.)
However, there are some things I did do to help with this. In case you’ve been going to the library frequently, I wrote a post about how I spent an entire week in the library, and what I learned from that experience (linked here). However, along with that, there are some things my friends have repeatedly been trying to drill into my head, which helps put things into context.
- Your grades do not define you. It sure seems like that but there is more to you than just a number. This statement holds in all situations, but is especially worth remembering right now. You are going through a pandemic, and the fact that you’re here, mostly safe and sound, is an achievement in itself. Take note of that.
- Food and sleep come before everything else, so it is okay to take breaks for that. I know I’m guilty of skimping out on these sometimes; it was literally half an hour ago that my flatmate asked me how I stay awake on just 6 hours of sleep sometimes. Look at this way; you give yourself time and energy to regenerate, which means you’ll be fresher when you wake up, which means you’ll be able to do a higher quality of work (compared to when you needlessly burn the midnight oil). Energy drink and no sleep isn’t the way to go, trust me.
- Get out of the house (but responsibly)! Restrictions permitting, it is possible for us to go out of the house and catch up with some friends, so do that! We’ve been graced with a few days of sun, here in the UK, so it does make rational economic sense to go out in the sun and indulge in some utility maximisation by soaking up some sunlight. (I know I stretched the utility metaphor too long, but cut me some slack please.)
- Talk. I admit to have been feeling really isolated during the past month. Social media has not been helping, especially since it is one of the few ways that I can live vicariously through the adventures that some others are lucky enough to be embarking on. The FOMO is real; but, the edge is dulled if you have a chat with a friend, maybe plan a brunch or a day out or a holiday somewhere, once this global pandemonium is over. I’ve come around to doing it; sometimes even looking at AirBnBs, just for the sake of it, is really fun.
- You’re almost there. You’ve made it this far. You’re an amazing person for having been able to do that. And, despite the never-ending spiral, I know you have it in you to get past the finish line.
So yeah, these are some of the things my friends have told me, to convince me that it’s all okay and work is not all that there is in life. Since you’re my friend (I hope; will you be my friend?), I wanted to say these things to you. I hope you remember them, and maybe even tell your friends. Take care, stay safe, and breathe.