Under PressureIt’s that time. The end of the school year, which is super exciting, but it also means the inevitable stress of finals.

I’m lucky that I don’t have to sit for any exams.  I have 10-20 page papers due for each class and presentations to give based on those papers.  The good thing with this system is that I can work on papers away from my professors and classmates, take my time, sleep when I need to, etc.  What’s not good for a perfectionist like me is that there is no clear endpoint.  I have due dates, but I could spend an infinite amount of hours before each paper is due. And I do.

The other thing is that I’m trying to finish several internships and prepare for a new one that is starting. So there’s really no end to the stress. 

And it’s good stress; I love what I’m doing at school and work.  But any stress can lead to flares so I really have to be mindful of my stress level. 

In theory, all of the finals preparation should involve more mental stress than physical, but the two are so intricately tied together that it becomes hard to tell which is which.

It’s hard to take breaks and take a step back when it’s crunch time, but sometimes it is necessary if you want to be as successful as you can be. 

Unfortunately, for some, finals can be worth 40% of your grade, which means that if you’re not feeling well on exam day, it can really have a negative impact on your overall grade. 

And that is super stressful. 

When I was teaching at the college level, I always told my students at the beginning of the term to disclose issues that could affect their performance rather than waiting until crunch time when everyone is busy and overwhelmed. 

Inevitably, there are students that don’t do that and then end up having a lot of problems at the end of term, sometimes needing to take an incomplete. 

And that’s okay.  But it’s important to know your limits and be proactive before you find yourself in the position of not being able to finish any of your coursework.

Also, if you can, try to stagger your work so it’s not all hitting on the same day or during the same week.  This can be hard if you have exams, depending on the way your school’s exam schedule works. 

But if you do have some control over timing, grab the reigns and do yourself a favor by helping yourself.   

The craziest time of the semester is really a litmus test for self-advocacy.  If you’ve taken steps to alert your professors about potential issues, the worst thing that happens is that you do not have any problems and do not have to utilize resources. 

I gave two presentations last week, have two papers done, and have one paper to finish and one presentation left to give this week.  I can finally see the light at the end of tunnel.  And I hope if you’re in the midst of the end of the school year, you’re being kind and considerate to yourself while trying to be as successful as possible.