This is not going to be very structured or intelligent, but I don’t have the brainpower for that right now.
Why, you ask? Well, it is finals week! It is the week where my intelligence and self-worth is determined by having exams and final papers in all of my classes in the span of 4 days.
I’ve never understood this set-up of showing what I have learned throughout the semester. How am I supposed to put 100% of my effort and knowledge into studying for an exam for a class, or writing a 15 page final paper, when I have 5 tests and papers due within 2 days of each other? I could have definitely performed better on so many tests that I have taken and so many papers I have written, but I was incapable of giving any more energy or time than I did. I was too busy studying for all of my other tests and writing all of my other papers to do any more than I did.
And forget about treating myself like a human being. I get 4 hours of sleep per night. I eat exclusively sugar and grease. I have my period, and I have horrible cramps and back pain. But I can’t think about that, so I pop Aleve and sit in the same uncomfortable position for 12 hours straight, and I get angry at myself because I have to get up for 10 minutes to change my fucking tampon because that is 10 wasted minutes of study time. I get mad at myself for being hungry because that means I have to abandon my space in the library and give up a precious 30 minutes where I could have been studying. I get mad at myself when I sleep in until 9:30 because I could’ve been studying, I could’ve been writing, I could’ve been productive, I don’t deserve to sleep. God forbid I take a break to watch a YouTube video or check my phone, because if I do I feel such guilt and dread the entire time that I panic and immediately get back to work.
I’ve had 3 panic attacks in the span of 3 days. It’s always when I’m trying to go to sleep; I start thinking that I should be staying up later to do more work, and my throat feels like it closes up. My body starts to feel cold and my heart feels heavy; the cold dread washes over me. Tears sting my eyes as I bolt upright in bed and try to calm down, but then it just causes me to feel even worse because not only am I not working, I’m not sleeping either so I’m just wasting my time. I’m such a worthless human being, this was supposed to be an easy class and I can’t do anything fucking right.
The stress is unbearable; it feels like if I underperform it means my entire life after college could be ruined. If I don’t do well on a paper, I won’t get a good grade and that means I won’t have a good GPA and that means that I’m not going to get hired what am I going to do what am I going to do I’m so fucking stupid I’m such and idiot I shouldn’t have gone to bed so early last night but it was 3 am and I was so tired but that’s no excuse I should’ve stayed up I could’ve had more coffee I could’ve started this paper weeks ago but I wanted time with my family over thanksgiving and I had 2 other tests so I couldn’t but I should’ve done more I’m so fucking stupid what’s wrong with me what am I going to do?
Is this what school is supposed to be? A four-year period of perpetual stress, unhealthy habits and questioning my worth as a person? Because that’s what a system like this tells me: you must show your knowledge of what you have learned in 5 classes in a 5 day span with a 3 day period where you don’t have class so you can study. It doesn’t matter that I had an exam on the last day of class; It doesn’t matter that that isn’t enough time to even study for 2 tests; It doesn’t matter that every person deserves to have time to eat and spend time not focused on academics; lot’s of people can do it and get A’s so you can do it too. If you complain or breakdown or do poorly, it’s because you’re weak and stupid and obviously didn’t study enough. It’s your fault. It’s your fault.