The Other Dreaded F Word

It has taken a lot of maturity and self-understanding, but I have something I need to admit.

I’m not good at finance.

I know no one cares about my exam schedule and all, but this is a big deal for me. See, among my many other issues, I’m a perfectionist. Yes, I know I’m not perfect. But still I always feel like if I just try a little harder I might be able to get a bit closer. Being a perfectionist is mentally exhausting. I have no doubt that it is closely linked to my anxiety problems. A lot of my anxiety (or maybe all, now that I think about it) stems from situations where I feel like I’m not good enough or didn’t do well enough. And looking back, it seems obvious that I have ridiculous expectations for myself, and beat myself up over things that really aren’t going to matter in the long run.

And yet, here I am trying to convince myself that it’s okay to be bad at finance. I’m not used to being bad at things. In particular, I’m bad at failing. Ah, the dreaded F word. Well, the other dreaded F word. “Failure”. Failing is hard, especially if I worked hard for something. This is why I hate finance so much. I work so hard, try my best… and still don’t know if I’m going to pass this exam I have in two days. I don’t know why I’m not good at it. I do the practice problems, all the readings, practice tests… and then I get an exam back and I’ve either failed or nearly-failed.

Why does this all matter? Well, maybe to people who are not in university it doesn’t, but to me it does. All of us students have been told that our grades are the only thing that matters. That finding a high paying job right out of school will determine our entire lives, that one bad grade can ruin a career. It sounds silly now, but when I went to orientation before my first year of university this is exactly what they told us.

Well, I have something I want to say to all the stressed out university and college students out there who are struggling through exams right now:

Don’t beat yourself up over a bad mark. All you can do is try, and sometimes despite how hard you try, things just won’t work out the way you want them to. It’s alright. The world isn’t going to come crashing down if you don’t pass a test. Your parents will still love you, your friends will still like you, and you’re going to come out of this okay. Just relax. Your classes are expecting a lot from you, and every prof thinks their course is the most important. They don’t care that you are overworked and that you don’t have enough time to focus on all of your exams right now. Time is precious, and you’ll never have as much of it as you need. Use it wisely. Plan ahead. If today you are only going to focus on psychology even though you have a math exam in three days, stick to that. You can’t do everything at once, so don’t try to. And don’t waste extra time stressing about how you don’t have enough time. Know that this is just a phase, and soon it will all be over. No matter how it all goes, you can walk out of that exam room with your head held high knowing that it is done. You got through it. It may not be perfect, but it is what it is and if you tried your best, that’s all anyone can ask of you.

Keep your head up.

-Janine

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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

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