Opinion: Focus on your mental health over finals

Luci Schwarz 

lschwar2@uccs.edu 

     In the midst of finals week, I know many of us are feeling anxious and stressed. For many students, finals can make or break their grades, which often can make it feel like our very future is on the line.  

     I have fallen victim to that mindset before, and while finals are extremely important and I encourage everyone to do their best, I think it is also best to remind everyone that this is not all there is to life. Yes, graduating from university will likely increase your chances of having a career you enjoy and can be successful in.  

     However, tiring oneself out by crying over equations that seem impossible to understand or churning out that paper, instead of eating a meal or sleeping, is certainly not worth it. Thinking back to past finals, as this is an unfortunate event that happens at the end of every semester, do you remember quite vividly the pain of the last finals? Do you recall that feeling?  

     Perhaps you do and perhaps you do not. Either way, here you are and you’re still trying and you’re still doing just fine. This is not your defining moment in life, and finals do not determine how “smart” you are or what your future will be like if you don’t do as well as you’d like on the next exam. 

     Now, please do not mistake this as an excuse to not study. In my experience, you can only do well on a final if you prepared and did your best. That is exactly what you should do — do not burn the midnight oil and ultimately make yourself weary and sick. Instead, study appropriately and remember to take care of your mental and physical health. 

     Remember to go outside! The weather lately has been so pleasant, and it would be a shame not to take advantage of that. Going outside at least once a day has been said to be quite healthy for the brain. 

     Remember to drink plenty of water and try to set a time for sleeping so that you are well rested. After all, how can you expect yourself to perform well on half an hour of sleep?  

     The best piece of advice I can give is this: your mental health is much more important than a final that you likely will not remember in just a few short years. Sacrificing your wellbeing for an exam or large assignment is not what we should feel we need to do.  

     I am so proud of all of you for making it this far and for putting in your best efforts, regardless of the scores you receive from professors at the end of the semester. Your grades do not define your worth.  

     Perhaps the effort you put in this week will be rewarded soon, or perhaps a bit later in life. But I promise it will happen and does not need to be at the cost of your mental health. 

Image courtesy of The Critical Path Learning Center.