As I sit here one hour before my freshman organic chemistry exam, I begin to reflect heavily on why I am not sleeping but instead trying my best to get in a last bit of information. Fresh from my eye-opening, even life-changing, spring break back in my home, Jamaica, I was filled with positivity that I would be able to master basically three months’ worth of organic chemistry in a matter of hours. LOL.
For most of my spring break, I was in a state of awe. The slow-paced, “everything will be alright” mentality of my people reminded me how simple life really is. I did not realize how much I did not take care of myself emotionally, mentally, or physically. I did realize, however, how unfocused and worried I had become. I realized that even when I had the time to study and I sat in the library for hours, I did not have the belief in myself required to study efficiently.
This spring break made it very clear to me that I had taken on way too much this semester.
While three months into the semester I can now cope with this level of work, at the beginning I really could not. Then I think, well maybe I should’ve dropped a course, or maybe I should’ve dropped to a lower level course. Maybe I should’ve taken the warnings of my parents and peers, who wondered, “How could I be doing so much?” They were right. I did go beyond my limits. Too many sports, clubs, jobs, courses, credits, too much…. socializing.
My greatest fear going into college was that one day I would walk into a test not knowing or at least not attempting to know everything. That I would go into a test regrettably seeing that I did not do everything in my power to do my best.
That day is today.
So while I am filled with all this post-seeing-my-family-after-several-months positivity, I am hyper-aware of the fact that I have hit quite a low point. A low point that I am glad has arrived in freshman year. A low point that basically forced me to take a really big “L,” and I am acknowledging it.
From this point forward, I basically have to get an A on my third midterm and an A on my final exam. You would think with failing the first two tests this wouldn’t be possible. “Positivity, Mon!” (That was kinda cringe-worthy.) But seriously, this will be a momentous task and you best believe when I do get an A on both these examinations, I’ll use it as inspiration to write even more insightful pieces.
The reason why I can do this is because I can finally see what I need to do this semester. I finally gave myself enough of a break to self-analyze, to readjust, and to simply see where I need to go next. The best version of myself as a student is for me to be calm and make a plan. However, I work on this plan, I need to create a state of mind that is going to fight for my dreams. Before I study, I need to remind myself of what my future goals are, what I have achieved, and that if I look and practice long enough and I still don’t get it, I can email my TA, my professor, or CETL. I need to believe in what I am doing here at Rochester. And I need to remember that there are resources on campus to help me when I’m struggling.
So no, I don’t have any answers on how to really fail a test, but I can tell you what failing a test has done for me. Furthermore, I can show you that every low point, every “L,” is a lesson waiting to be learned. It is now about half an hour before my test. I’ll probably leave sad and dejected from it but I’ll read this again. And remind myself of how hard I need to work to not let this mistake be one that haunts me for the next four years. I got into Rochester for a reason. I just needed a wake-up call to remind myself what that reason was.
Change takes time, but time waits for no one. Change in time and everything will be done.