Monday marks the start of my fifth finals season here at Harvard. My standing record? 3 - 1 (sophomore slump was no joke, people!) Yet somehow, despite knowing the song and dance pretty well at this point, I just last night experienced my first finals affiliated mental breakdown.
After whimpering in Quincy D-Hall, on the MBTA redline and in my apartment for a little while, I got my mom on the phone and my whimpers to exploded into sobs. When she dutifully asked me what was wrong, all I could come up with was, "I'm overwhelmed!" But why? Why has this week been so much for me? After all, I've always managed to keep my head above water during finals season, usually without even having to sacrifice any sleep.
Several hours of R&R&R&P later, rest and recuperation and reading and prayer (duh!), I realized why this finals season has hit me so much harder than the four before. And basically, it's all Julienne Coleman's fault.
Last year, my dear friend, Julienne set out to boost her GPA by finishing out her Harvard career with a senior year GPA of 4.0. She set my twitter feed ablaze with academic motivation, photos of stunning women with amazing dreadlocks, and the hashtag #GetThatA
At the beginning of this semester, following in the footsteps of a great woman, as I always try to do, I set a goal for myself to have a semester GPA of 4.0, keeping the #GetThatA spirit alive. As the semester flew by, I worked a little harder than I have in previous semesters, but I don't think I ever really imagined that I would be able to accomplish this goal. After all, A's stopped being a reasonable expectation as soon as I arrived on this campus.
But here's the rub! I'm actually on track to reach my goal...assuming I kill all of these finals. Yes, the ones that I am not studying for as I write this.
I don't want you to get the idea that I don't usually care how I do in school. I work hard and absolutely always aim to do my best. But how do I measure whether or not I did my best when I get an exam back? Maybe my best was a B+, or an A- or a C. I've told myself each of those before, and honestly, it might have been true! But when the grades for this semester come out, there will be no debate as to whether or not I met my goal of a 4.0. In black and white, my unofficial transcript will scream, "CONGRATULATIONS, YOU DID IT!" or shrug, "welp, better luck reaching for adequacy next time." ...and to me, that is overwhelming.
What works for you? Does having black and white, grade based goals drive you crazy or push you forward? At the moment I am planning never to set a meltdown inducing GPA based goal again, but hey! If it works, it works.
Maybe after a few more hours of R&R&R&P&B, rest and recuperation and reading and praying and blogging, I will find wisdom to make this next week less daunting, but for now I'm just powering through and doing my "best".
Until next time,
Check out Julienne's blog! http://mylocbox.tumblr.com