On studying for exams

So I’m panicking.

There’s a pressure in my chest, building.

It’s Sunday today and I have exams starting tomorrow. My math books are wide open, spread across my desk, my tests strewn about, review in the text book staring me in the face.

And I would rather be doing anything else in the world. I just cleaned the dust off my window pane, removed a dead spider from a crevice by my sink, swept my bedroom floor and did the dishes while I considered scrubbing the tea stains out of the sink. All with my throat tight and my heart pounding.

I started going through my books yesterday, the science was okay because I just skimmed it, but as soon as I got into the math, everything started to go downhill. My brain shut off and refused to remember earlier lessons from the quad and each question I looked at seemed overwhelmingly hard.

But this isn’t the true me. I’m going into my exams with 92 and 93 in math and science respectively, so obviously I get it. But two days out from exams and I’m somehow convincing myself that I’m dumb and I don’t know anything.

Before I sat down to look everything over I considered not bothering to study. The science head told me last year that ‘if you don’t know it now, you’re not going to learn it overnight’ and I fully agree with that, but I think it extends beyond that. My desire to distance myself from my studies is trying to tell me something. Usually I’m quite committed and even eager to do my homework. But now I feel an invisible pressure telling me to study instead of relax, while every other part of me screams NO!

Something inside is directing me to cram and I hate that instinct.

It is a little voice in my mind telling me that I don’t actually know what I think I do and that I will fail if I don’t try to relearn everything right now. It is the instinct for mistrust in my own abilities. But I have been in every class, listened, absorbed the information. I know what I know, I know what I don’t know and I’m okay with those gaps because I know they will get filled in when they need to.

So basically I just need to relax and trust myself, but that’s easier said than done.

When I think about closing my books and just spending the rest of the weekend having fun I get a spike of guilt, like I’m abandoning my studies, but the truth is I think I’m doing myself more harm than good here. I’m not going to learn anything new and I do, in fact, have everything I need to do well on my exams. Plus, I know from experience exams are usually underwhelming in the difficulty level because they are often more broad being as they have to cover all of the units at once.

So why haven’t I closed my books?

It’s a commitment to trust myself and my brain and it’s scary.

And I don’t know if it’s right. Should I be cramming? Stressing myself out? Trying to make sure I have every last inch of this information covered? Nothing about that feels right and sometimes when we don’t know the right answers all we have is our feelings.

I just need to take a deep breath, and close my books.


6 thoughts on “On studying for exams

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