So I guess I’m a junior in college. I definitely still feel like I’m 12, but apparently I’m halfway done with college. Which is weird. When you go to school, people keep telling you that it is the best four years of your life. I only have 17 other years (some of which I don’t remember) to compare the past 2 to, but I will say that college is shaping up to be absolutely life changing. BUT IT’S SO HARD. Not just emotinally, duh it’s hard to move and make new friends and find things to do, but it’s so hard to adjust to harder classes and to having to do your homework and actually studying for tests. The social part of school is really fun, but the academic part is something no one really warns you about.

Emotionally, I kicked anxiety’s butt this year. I haven’t really had any panic attacks since September of 2016, so I consider that a win. But I was always under so much stress. It sucks to think you aren’t smart anymore because you go from all As in high school to then getting a B on a paper and you immediately decide that you’re dumb. But you aren’t- it’s just different standards. That is what no one tells you, and what I really wish I had been warned. I thought I was too stupid to be at such a competitive school because everyone seemed to be doing better than me. I was discouraged when classmates would talk about their grades and they were better than mine, and I hated feeling great about an assignment and getting it back covered in words in red pen.

But then, you figure out the professor and what they like to hear. Here are some real life examples. The religion professor likes it when you quote her ridiculous sayings and she will take off points if you finish a test early. The sociology professor will take off 10 points if you are a sentence over the page limit. Don’t put uneccessary words in that history paper because they are not appreciated. Writing in a foreign language? They might just stop grading and call it “incoherent” if you leave out a couple verbs you need.

It isn’t unusual to not do well for a while, and that is what I wish I’d known. We have grown up in such a competitive world that we don’t think it’s okay to make a mistake and not do well in a class. As you adjust, you improve. You start taking classes for your major because you’re interested and you start doing better. You doubt yourself less.

I think that what I’m trying to say here is not just to reassure myself before my grades come out, but also just as a reminder that you are not your grades. My parents always tell me that they want me to be healthy and happy- they don’t care if my grade is an A- and not an A. So yeah. Do your best, because that’s all anyone can ask. Noli timere! You’re smart!

~ Addie