I know that it’s the end of the semester for a lot of people and many are studying for exams right now so I thought I’d share something about anxiety, specifically test anxiety.
Exactly a year ago, all I wanted was to give up and not study. I really didn’t want to take my finals thinking that I was gonna fail them anyway. In fact, all I wanted was to fly home and just take an Incomplete for the semester.
And I totally would have, if it weren't for the support of my mom and my closest friends in Alpha Gam and at Georgia Tech.
Starting in November of 2016, I started to really question my ability to keep up with the rigor of Georgia Tech. I completely lost all motivation and I did everything and anything I could that would keep me from studying.
I was thisclose to going to my professors and telling them that I'd rather not take the final and that I will just take a zero since that's what I would probably get anyway. Luckily, I had those closest to me making sure that I was at least putting in some effort to study. It was not easy. Every page that I read, there was an accompanying thought that I didn’t know what I was doing. For every PowerPoint that I got through, I would have a breakdown, crying that I didn’t understand a single thing that I just went over.
Almost every hour, I would ask whoever I was studying with to just walk around the CULC or the Student Center. Or to go get food. Basically, anything but looking at my notes and my textbooks.
I was on the phone with my mom all day, begging her to let me come home, tears streaming down my face with every turn of my Differential Equations textbook. I was calling Palavi, my sorority sister, my Peer Leader, and friend, apologizing for the screw-up that I had become. I was a pitiful mess barely making it through a page of Biostatistics before another panic attack would hit.
I hung onto Patricia and Sierra, my Big and roommate, as each day came and went. They would tell me that doubt was just screwing with my head. They’d remind me that I knew more than I thought. I tried to believe them. I really did. But the voice of anxiety is hard to deny.
After all, this is what it does… Anxiety talks to you and talks to you and talks to you… until you hear nothing and feel nothing but doubt and fear.
It’s going to trick your brain; telling you that you’re not good enough, not smart enough, and that you don’t belong in that school/program.
Though it was so hard to believe it at the time, I’m so glad that I had people around me that made sure I was studying (as best as I could in the state that I was in) and that I took my finals. In the end, not only did I pass my classes, I finished the term with a 2.9. Yes, you read that right. In reality I was far from failing my classes, but it sure felt that way. Anxiety makes the worst feel real.
It wasn't until later that I found out that I had developed a real and diagnosable condition. What had been in my life in passing for the last 20 years, became full fledged generalized anxiety disorder.
It’s been several months and there’s a lot more to my story, but I just wanted to share this part of it as a reminder that… You are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.
So try not to listen to the doubt that’s talking and go #slay those finals 💕
But if you really need someone to talk to, I encourage you to reach out to a professional/visit the counseling center at your university. Finals are undoubtedly a stressful time, but it’s possible that you may be dealing with something greater that may need medical attention. Mental health is a true, real part of your overall well-being and should be treated as such.
Now you know why my mental health campaign, Hold Onto Hope, Love, is so important to me.
Until next time...
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