Celebrating Accomplishments & Being Okay With Failure

I finally finished my junior year of college, thank goodness! I have never experienced a semester where I had mental breakdowns and panic attacks so much until this past semester. I knew it would be a super difficult semester as I had harder classes, but I wasn’t expecting so much stress and the feeling of hopelessness.

A couple of months ago before starting this past semester, I wrote a blog post, New Month, New Goals , which basically just talked about how I tend to not handle stress too well and was looking forward to a new semester and new learning opportunities. I also mentioned how I was going to try to make the most of the semester and try to find something positive in everything, as well as making it a goal to not feel like just giving up and quitting.

Well, that did not go as planned. I usually take my studies very seriously and am motivated and never quit on anything, but this was the first time in my college journey so far where I truly felt like just giving up.

At the beginning of the semester, I was going into it with a positive mind and attitude knowing that it would be challenging, but I’m always up for a challenge and was looking forward to another fresh start. I had multiple COM classes, which is my major, so I was looking forward to that. I challenged myself before the semester started to also continue eating healthy and exercising regularly.

Everything was going well. For the first couple of months, my grades remained high, I continued to feel motivated, I was losing weight (on purpose) and continued to make time to workout regularly. And then tough exams/assignments happened, which lead to stress hitting me HARD.

My grades dropped, I felt completely unmotivated to continue working out and eating healthy when I could sleep for just a little longer and eat something not so healthy and quick, I felt like there was no point in trying anymore because I wouldn’t be able to bring my grades up in time to pass, and all I wanted to do was just quit on this whole semester when I had been challenging myself to not feel that way.

There were certain classes that I continued to do really well in, such as my theatre classes and communication classes, but I had statistics, which was making the whole semester horrible. There’s a reason why I’m a journalism major and it’s not because I’m good at figuring out numbers. Stats was a struggle and I was receiving no help, which made everything worse because it felt like it was out of my control. I had so many assignments and tests in just that one class and it felt like I couldn’t catch up or keep up. To make it worse, I had no option but to take the stats class online through a different college.

One of my biggest pet peeves is people being lazy or making excuses for everything, so I’m not being one of those people when I say I literally couldn’t do anymore than what I was already doing to try to have a decent grade in stats. When the tutoring center at my university didn’t know how to do the stats problems I was doing, I knew I was in trouble and it was going to be a struggle. I basically had to teach myself the whole semester and when I couldn’t figure something out, I would just have to move on to the next assignment without getting help in what I couldn’t figure out.

Every night, I would wake up with panic attacks not knowing when I would have time to get everything done. I pulled many all-nighters, would start on work as soon as they were assigned, and I would still not be able to turn assignments in on time, just because of the work load. My chest was constantly tight and I felt nauseous all the time.

I knew that I couldn’t just give up like I wanted to do so badly. I had to keep going and working as hard as I could, even when I thought I didn’t have anything left in me to give. I spent many nights crying while writing research papers, studying for exams, preparing speeches, preparing presentations, and trying to figure out where to even begin in stats. I was completely overwhelmed and exhausted.

After having so many panic attacks and not being able to sleep, I knew something had to change. I couldn’t just give up when I felt like it, but I was putting too much pressure on myself that had to stop. I wanted to have straight A’s, I wanted to feel accomplished, and I wanted to succeed wherever I could, which lead to having break downs when the littlest thing would go wrong or not as planned.

So, I told myself that I didn’t care to be on the Dean’s List anymore, I didn’t care if I barely passed a class, I didn’t care if someone had better grades than me. What I did care about was how many hours of sleep I was getting, reducing my stress anyway possible, and eating healthy/exercising regularly. I only had a certain amount of time left in the semester and I had to keep going, but in a healthy way.

I focused on my health and just making it to the end of the semester, and surprisingly, I finished the semester with all A’s (except for in stats, which is a different story), but I’m finished with the semester and couldn’t be more relieved.

All of this to say, the last semester of my junior year was unexpectedly difficult and overwhelming to say the least. I was prepared for a hard semester, but the amount of stress and the feeling of being overwhelmed was indescribable. I had to overcome challenges and the feeling of letting myself down. I had to be okay with trying my hardest, but not putting so much pressure on myself. I had to be okay with failure, because even though I failed in various ways, I still accomplished so much as well.

Thanks for reading this long post and sticking with me.

Until next time,

Caitlin xxx