Spring break is over, and suddenly you see a dim and hazy, yet hopeful, light up ahead. Wait..no..could it be… summer?!
Well, good news: it is!!
Yup, that sweetness you taste in the air, that sunshine at the end if the tunnel, those birds singing: they are all pointing you to now-visible summer. This school year WILL end after all, and, honestly, it’s going to end pretty soon.
However, there is one more mountain you have to claim before you get there.
One more struggle, one more trial, one more season of school-pain: finals.
Maybe you can’t even see the light of summer because the darkness of finals are clouding your vision. (Perhaps you haven’t even thought about it, yet, but if that’s you, you’ll be thinking about them soon, sure enough.)
It’s true; finals are like a big thundercloud ruining your hope of a sunny day. In fact, most of us fear them, worrying and stressing and freaking out the days, weeks, and even months beforehand. At least, I know I do.
We fear finals. We fear getting a bad grade, and we fear failing the class. We fear our friends all getting outstanding scores while we sit huddled in the dark. We fear freaking out on test day and not being able to think straight. We fear a freakishly hard test or not knowing the material. And, come on, we all have that tiny, but undeniable fear of sleeping in and missing the test (cough, cough, Rory Gilmore in season one, cough cough).
We fear finals. But we don’t have to.
To those who, like me, are filled with fear, take a deep breath. Then read these tips on reducing fear of finals, and consider how to work on them in your own life, right now. We don’t have to be afraid.
1. Start studying now
Now?! Seriously?! Finals aren’t for weeks!!
I hear you. And to an extent, I agree. There’s no point in wasting time, even if wasting time is disguised as a textbook.
But I don’t think it is wasting time. You just can’t get around the logic of it:
If you don’t want to feel unprepared going into a test, than be prepared.
Even just spending ten minutes a day studying, reviewing, and note taking NOW, while finals are still far away, can help dramatically with crushing that nervousness and feeling prepared.
And the more studying you do now, the less you’ll have to do later.
Also, everyone knows cramming is not half as effective as long term studying. So don’t cram. Long term study. It’s easier than you think.
(P.S. much more on practical ways to study for finals in the rest of this series! Click on the category “Finals” to read more.)
Jesus is the Prince of Peace (check out Isaiah 9:6). If you want peace instead of fear and stress, go to Him.
The Bible even goes so far to say not to worry about ANYTHING. (I’d say finals fit in that category.) Instead, as it says in Phillipians 4:6-7, pray, thanking God and asking Him for what you need.
God’s peace, which is so powerful that it can be there even in situations that peace seems impossible, is far greater than your fear. So go to Him.
Ask Him for the wisdom to study the right amount, the diligence to study when you don’t want to, and the removal of your fear. He loves you.
3. Remember who you are
Your grades do not define who you are.
You are created in God’s image, and you are dearly and passionately loved by Him. Nothing can change either of those facts. Not even a bad test grade.
This does NOT mean you should get a bad grade because you can. No, this means you should study hard to honor God.
But it DOES mean you don’t have to be afraid. Why? Because this does not determine you. Your value is not found in this.
That fact gives you the freedom to work hard, but leaves behind the fear of failure.
(P.S. I LOVED this article about school and identity from The Other Side, another teenage girl blog. Definitely worth a read!)
4. Think from the future
Not about the future. From the future.
While talking to a friend today about the stress of AP exams in May, I thought of this:
Will this matter twenty years from now? Or even ten?
Don’t get me wrong: studying is vital! Good grades are necessary to get into college, and you’re not going to get those good grades if you flunk your final by not studying.
But when you’ve given it all you’ve got, when you feel like you can’t read another word but still feel like you’ve only just begun, when the fear of finals (or AP exams) just overtakes you, remember that this test for this class will not determine the rest of your life.
Yes, you should care about getting a good grade. But you must realize that a bad grade is not the end of the world.
Just like the last one, that fact can help relieve your fears while actually makes you free to work even harder. When you’re not petrified by fear, but instead longing to honor God in all you do, you can enter finals season with much more confidence and peace.
I understand the fear. I’m a perfectionist, and failure terrifies me.
But the life God has planned for you is not one of fear. Recently, I’ve found a lot of encouragement in Psalm 23:4 –
Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.
If we can walk through the valley of the shadow of death without fear by means of God’s comfort, surely His comfort will be enough for 2017’s finals season.
Let’s lean on Him together this year.