For college women
Get Good Grades Minus Burnout
By: Maria Pascucci, Founder & President, Campus Calm®
The following article is an excerpt from Campus Calm University
In times of stress and pressure, we often forget that we are not alone. Most college women and men feel stressed about grades, and school in general. The important thing to remember is that there are ways to deal with stress.
Here are my favorite tips:
Soul search Figure out why you want to get good grades. Is it because you love learning and want to commit to academic excellence? Is it a personal challenge you want to take on in order to prove to yourself and others that you have what it takes? Have you always been a straight A student and believe it shapes your identity in the eyes of others or even in your own eyes? Do you want to go to a top college or grad school where the cutoff GPA for acceptance is very high?
If your motives are internally driven—if getting good grades is a goal you really want to achieve for you—then you’re probably going to be less stressed than if you’re constantly thinking, “I have to graduate with straight A’s to please my relatives and prove my worth, and I’m never going to be happy or successful if I don’t ace this next test!”
Never shy away from an interesting class for fear of not getting an A When I was in college, a professor who taught European history confided to me that one of her students wanted to drop her class right before midterms. Even though this student loved European history, she told the professor that she was struggling and didn’t want to ruin her chances of graduating summa cum laude (with highest honors). The professor said that her student was slated to get an A- in the course by midterm. It’s unfortunate that the student couldn’t enjoy her class—a class she loved and in which she was doing well—just because an A- wasn’t good enough.
If I’ve learned one thing since graduating, it’s that challenging myself to love learning above the almighty grade is a reward all in itself.
Make time every day for self-care That means getting enough sleep every night, eating nutritious foods on a daily basis and not skipping meals or replacing meals with junk food because you’re too busy or stressed to sit down and eat a real breakfast, lunch or dinner. I also recommend that you make time for a daily dose of exercise, even if that means a 20-minute walk to the library to do your homework.
Exercise releases endorphins and lowers your stress hormones, so it’s well worth your time to sweat out your worries. Also, monitor your emotions, and if you find yourself getting overly stressed due to harsh expectations, make it a priority to talk to a friend or visit your school’s wellness office, or campus counseling center.
Perfect grades are not your ticket to a happy and successful life. You are. Your passion for your dreams and persistence to keep going when things get hard ensure your future success. As far as happiness goes, my friend Nancy Barry says, “The happiest people don’t necessarily have the best of everything. They just make the best of what they have.” Choose to uncover your own happiness, and you’ll be amazed by what you find was there all along.
Are You Valuing Grades over Learning?
You know you are valuing grades over learning when:
- you’ve shied away from a class that sounded interesting because you were afraid that you wouldn’t be able to get an A and your GPA would suffer;
- you’ve said to yourself, “It’s easier to give a professor what she wants to hear than it is to debate and stand by my own conclusions if I truly believe they have merit”;
- you receive a B or a C on a paper and immediately think about how it will affect your GPA instead of looking to see how your paper could have been better developed or what you need to learn in order to strengthen your points in the future;
- you did your best in a class that was completely outside your comfort zone. You end up with a B+ at the end of the semester. Instead of feeling proud of your ability to excel in a new subject, you feel like you failed because you didn’t get an A;
- you find yourself cheating on tests and papers because it’s a guaranteed way of making the honor roll, or dean's list.
Do you resonate with Maria's story? If so, you're the person Maria's speaking to in her book Campus Calm University, which this article is excerpted from. It's designed to empower you to give up the exhausting pursuit of perfection, and instead embrace the real steps to success, health, happiness and leadership. Chapters teach you how to be a lifelong learner, infuse your career search with some PG passion, embrace risk, focus inward, be creative (even if you're not an artist) and surround yourself with a network of positive people who can help you reach your goals. And much more too!