An open letter from Grace to anyone feeling assessment stress.
To the students feeling under pressure,
I don’t know if you haven’t started your work, you’ve started it and you hate it, or it’s half done and you just don’t think it’ll make the grade you want. I do know that you’re probably doing better than you think. I have five things to say to you:
- Stay around people that make you feel confident. That might (and should!) be friends and family, the people who are best at building you up; I’m also talking about your lecturers. The more classes you miss the harder it is to go back, and I know this because my attendance record was probably one of the worst in my class. But when I went back to my lecturers with drafts and concerns, they always had the door open.
- If you haven’t started yet, start now. Bullet point paragraphs, write something you know is an absolute mess of unprocessed ideas, mind map, or launch right into it. Once you’ve started you’ll feel more productive and it’ll feel easier to make it to the deadline.
- If you have started, show someone your work. It doesn’t have to be your lecturer (although that’s a great way to know you’re on the right track), it could be friends on your course, housemates or friends back home. Spoiler alert, they’re probably going to tell you it’s better than you think, which will make you feel a lot better about keeping going. Talking through your points with people is helpful too!
- Remember why you’re here. You chose this course; why? Hopefully it’s something that interests you or something you’re passionate about. It’s not all doom and gloom!
- A grade does not define you. Degrees bring a lot of pressure from all sides, it’s common to feel the stress from that. But if you don’t get the grade you want, that doesn’t define everything you know about that subject for all of time. We continue to learn, and besides, if you remember something when you walk out of the exam it doesn’t make you any less clever.
So take care and stay positive. Keep having fun, keep working hard. Maybe share this with a friend that needs a boost and offer to look at each other’s work over a pint.
I have total confidence in you and your ability to smash this degree!