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#HonorsProblems: You Don’t Have to Be Stressed to Be Doing It Right

The following blog post was written by Peer Advisor Kaitlyn, a CCAS sophomore studying Spanish and history.

“I’m so stressed right now,” “I’m totally swamped with work,” and “Ugh I have no time for anything,” are some of the common things I hear from my friends on a given day. Here at GW, it seems that the ‘norm’ is to be overwhelmed by academics, extracurriculars, and having a social life. While your friends might be constantly expressing how stressed they are, what happens if you don’t actually feel that way? It seems that to be successful as a student, if you aren’t completely overwhelmed or overstressed, you aren’t “doing it right.” Being stressed is not an indicator of academic excellence. Why is this the norm? Why can’t someone have a balanced schedule and simply feel confident in what they do? Too often this model is presented as ‘right.’

Stress does not equal success, although this seems to be the predominant attitude at most colleges. Often, when I interact with my stressed peers, it almost feels as if I should be more worried about my coursework. However, it is okay to feel confident in your time management and abilities! Honors students are all a part of a stimulating academic community. We all have the capability of doing well academically, and it is okay to trust yourself and feel confident in your ability to complete your academic goals.

I personally realized this about halfway through my high school career, when my best friends essentially told me to “chill out.” They helped me to realize that I was engaging in the culture of high stress=success, but once I thought about this, I realized it was not true. I learned how to trust myself for the first time. If I knew that I could complete my work and succeed, why did I have to be so stressed about everything I was doing? I was then able to manage my stress levels by consciously changing my attitude about my schoolwork.

Of course, we always have those weeks where it seems that every class has an assignment due at the same time. These unavoidable situations happen, but every week doesn’t have to be completely overwhelming. Try taking a step back sometimes and evaluating how stressed you really feel about something. If you trust yourself to get the work done, you may be surprised by how you feel!

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