One of my favorite lines from "Tommy Boy" is when Chris Farley says, "You know, a lot of people go to college for seven years," and David Spade replies, "I know. They're called doctors."
Maybe that line doesn't seem funny to those of you wigging out over finals right now, worried about tacking a few years on to college without tacking "Ph.D" to the end of your name. But you know what? I went to CU for 13 years, and if we're gonna be mean about it, all I've got to show for my time there is unending student loan debt, an English Lit. degree, and half a Film Lit. degree.
But that's not how I look at it. I choose to shift my focus to what actually matters today: I'm using all those English classes on the regular, I worked hard to be a marginally annoying movie wingman, and I have no fewer than 26 finals weeks under my belt.
Despite mid-test panic attacks, all-nighters resulting in bad essays, and missed finals because I'd plopped face-down on a keyboard for an unscheduled nap, none of that killed me. And it's not going to kill you either.
So hear me now or hear me in six years when you're taking more finals: This isn't that big of a deal. Especially if you're the next Bill Gates. If you're not, do the best you can, and know when you're 40, it pretty likely it won't matter how long it took for you to get that piece of paper we call a diploma.
Just make sure you're eating, hydrating and showering regularly. You don't need a grumbling belly, a headache, or side-eyes from your neighbors who are distracting you from the task at hand.
Get some damn exercise. As Thoreau said, "An early morning walk is a blessing for the whole day." Thirty minutes walking alone outside can change your whole outlook.
If you majorly wreck yourself in one test, go outside, breathe deeply and shift your focus to the next one. No need to carry that bad juju forward.
Did you know all fee-paying students are entitled to six free counseling sessions? Neither did I, but guess what? When you're still paying off your loan 20 years after graduating, you might wish you'd taken all the advantages at hand. If you're losing your gourd: Go. See. A. Counselor. You can climb the Himalayas alone, but it'll go faster if you get yourself a sherpa.
And finally: I know it can be hard to sit down to an empty Blue Book staring up at you and not think the next hour or two is going to chart a course for the rest of your life. When I stared down at the suddenly foreign symbols on the Physics final, and then back to the Blue Book to see the only thing I'd added to the page was panic, sweat and tears, I saw a future of being broke and toothless, with a life of eating only Kraft macaroni and cheese. (See: broke, toothless.) And yes, hell yes, 45 minutes later, I completely lost my shit, letting a sob howl from my depths as I rushed out of the room.
But I'm still alive, and still not eating Kraft macaroni and cheese. And you won't have to either. Unless that's your thing, and if so, you do you, buddy.
Love, Aunt Fritz