Getting over post-exam nail-biting

So, if you’re like me, you’ve walked out of an test thinking to yourself, “Well, that went terribly…”

Today we had our exam for our third organ system-based block. Biochem, gastrointestinal system, and nutrition–I’ll spare you the gory details. (One friend’s key take-away: “It’s all one big tube!”)

Anyway, over the course of the day, I remembered three important lessons that I have learned, which you my find helpful, too:

It’s not as bad as it probably seems. From my experience, we have a tendency to focus on what we did wrong in situations where we are not super-confident. Even if you know you definitely missed three questions on the exam, the stress you felt about them dwarfs how comfortable you felt with the other seven.

Even if it is as bad as it seems (or worse), it’s not the end of the world. So you fail the exam and have to remediate, or you get a C and lower your GPA, or your side-hustle falls apart when family shenanigans pull you away–you’re not made of glass. Pick yourself up. It may suck in the moment, but you can always rebuild. If you need to remediate, you won’t get to spend your last summer of school riding coast-to-coast. Fine. Deal with the consequences of the past. If that ride is still important to you, figure out a way to make time to do it in the future.

Your definition of “bad” is based on certain assumptions; challenge them.  Failure might be a blessing in disguise: it represents a “reset”, and a chance go back to the drawing board if you need to do so. The key here is learning to appreciate and be grateful for what happens. What have the “bad” things in your life taught you? How can you use what you have learned to enrich others and yourself?

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