I’m someone who cares a lot about grades and I put a lot of pressure on myself – when I realised I wasn’t going to do as well in my A Levels as I did in my GCSEs I was heartbroken. And it’s not like I bombed – in my AS levels I got a C and 3 Ds which is a pass and I pulled that up to 2 Bs and a D which wasn’t awful but it wasn’t an A or an A* so I was proper gutted. But it got me into uni and that’s all that matters.
Then when I got to uni I was going to be a new person, I wasn’t going to care – I was just going to do the best I could possibly. Ha, that lasted about 10 minutes.
I scraped a 2:1 in first year but it didn’t contribute to the final degree so I wasn’t too fussed. Second year went really well for me and I ended up getting a first overall so my main goal for third year was to maintain that and do everything try to get a first over all.
And I tried my best, I worked so hard this year, and I didn’t do it. The salt in the wound is that I was only 0.44% away from the grade I wanted but I didn’t get it. At the end of the day, I didn’t get it. That sucks. Not going to pretend it doesn’t, it sucks a lot.
But. It’s. Not. Like. I. Failed.
I got a 2:1, I worked my ass off and I’ve got a great portfolio (check out my portfolio insta to see it in full, cheeky plug), I’ve had some incredible work experience that I got all by myself because I’m not a failure or an awful human being (shaking this mindset is a work in progress).
My life isn’t over. I’ve got a great degree. I could go do a masters if I wanted. I am still able to get a good job (hopefully, not successful on that front as of yet). So what’s the point in beating myself up about grades?
Conclusion: putting too much pressure on myself has been nothing but damaging.
I’ve picked up such awful habits from it, from beating myself up over every grade I got back, putting so much pressure on myself to work hard and make amazing stuff and everything needing to be the highest grade it can be and nothing I do is every quite good enough for that voice in the back of my mind.
And nothing good has come from abusing myself mentally like this.
It’s not an easy habit to break – I follow so many YouTubers and creators who are like ‘just stop doing that bad habit you have and be a happy person’ and that’s just not possible, not for me anyway. But it’s a habit worth trying to break because that kind of mental strain is only going to leave deeper scars in the long run.
So for me, what I’m doing to challenge this mindset are these three things:
- Telling myself that I am graduating with a good grade – a 2:1 is incredible and I worked really hard to get there and I’ve got a great community of people on my course, other friends and even a series of lecturers who are a great team who really helped and supported me. My university experience was incredibly positive and I need to remember that.
- Not pressuring myself too much about getting a job – obviously I need one and I really want to make the next steps to my career as soon as I can, but it’s not like I’m going to be unemployed forever and I’ll find my own path.
- I’m listening more to my body – I’m still making bullet journal spreads and doing what I can to keep myself busy and productive but sometimes, all I want is to curl up on the sofa and watch YouTube videos or I’d rather spend more time on fewer tasks and I go at my own pace. This has actually helped me be more productive in the long run!
It’s a work in progress, but I thoroughly recommend avoiding putting pressure on yourself where possible.
Thank you for reading,