[Forgive the non autumn-related post!]
Ever since I was a little kid, I've gotten way too stressed about school. I remember a specific incidence that occurred in probably 4th or 5th grade. I was sitting on my bed, bawling over a science project that seemed far too overwhelming at the time. I had taken out a sheet of paper and listed every step in the process that needed to be done (I still do this today in my assignment notebook with post-its and complex schedules). I read over the steps and just felt a wave of stress come over me. The tears were instantaneous. My dad presumably heard me crying, because he came into my room to see what was wrong. I remember him trying to calm me down, saying it was completely manageable and I had no reason to stress.
Fast forward 10 years: an almost identical scenario is unfolding. My 19 college credit hours are a little more intense than any 5th grade science project I can imagine. On a daily basis, I have to attend classes, prepare all my meals, work out (well--most days...), do extracurriculars, plan for the upcoming week, and try to keep up with my TV shows and get enough sleep. This semester, I've had more homework and responsibilities than ever before. Tomorrow alone I have to write a 2-page literary analysis and complete a lengthy group project which culminates in a 40 minute presentation about a current event. The prospect of this was just too much for my brain to handle tonight.
So I cried. Because deep down inside, I'm the same over-emotional, over-achieving elementary schooler. I really care about doing well in school. I don't want to have to rush through assignments. I want to do each little thing to my best ability. And when it seems like that's impossible, I get very frustrated and hopeless.
If I could go back and give a word of advice to my 5th grade self, I would say: Chill out, Ellen. You're in 5th grade. It doesn't really matter if you get an A or an F on this. But you're going to get an A, because you are great at time management and you know this will all work out in the end! So, I should probably say the same thing to myself now. I got the tears out, I had 2 cookies (stress eating. yay, great, calories). And now I just need to take a breath, plunge into my work, and come out on the other side with a smile on my face.
In the end, when I think back on college, I'm not going to remember the grade I got on a paper or a group project. I'm going to remember the fun times I had with my friends, the crazy things I did, and the achievements I made in my personal life. Just gotta focus on that mantra...then maybe my inner stressed-out-child will calm down a bit.