>Don’t sweat the small stuff

>So I’ve been aimlessly wandering the internet and stalking food blogs for about an hour and half now. See, I can’t sign up for my work shifts until “April 8th” aka tonight at midnight. My physics exam was pretty awful, and I designated tonight no-homework-night. Nothing is due tomorrow, and I will survive.

I am a perfectionist. There, I said it! I am cookie-cutter type A personality. Organized, tense, constantly busy, stressed, overwhelmed, driven, determined… C’est moi! Sometimes it’s great, who doesn’t want to be driven in life? Other times, it’s absolutely awful. Tonight it was the latter.

My exam didn’t go exactly as I planned. I have been studying hard, and I planned to go out to Yogurt Rush (fro-yo and toppings bar, yum) afterwards to celebrate with friends. Instead I wanted to curl up into a ball and cry. To think I ever considered majoring in physics is beyond me. Maybe a red flag should have been the constant crying fits I had after physics tests in high school? Maybe?! 

I should be the poster child for this ad.

So I wallowed in my sadness as I walked back to my dorm. After failing the last one, I thought this would be different. Not even partial credit can salvage my grade. I tried talking to Adam, but I couldn’t even muster up the energy. The exam was a dementor, and it sucked out any happiness I had in me. (I’m from the Harry Potter generation.) So I was going to just hop up in my lofted bed and turn on the waterworks when Joanna popped by for a little. After a few hugs and some pep talk, I felt a little better. Then before I knew it, I was talking with Kayla and Joe. Suddenly we were sitting around my room laughing and having great conversation.  Before me appeared yogurt rush, courtesy of Joanna. (Who could say no to fro-yo?!)

My brain tried to tell me, “You just failed an exam. You should be upset, stressed out, and worrying!” and I wouldn’t listen 🙂 Yes, it is bad to fail an exam. It is not good however, to blame yourself and let it take over your entire being. I am not the worth of that exam. (Although my grade might say differently.) I need to study extra hard for the final, but the world didn’t end, my dorm room didn’t catch on fire, and I am not out of peanut butter.

…and should thus not be a goal.

Okay, so failing and perfection are opposites. That may be true, but aiming for perfection is just going to feel like failing every time. I was having a conversation with my therapist once, “Yeah, yeah, aim for perfection but settle for excellence… I know the phrase.” “That’s an awful phrase. Why are you settling for excellence? Excellence is excellence! It should be celebrated, not settled for.” How insightful; I hadn’t even thought about it that way.
My friend, Matt, always calls these bad thoughts I have “the voices.” It’s true. These voices tell me I am not worrying enough. They tell me that I’m not good enough. They tell me that the world is going to end. They tell me nobody loves me. You know what I am saying back?
It’s hard. Sometimes, I stay quiet and listen. Other times, I shout it at the top of my lungs (in my head). I have to try hard every day to silence the voices… Every day that I succeed, however, is one day closer to putting them to rest.
How I silenced the voices after failing my exam:
  1. I hugged people.
  2. I talked to friends about the exam, and then we talked about something else.
  3. I drank tea and ate twizzlers.
  4. I ate fro-yo.
  5. I listened to relaxing but upbeat music.
  6. I stalked food blogs because I wanted to.
I was able to get by with the help of my friends 🙂 I feel very blessed. I will have to deal with the consequences of the exam. Failing an exam isn’t all sunshine and rainbows–I have a lot of work in front of me to prepare for the final. Worrying about tonights exam won’t help me prepare. Stressing about what has happened what help me. What will help me is learning from my mistakes. 
Tomorrow I hope to get to the gym to get a great workout in. I have a biology advising appointment, so I hope to share some good news soon. Two highlights from the day before I leave….

     I tried a new granola bar. (It was pretty good!)         We played with fire using waves in physics.

“There are no failures – just experiences and your reactions to them.”

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