After the daunting week of exams after a relaxing Christmas break, you can heave a big sigh of relief that exams are over. Or can you?
If you’re like me, as soon as you leave that hall you’re already second guessing all your answers and thinking about what mark you might get. Just because the exam is done doesn’t mean that the stress has gone away, you’re just stressed about receiving your mark now instead of the task of actually completing the exam. All the while you have to carry on with the rest of your lectures and in-course assessments. The stresses of work can seem never-ending, but its important to remember that even though university is for extending your learning, it’s also about having fun with everything else there is to offer. Try not to get too bogged down by exams and results.
Throughout A-Levels and my first term here at Imperial I have been working on the balance between my perfectionist side and believing that my work is ‘good enough’. It’s a hard battle. To be able to accept when your work is at a good enough standard to hand in and realise that anything else that you add, or any further proof-reading, will probably not add to the quality of your work. Yet there is still that part of you that can’t quite trust that you have done enough.
One way that I try to reason with myself is to remember that my first year is only worth 5% of my overall degree, and getting 100% on every assignment or exam is just unrealistic at university. Firstly, there is a reason that a first is 70%, university exams are challenging and its okay to not be consistently scoring in the 90’s anymore. Secondly, first year is about learning how to study effectively and about the different styles of assessment that you are being asked to complete, in this respect I feel that the feedback you receive is much more important than the overall mark. Make sure you understand how to improve for next time so that you can make the pieces of work that count for more of your overall degree the best they can be. If you’re not happy with feedback you receive, talk to your lecturers and ask for more specific feedback or guidance on how to improve, they are there to help you and you should make use of their knowledge and expertise.
Finally, put everything into perspective. You are at Imperial. If you feel like you’re not achieving as highly as your classmates, or you’re down about a mark you received that is lower than what you’re used to, remember where you are. Not just physically but in comparison to other students around the country, you have had to work really hard to get here and everyone here is intelligent and interested in what they’re studying (hopefully!). So keep that in mind and remember what made you want to pursue your degree in the first place.
I hope this helps you all out as you receive exam results and submit coursework during this term. Its natural to feel a little disappointed if you don’t achieve as highly as you wanted, but the important thing is to not let it get you stuck down. Understand your feedback, learn from your mistakes for next time, and get out and do something you enjoy to take your mind of it.
Wishing you all the best of luck this term!