Defined as Numbers: Exam Season Stress Relieve

I’ve been struggling with major stress because I’m facing 4 AP exams, SAT, and finals over the course of 3 weeks. I’ve never experienced so much restlessness during the day but failed to do anything due to the lack of motivation.

I was in a helpless and lonely state when I turned to my friends. Even though they were kind enough to respond to my texts, the dread of sadness still lingered and haunted my mind. I noticed that this feeling is coming from inside of me and no amount of pity and encouragement from the outside will help me if I, myself, don’t chose to change it. So I hopped onto the treadmill again.

The first 10 minutes I was making it: not too intense nor too slacked off. But a few seconds later, something clicked inside my head. I set a goal for myself, the last time I worked out, that is to burn 200 calories in 20 minutes. I’m not sure about how accurately the system measures my efforts, but I didn’t care about that. All I could care about is getting that 200.

This state reminded of what I am doing for school and academics. Pouring my body and soul into getting a 95% grade in my classes, 5 on the AP exams, and 1550 on the SAT. But I realized that these numbers are same as the 200 showing up next to the label “calories” on the monitor; they are all generalizations used to define goals. Numbers, in nature, are simplifications of the nuances of life, made for the convenience of sorting individuals by erasing their uniqueness. They are easy to think about and the simple statement of “getting another 5 point” serves as powerful motivation.

But it’s hard to avoid becoming the numbers. I didn’t make it to 200 calories, and I most likely wouldn’t get all my desired test scores, but I know I’m more than just the numbers. Moreover, I’m are not my goals, either, because placing too much emphasis on the expectation can only do more harm than good. There must be a distinction between the stereotypical anchor points that we pull ourselves towards and the invincibility of our competency by believing in our true, immeasurable identities.

There is no reason for you to stop believing in yourself. Use the numbers as motivations, but do not let it shrink and define you.