Each year, at almost exactly this time…the same thing happens. Finals week is a nightmare in my mind. It brings forward all my insecurities and makes me reevaluate everything I thought I’d accepted about myself. Like the fact I miss class, a lot. And normally I’m okay with that because I know I go as often as I physically can. It always leaves this struggle at the end of the semester where there’s so much I feel like I don’t know (whether I know it or not).
This year was a little different. I had a death in the family last semester and I haven’t recovered. Not even a little bit. I’m a wreck, but I’m good at hiding it. I have this fake smile that I learned to flash as a child. When I don’t want people to know how much something is bothering me. It has slipped a lot, but it holds up in front of people who don’t know me. Professors, classmates, acquaintances.
But its that fake smile and calm facade that makes people assume I’m perfectly fine. So when I miss classes for weeks at a time because I can’t even pull myself out of bed, much less in a car for an hour drive, no one notices that I’m serious. I’m sure most of my professors think I’m just a slacker, or I’m lazy. I try to document things with notes from my doctor and therapist, and the disability resource center at the school knows I miss due to issues.
But I get the same look of disbelief when I say I missed because I wasn’t feeling well. And I wish I could just break down in front of the teachers and let them see the real reason I miss, but my pride doesn’t let me allow a stranger into the little world I’ve built up. At least not in person.
So missing the week before finals was a pretty big mistake. But I didn’t think two of my classes would have take-home exams. They’re with the same teacher. So I’ve spent a week confused because there was no one at the scheduled test time, and I was getting no email responses from the teacher. Now, the night before the semester is over, I get an email telling me that I have a bunch of work and no time to do it in.
That’s what brings forward all those emotions of inadequacy, of not being good enough. I know its almost impossible to pass, because the finals are weighted so heavily. I know I’m still going to try. And I also know I won’t be good enough. And that bothers me. It gives me this feeling of disappointment, like somehow my self-worth was tied into being able to pass or not. And I know its ridiculous, but I can’t help it. And I have no clue how to guard myself against the spiral that will come with the grades, no matter how hard I try.