To my University,
It’s exam season and I am so unbelievably proud of myself, but maybe not for the reasons that you might expect. For me, this year wasn’t about exams. Shock horror, I know. It wasn’t about being the best or achieving the best, or about trying to prove that I am some kind of MENSA child prodigy. For me, it was about holding on to my sanity at a really challenging time. And in my humble opinion, I totally aced it; gold star to me. For the first time in my life I have prioritised myself and managed to find a healthy balance in an intensely pressured situation.
Yes, you got that, for the first time EVER, having reached the ripe old age of 28 with several degrees under my belt. Apparently there are some things that I take a while to learn! This year I may not be the best, or achieve the best grade. Worst case scenario, I may even have to re-sit the irksome things, but in the scheme of life, I am alive and I am smiling. I spent this week napping when I needed to, rewarding myself with walks to get coffee and cake, and catching up on Love Island gossip (okay, possibly judge me for that one), around some hours of hard work. Gone are the days when I would spend every minute torturing myself that I should know more, yet never feeling good enough for you no matter how hard I tried. Gone are the days when I am willing to let you convince me that was who I needed to be, in order to succeed.
Twelve years ago I didn’t take for granted that I would even see the end of each day. I was stuck two feet into perfectionist messages, convinced that I would never be worthy if I was identified to be a failure. Twelve years later, with a lot of pain, trauma and life experience behind me, I am finally one foot out. I made it guys! For this, I am so proud of the person that I have grown to become and of where I am standing today. In this situation, my mental health is the winner, and that is worth any number of your First Class grades. I have been to hell and back and am finally learning to appreciate my own strength, courage and bravery. I am learning to be kind to myself – something that I once deemed unfathomable. These are things that your exams will never measure, but are the things that are the most meaningful to me and my life. I hope that you can remember this on results day when you tell me that I could have done better. My question to you is this: how can I do better, when I am already winning?
With best wishes,
The Student who is already winning
Are you taking exams at the moment? You’re not alone! We’ve got some new information up for anyone with an eating disorder who is preparing for or taking exams. You can read this here.