I am a very anxious person. Like, I get anxiety about anything and everything. Including, and especially, about finals.
Last year as a junior, I was FREAKED out over finals. “These matter! Colleges are going to see this! No sleep until I know everything! Why did I take so many AP classes?!” was all that I could think about. Especially considering the fact that half of my grades depended on my final, I was stressed to the max.
And as a lot of my close friends will laugh (or groan because they’ve heard this story so many times) thinking about how this is a Classic Meredith Story, here’s my funny story about finals junior year. I’m even laughing just writing it.
I like AP US History because I actually find the content somewhat interesting, but let’s be honest, the class is hard. My grade was depending on the final, and being someone that easily forgets everything content-wise, I had serious studying to do before the test. I stayed up late with my coveted Princeton Review book, just quizzing myself over and over, hoping to eventually understand whatever the heck was happening in the 1850s.
It was an afternoon final, and my morning final was my AP English test, which happened to be a speech that we had to dress up for. Some will say that this is what caused my traumatic experience, but I swear, public speaking does nothing but make me feel good (Like I said, I get anxious by everything. At least let me have public speaking). So the only relevant part of this is that I was all cute in a skirt and everything. I had been studying allllll day and specifically remember gobbling my dumb peanut butter Clif bar and Diet Coke that morning, even though I kind of wasn’t that hungry. GOTTA POWER UP FO DIS DAY, I told myself, PROTEIN MAKES YOUR BRAIN STRONGA. Yeah…..um….maybe not so much.
I had lunch, but skipped it and went to the library where I ate yet again another peanut butter Clif bar. I didn’t feel well in the library but figured it was just nerves.
I walked proudly into my APUSH class (with my favorite teacher, by the way. It’s not like he’s some crazy mean teacher; he’s super nice) and even though the class was super hard, not as many people were as nervous as me. Moments before my teacher stood up to pass out the test, I went up to him and told him that I didn’t feel very well. He just looked at me and said, “Go.”
So ‘go’ I went……and I went just about everywhere. I stepped out in the hallway and before I could even really move very far, I puked EVERYWHERE. All over my nice speech clothes. I had no clue what to do because I knew it was going to happen again but ya know, you don’t want to just leave it! So I stood frozen as some kid down at the very other end of the hallway yelled, “Dang, that girl just puked! Ewwww!” I awkwardly made eye contact with one of the administrators and she knew what to do; I looked down but kept running.
I finished the 200 feet into the bathroom but before I could even get around the corner, I threw up again. My mind raced, why was this happening to me?! I took another step around, literally three feet away from a toilet and threw up on the floor.
WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME?!
This girl came out of a stall and literally couldn’t do anything but stare at me because she couldn’t get out without stepping in it. I just kept crying, “I’m so sorry! I’m so sorry!”
And then the funniest part? The part that I’m still laughing about today but will gross you out completely? A girl walked into the bathroom, and without seeing the vomit, laughs and says, “It smells like peanut butter in here!”
Oh my gosh. I lost it. I’m just standing there, sick, trying not to laugh about the fact that she doesn’t realize she’s smelling throw up, and that it’s my throw up.
But I fixed myself, and feeling much better (obviously), I walked out into the hallway where a few more female teachers kept trying to calm me down. Like, jeez, I’m fine at this point! My teacher asked me what I wanted to do, but heck, I was ready for the final and didn’t just puke my guts out to quit now, right?!
So I again walked proudly into my classroom and sat down to take my final. No one even knew that I had just humiliated myself with a big scene involving my inner organs. I’m not kidding….. no one knew until I mentioned it. That’s pretty funny, too.
I don’t know what happened that day or why I felt so nervous, but I’m happy to say that it’s never happened again. Or maybe I just haven’t had that big of a final. So many questions from that day, guys.
(after the AP test in the spring.)
Here’s what I learned from that day (and from the rest of finals and midterms and test taking):
These tests are very important, but don’t let them control your every waking thought. I know it’s hard, but you’ll feel better if you realize that you know the content and can actually do it.
Eat healthy. Probably the most important. You’ll hear it over and over to eat a good breakfast, and that’s a duh. Don’t overeat (which is very easy to do) and don’t undereat. Eat protein full snacks and try not to eat processed foods that will mess with your digestion. Even if the healthy food isn’t necessarily going to make you feel physically better, it’s almost like a placebo. Eat healthy and you’ll mentally feel prepared. And drink lots of water! You’ll feel so clean.
Understand the effects of caffeine. I have a friend who recently overdosed on caffeine. Yup, you read that right. And no, we’re not the type of girls who can go without it, and we always thought that those sorts of things didn’t really happen. But she said it was the scariest thing. Caffeine is amazing sometimes (it’s the reason I’m awake during the day), but when I drink too much, it makes me jittery, sweaty, and really upsets my stomach (wait……maybe this is why I threw up??), especially when it’s really acidic like coffee and Diet Coke. I don’t drink soda anymore, but I do try to drink tea (hot or iced, I switch it up) because it’s not as hard on my stomach like coffee is. And still, trying to limit caffeine.
The same goes for exercising. I think what saved me during finals of second semester junior year was making the decision to work out every single day. I felt tremendous and full of endorphins. You will say, ‘No, I have to study! No time! I don’t feel good!’ I swear, you’ll feel better.
Sleep. Yeah, here’s me being your mom. But if you don’t know the content at 1AM, you most likely won’t know it at 2AM, or even remember it at 9AM. Sleep and feel good about yourself. When all my finals were over on a Friday, I remember coming home to get ready for some event and laying down on my floor. I passed out asleep and no one knew where I was (whoops).
Dress well, test well. I’m not saying you need to wear your Sunday finest, but you know how you feel invincible when you wear a super cute new outfit? That’s how I feel when I at least put on real pants or a comfy skirt for tests. You’ll call me crazy for it, but as long as you’re comfortable and confident, you’ll feel more put together, not like a mess.
Just calm down. Now, if only I could tell myself that at this time last year. YOU CAN DO IT.
And yeah, I know that I’m no expert on finals, but I do know that these things make me feel better.
I BELIEVE IN YOU.