I failed my first college test ever this past week.
It wasn’t because I didn’t study — I actually studied three hours the night before and two over the previous two days. It was because I stayed up late studying the night before and throughout that week to complete homework. As a result, I had insomnia from my illness and stress.
I know I did well on the multiple choice section, but I struggled with the short answer. I failed that test because I couldn’t remember anything. I almost cried while I took that test and left the room (but I didn’t because I would’ve become so ashamed). I kept looking at my professor, hoping he wouldn’t notice.
After struggling to recall the information, I gave up and turned the exam in half blank. I ran (literally, ran) out of the business building, dialed my mom, and sobbed on the phone. “Mom, I just failed my midterm,” I said through tears. I cried so hard that she actually asked me to repeat what I said about three different times.
As if the day wasn’t already bad enough, I had a panic attack right after that and called two friends over to calm me down. I also missed rehearsal that afternoon, but I was so exhausted that I didn’t care at this point.
Was all this misery over one exam grade really worth it?
I’ll be honest, I cried when I first saw that grade. I’ve had a 4.0 the past two semesters with full class loads and have never earned less than an 85 percent on any college test, both quizzes and exams.
What have I learned from this experience?
It is important to let your body rest. Every person needs downtime, but this time is even more critical when your body fights chronic illness. I thought I was invincible from the physical consequences that result from lack of sleep. God showed me I’m clearly not and has severely humbled my prideful nature throughout this situation.
Even though I wanted to cry, I also felt God’s peace wash over me. He told me it will all work out, somehow and someway. I’ll still pass the class, but without an A. It tears me apart, but I realize that God is trying to teach me that I’m not defined by grades. He, and others around me, still value the person he created me as. Yes, I may have disappointed that professor and myself, but I am also facing an illness that saps the life out of me.
It’s a miracle that I’m even alive with all the trauma and weight loss I’ve experienced over the last year. God kept me alive for some reason and it is important that I receive his grace for the mistakes I’ve made. Someday, I’ll look back on this situation and see that the grade wasn’t as important as I thought — my health was more important than my academics.
Learning the lesson the hard way
God has tried to teach this important lesson for a while, yet I’ve taken on more activities this semester than previous semesters. As a result, anxiety and stress plague me and frequently forget things — assignments, orders at work, anything I’ve studied, doctors appointments. It’s time I stopped trying to be perfect and recognize that God still values everything I do, even if I can’t perform with the same excellence I did last year, when my body was healthier.
God has clearly told me that my health is the most important thing at this point and I cannot remain healthy if I deprive my body of physical needs like rest or even spiritual needs like fellowship with other believers. I encourage all my readers to listen to God and care for the body he gave them. I learned my lesson the hard way and I hope nobody else has to endure a similar situation.