Anxiety From School

As I was reading Zinsser’s “College Pressures,” I began to feel the anxiety from the description of all the things going on for him while balancing school work. There are so many times in school where the amount of work we have to do while dealing with all the realities of our lives are almost impossible to do. I find this to be realistic because after all, many people have a lot more things going on in their lives where they cannot just focus all their attention on school, even though that is what is demanded to do well sometimes. And a test exam or a paper is not going to show how much work you were physically able to put into preparing. This is why I find the best thing to have is an understanding and compassionate teacher. They are humans too so having them understand when you tell them things came up is such a relieving feeling.
I always find myself to be so overwhelmed by school and all the work I have to do but what helps me to stay calm in these situations is to remember nothing is going to be easy. I know this seems cliche but the reality is all you can do is try your best. My parents always tell me “Try your best and let God do the rest.” I agree with them. If I know I am putting in all the effort that I can, why even stress it? If there was psychically nothing more I could do, the results don’t matter to me. This is not to say I don’t mind doing bad. When I receive a bad grade, I get disappointed for sure, but I try to remind myself that I pushed myself as much as I could.
School comes with a lot of other anxieties other than school work. Just last night, I couldn’t help but feel overwhelmed about getting into Dental School. There are so many things that is expected of you and its so hard to be a super woman sometimes! I really get discouraged sometimes by the fact that it seems like they expect you to be perfect, when I know very well that I am not. I do my best, but what if that isn’t good enough for them? Another thing that helps me to not stress too much is that, if I know that this is really what I want to do and I know for a fact this is something that would make me happy to accomplish, nothing can keep me from fulfilling it. Not time, not rejection, not anything. If it is something I really want, I will keep waiting, keep reapplying and keep pushing myself for it. And it is something I really want.
A piece of advice that Zinsser gives in this writing is, “What I wish for all students is some release from the clammy grip of the future. I wish them a chance to savor each segment of their education as an experience in itself and not as a grim preparation for the next step. I wish them the right to experiment, to trip and fall, to learn that defeat is as instructive as victory.” I couldn’t agree more with this. This really encouraged me. What I think that he is saying is not to think so much about working towards the future in your education, but to learn for the present moment. To learn because you want to learn these things for itself and for yourself. I completely agree with him when he says this educational process is all about experimenting, figuring out what you like, falling and finding out that when you fall, you learn just as much as when you succeed. I really like this advice very much because it is very realistic and true. The one thing that comes to my mind while reading this, however, is yeah that is a humanly way to think about it, but unfortunately, the reality of it is Dental Schools are looking for perfection. They are looking for the high GPA’s and the well rounded, involved students. Sometimes I feel that we don’t have time to experiment when we are too busy trying to please admissions to get what we want.

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One Response to Anxiety From School

  1. I couldn’t agree more with how you feel! Especially with the stress of dental school on our minds! It does seem like all dental schools want to see is the “perfect” student on paper. You know, the 4.0GPA, extremely high DAT score, endless community service, research and activities. But to fit it all in just three short years (if applying junior year like us!) is almost IMPOSSIBLE once you add on – adjusting to college life, work obligations, family roles and perhaps a little time to relax to keep what’s left of your sanity! I really like the quote you used from Zinsser’s essay, and although like you, I would love to agree entirely .. but for students nowadays it is almost impossible not to think of undergraduate school as a competitive next step to reaching our dental, medical, graduate school of choice.

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