The final countdown: Surviving the last weeks of fall semester

As finals approach, there is always the unmistakable stench of self-deprecation lying in its wake. Between essays and exams, it is easy to beat yourself up about your accomplishments and your abilities. Finals seem to suck the life and the confidence out of you, and students at the College of William and Mary feel especially dejected during this time. When you have succeeded your whole life in academic settings, how can you come to terms with possibly failing one?

First of all, let me remind you that Cs get degrees. Never forget that, my friend. And second, as you go into this dreaded period of finals, do not forget all you have accomplished so far. It may be tempting to feel down or criticize yourself, but that negative monologue will not help you on this road of broken dreams and flashcards.

Finally, contrary to their name, finals are not the end. Finals do not determine the rest of your life. Finals are final — but the rest of your existence is not.

“But law school!” you cry. “But med school!” you scream.

Yes, your grades affect these important things. But why are you doing them at all? Why are you here? What is the point of all of this? If the point of college is to get good grades, then you need to start reevaluating the thousands of dollars you are paying each semester.

But if you are spending your money for the experience — both academic and social — then hold on to that feeling through the hell that is finals. The true accomplishment is gaining an education — and you will get that whether or not you also get a 4.0.

True education is learning from all of your experiences, and college is one of the best places to do that. Take your classes seriously; try your best, but ultimately, you are here for an education, not a grade.

Just remember, you have spent 13 years or more of your life learning and growing. From every standpoint — biological, social, psychological — you’re still cooking. You’re not done yet. This is only college, only the beginning.

So, give yourself time. Grow. You will do something one day, and it will be great. Will the weeks of finals be great? Probably not. But for now: Be proud of what you are trying to do. Remember why you are here.

Email KJ Moran at


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