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Why Getting a 100 on an Exam Can Be Scary for My Mental Health

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After years of struggling with my mental health and trying to balance it with my social life and education, I came to a realization. Mental health had to be my priority. Coming to this realization wasn’t easy; it took years of different approaches and different methods to balancing my life until I just had to accept it for what it was. I would never be the straight A student I wanted to be, I would never be the fun party girl I wanted to be, and that wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. I couldn’t let it be a bad thing. I had to learn to accept that getting one B was okay if it meant I was functioning, if it meant I was happy.

So I learned to study as much as I could considering my circumstances, get out as much as I had the energy to, and to check in with myself and my mind by journaling every day, eating well and getting enough sleep. I learned not to let a bad grade or a missed event stab me in the chest a hundred times.

But then I got to college, into the “real” world, and I couldn’t give myself the freedom I had before. I have a GPA I must keep in order to keep the scholarship I need to afford my tuition. Even though it’s not much, it’s less student loans I will have to pay off later. So I can’t always let my mental health be a priority. I’ve been struggling a lot more and it often feels as though I am going backwards.

I worked so hard to understand myself and my mind and my body. I worked so hard to figure out the best ways to keep myself happy. And now, I just disregard all that because my mind says, “School first. Grades first.” And that’s what I do. My grades are better than they’ve ever been.

But every time I receive a 100 on an exam, my chest hurts. While some would feel pride and excitement, I sit back in sorrow because that 100 means I put 100 percent of my attention into that grade instead of my health. That means that there’s a reason why I’ve been feeling so sad inside: it’s because I’ve been disregarding my mind, which should be my priority. It’s hard to prioritize myself when the world out there needs more from me, when what I can give is just simply not enough.

Follow this journey on My View of the World.

Getty image via tommaso79.

Originally published: December 13, 2019
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