Even the best fall down sometimes.

I made it six weeks into the journalism program before I cried, doubted my abilities and heavily considered if I’m really cut out for this.

I’ve written two midterm exams this week — one in my Media & Society class, the other in my Political Science class. I felt okay after the Media and Society midterm, which entailed reviewing a journalism article and whether it was considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’ journalism, together with 3 short answer questions we had to write.  After discussing the contents of the exam today in class, my confidence level dropped.  I completely misinterpreted how I was supposed to write the essay in response to the article, and maybe did half okay-ish on the short answer questions. This discussion came after the poli sci midterm, which I also do not feel very confident about.

So, I broke down.

My anxiety crept up on me in the boardroom as we waited for a guest speaker to come and chat with us. Tears welled up in my eyes and I avoided talking to anyone around me.  I’ve been expressing my anxiety quite frequently with my friends/classmates before and after the exams, and I’ve probably been incredibly overbearing with how much I keep talking about it, but that’s what anxiety does. At least to me. I repeat myself because I am so afraid of failure. I am so afraid of being terrible at something I want to do and know, deep down, that I’m good at it.

My immediate thought upon the class discussion about the midterm (our prof hasn’t looked at them yet herself, but we went over all the points in class), was that I failed. The midterm is worth a huge chunk of our grade, and decided that if I failed the midterm, I will fail the course, and I won’t get to continue on in the program.  If I didn’t do well on the poli sci midterm, it didn’t bother me nearly as much as not doing well on this midterm  — I don’t know why, because I need to pass all my courses in order to go on to the next semester. Failing isn’t an option.

I’m terrified because I care. I probably care too much — I don’t know if that’s possible — but I do. I care because I know I’ve never wanted anything more in my life than to be a journalist and I want to succeed. So, I broke down. And I tweeted about it and the out pour of tweets and positive comments I received from friends close and afar was astounding. Humbling. I don’t want to be a disappointment. I’m lucky to have the support of so many incredible people, and I don’t want to disappoint anyone who has helped to get me this far, in all varying capacities. Most importantly, I don’t want to disappoint myself.

I have one more midterm tomorrow — the one I, along with everyone else in my program, I’m sure, am the most terrified of: my economics one. I’m trying to be as positive as possible about the possible outcome, but it’s not easy when your prof tells you the class average is usually somewhere around 50% or so. Not very encouraging.

I  know it’s only ‘mid-term’, but the end of the semester doesn’t seem that far off. Time flies. If I don’t do well on these midterms, at least I have the time to ‘make up’ and learn from them.

To my friends and classmates: I apologise for my anxiety and overbearing worry. I am working on controlling it.

I’m trying. I’m doing my best. That’s all I can do.

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Author: Jocelyn Aspa

early 30-something. journalist. sports fan. puns. cats. mental health advocate. not taking myself seriously (most of the time)

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