By Jim Picht
Today is the first day of finals at my university. Some of my students seemed stressed this morning. One told me that yesterday he’d had to study for two final exams as well as prepare his presentation for my Literature and Law class. I replied that he had all semester to study study and prepare. This week should just be a matter of fine-tuning and getting enough sleep. That's hardly the sympathetic answer he wanted, but it's a lesson that needs learning.
There are others. If you’re feeling anxious about your final exams, here’s some food for thought: What's the worst that can happen when you take an exam? You fail? Is that as bad as a traumatic brain injury or cancer? Is it as bad as a divorce? Being fired from your job? The death of a friend? The death of a child? On the cosmic scale of awfulness, failing an exam comes pretty low, probably somewhere between a paper cut and the flu.
You don't get kicked out of school unless you fail a lot of exams, and if you fail a lot of them, perhaps you should find a life path that doesn't involve having to pass calculus.