Finals: Pass, fail, no credit

Congratulations! We have successfully made it to the end of Fall semester 2020. It has been a year of unprecedented obstacles and complicated adjustments. Yet, we have all applied ourselves and persevered in the face of adversity. Now there is an opportunity to pause, reset during winter break, and bask in the glow of small triumphs. What this oft difficult period in history is teaching us is how to find the inner strength to counteract whatever life and circumstances present. It behooves us to learn this lesson well and apply it to every facet of the circuitous journey ahead.

For some, the end of the final examination period marks a joyous occasion. For others, it can be the culmination of anxiety and dread. It boils down to what is perceived through the lens one uses to view life. How we react to triggers like criticisms, insecurities, or challenges; impacts how much we grow and what we can achieve. I suggest that we all consider adopting a different outlook. A fixed mindset suggests that we are born with innate gifts and talents. But that also implies that those abilities are predetermined at birth and remain fixed. A growth mindset, however, advocates that with hard work, practice, strategy and advice, our skills can be developed and cultivated. It is up to each of us to choose which mindset we will subscribe to. Those who elect to adopt a growth mindset, learn how to effectively adjust to the uncomfortable process of persisting in the face of failure. Therefore, their success is measured by their acceptance of how much they have learned and matured rather than by a subjective average or accolade from external sources.

I offer this takeaway on Fall semester 2020 and final exams. Try to have confidence in your work ethic and believe that regardless of the grade you earn, you are more knowledgeable than when the semester started. Vow not to allow fear and anxiety to overtake your self-confidence and dominate your circumstances. Use the break between the Fall and Spring semester to have empathy for yourself and for others. Most of all, don’t lose sight of yourself in the midst of chaos. Have faith and hold onto hope.

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