My name is K., I'm 22 and I am a CoSTA.
Yeah, you read that right, I'm a Compulsive Stresser Anonymous.
I can still trace back precisely when I had my first stress.
I must have been all of 7 years all and I was a pretty confident kid until the "cool girl" in our class told us that the key to succeeding at a test was to think that you failed it.
I guess that the point that she was trying to make was that you'll always be pleasantly surprised with your results if you think that you bombed an exam.
To my naive, influenceable brain though, what she was saying is that seeing yourself as a failure was the key to success.
Sadly, I'm afraid that thought has never really left me even though, over the years, it has morphed into something else :
a deep belief that I'm bound to fail.
Take last year.
I got pretty good grades at all my exams, yet, if you had asked me after each one of them, I would have told you that I didn't know how good it had been but that hopefully I had managed to safe face.
Do not even get me started on my mental state before my exams.
I have been known to cry myself to sleep (figure of speech, I actually manage to sleep very little) and to pop medicine like it's candy to soothe my terrible cramps.
Can you say wreck ?
I stress before and after an exam, until I get my grades.
If my grades are too close from 12/20, I stress that I won't have my average.
Hell, I even stress when I'm not stressing because if I'm so chilled, it obviously means that I'm not preparing myself good enough and that I'm gonna fail.
This year though, I'm gonna have to change my years because all my usual patient listeners will be M.I.A.
My parents think that I'm a bit crazy after I had a particularly nasty meltdown in January, convinced that I was going to fail my year then of course, my life.
Mind you, I hadn't had any exams then and my closest ones were 6 months away.
N. has started Med school and will have slightly more important things to do come finals than to listen to me wail on the phone.
Still, the biggest change this year is gonna come from Mr K.
For the past 4 years, come exam session he becomes my caregiver / psychiatrist / cheerleader and all around mama bear.
Sadly those days have come to an end.
Mr K. is now also studying for a Master's degree and he will be in his very own pile of shit.
There will be no crying my eyes out come bedtime because Mr K. will need his rest, no endless complaining because he will need to study...At 22, I'm finally going to have to be a big, independent, responsible girl and this might be what stresses me the most about this exam session.
I can't say that I remember how I felt when I started to ride my bike without training wheels, but I'm pretty sure that I'm feeling the same right now.