AP finals are not the finale of our lives

AP finals are not the finale of our lives

This is it. For seniors, these are their final days — some of the happiest of their lives. For AP students, these are what they feel are the final days of their lives, and some of the worst times, too. The nervous energy has been floating through the air for weeks now, and it seems we’ve neared a breaking point of both students and stress.

I find myself getting swept along with the busy hustle of AP exams as well; I’ve devoted weeks to studying for these tests that in the end, will last less than six hours combined. In final attempts to cram my mind full of all the last minute minutiae, I find myself casting off my other responsibilities like one does when stamping the mud off their boots when they enter the house. I forget my miscellaneous homework and tasks and leave them at the doorway. Every second of “free time” is not free time at all because it is all devoted to these next two days. These next six hours. These final AP exams.

The day before the AP Lang exam, Ms. Scobell was giving us last minute exam and essay tips. No cliches, vivid verbs, and voice — we are not unaccustomed to the reminders she rattles off. But before she closes out her time, she says something that had me smiling to myself. She drew a circle on her whiteboard. “This is your life,” Scobell says, “And this dot is the exam. A tiny dot on the grand scale of things.”

It’s as if everything clicked. All the hours spent wondering how I would possibly make up all of the test and quizzes and work I’m missing to take these exams. How I can fit everything I need to do into the shortest amount of time. How I have studied for weeks but none of it seeming to be enough. It all was staring right back at me. This is just six hours. These are only two days. These are the last AP exams. I find myself understanding, for the first time, that my life will not end after I walk out those doors. My life will not crumble when I receive my grades in July. Nothing will end; if anything, these tests are the beginning of everything.

I have been so caught up in the thought that these exams are “end all be all,” when in reality, these exams won’t tell me more about myself than I already know. I took the classes and survived them, isn’t that enough to be proud of? I learned more than I ever thought I would. I grew and stretched myself in ways I never would have allowed myself to in any other situation.

These AP classes are opportunities. We learned, we studied, and probably cried once or twice along the way. But we made it this far, and we only have these final days left. They won’t determine the rest of our lives, and it took an Expo marker and a whiteboard for me to finally understand. As Brad Anderson and Scobell continuously remind me -which I think I will finally take to heart- go to sleep, wake up, eat well, and go tackle those exams. In the end, it’s all about stamina and just believing that you will do well and that your score won’t end your life. We’ve gotten this far, let’s make the best of these final days.