It is that time of year when many of my clients are finishing up the school year. Whether stumbling or triumphant, each teacher, student, administrator, etc. will be done with the bulk of their work for this school year within a months time. Because of this, there is a general feeling of tiredness that is in the air when you step foot on any campus. I have had many the conversation with high school students and teachers about how they just. can’t. even. with these AP tests and finals. And I have to say- I get it. As I have spent the majority of my year studying for my licensing exams, I have been reminded of just how hard it is to keep your head in the game when you are exhausted and ready for the end. I recently watched the Life of Pi and, however dramatic this may sound, identified with the feeling that I saw in Pi as he would weather a storm at sea, trying to just hold on while waves are crashing threateningly around him. I remember many moments in the studying process that I would have to convince myself that I was the type of person that did not drown in the storm but held my ground and got back up when the waves calmed. This is where grit comes in. Grit was the process of knowing that, despite my exhaustion, I had what it took to keep getting up. Remembering this feeling makes me wonder if that exact process is the basis of grit- that having grit may often mean choosing to believe in yourself even when the odds are stacked against you. And I don’t use the word “process” here lightly. The “I can’t even” days were many- days where the waves started to pick up pace and leave little time to breathe between contact and it seemed like the only option was to succumb and give up. But in these days, I instead chose to trust myself. There were evenings when my energy was low and I knew that the best thing that I could do was to let go for that night and watch 4 episodes of The Office to lighten my spirits. There were weekends when I chose to stay in to study with the knowledge that my people were cheering for me on the sidelines and were patient to wade through the storm waters with me. The grit that guided me was the belief that, whether I took a night off or studied for 8 hours straight, I would be okay in the end. Not because I would undoubtedly be successful- but because I had the grit to keep going no matter the outcome.
Janie "Hermione Slasher" McGlasson, MS, MFT-Intern works extensively with adolescents, adults, and couples and specializes in the areas of attachment, trauma, and grief.