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Finding Yourself After a Toxic Relationship… With Your Exams

Humor columnist Sneha Uppal provides advice on getting over your worst ex, aka final exams

It is finally over. Goodbye poorly written textbook. Adiós two-hour sleep nights. Au revoir having to walk home alone in the dark at 2 a.m. from Clemons Library. Hello liberty!

But, after pumping your soul out and bleeding yourself dry in this imbalanced and controlling relationship with finals, it can be hard to remember who you truly are again. Who were you two weeks ago, before the hollow and dark eyes? Who were you before looking at a squiggly line made you shudder with the fear of integration? Who were you before your coffee intake increased from two cups a day to eight? Who were you before you overanalyzed and questioned the existence of every letter, punctuation mark and number? 

These questions may keep you awake at night and you could lose out on the sleep you can finally get now that finals are over. So, how do you break this vicious cycle? Below, I have listed three tried and tested tips and tricks to rediscovering yourself after your toxic relationship with your exams. 

The Standard Method

What is the standard method? A wonderful question. When toxic relationships end, it is necessary to part ways with all the items and memories associated with your ex. People let loose while throwing out the clothes and belongings of the other person, deleting all photos of them and unfriending them and all their friends. So, do the same. Grab your textbooks, study guides, notebooks, pens, pencils, laptop and anything even remotely related to the exam. Try not to cry looking at them. Try not to remember the good times you had, like when you spent seven hours rereading the textbook and color-coding your notes. Do the thing that will help you the most in the long run and put yourself first. Burn them. The long term benefits exceed the short term ones. Just do it.

Get a New-You Makeover 

It is typical after a breakup to hit the salon, spa or gym. But, after finals you need the make-over to end all make-overs. You are dealing with dark circles and sunken eyes, skin blemished and inflamed from stress, hair greasy from how much you nervously ran your fingers through it and eyes red from long nights of staring at the computer screen. Many people spend thousands of dollars on treating these issues, but we are on a student budget, so let’s DIY it. 

We will start with the greasy hair. If you are dark-haired, bleach it snow white. I promise it will literally never be the same again. Don’t worry, hair as dry as hay in a drought season is “in” now. Better yet, just get rid of it. That one works if you are light-haired too. Now, the eyes and face. If you have dark circles, do not sleep. You are a university student — sleep is a disqualifying offense. Instead, make a face mask. Zip around all of Charlottesville looking for exotic and obscure herbs, powders and essences. Mix the cement — apologies — facemask together and leave it on your face overnight. Add turmeric — it will add a nice touch of color to your white pillowcases that will never come out. When you wake, you will hopefully have a fully cemented face that will ache as you try to groan at your 7 a.m. alarm. When you remove the mask, you may find something shocking. 

The Splurge-a-thon

In trying to remember yourself, sometimes we need the aid of a toxic rebound. I have just the one — an old flame of yours. To ignite it, engage in a full blown splurge-a-thon. Keep in mind that a splurge is only effective when your checking account balance goes from around $3,057.94 to $29.32. That margin can give you the leeway to test the big question — how outrageous are your financial decisions? It will bring back the preoccupations you had two weeks ago, when you were the real you. And your old flame — the financial shock and psychological trauma of the miniscule number now in your Wells Fargo account — has been rekindled, burning brighter than ever before. It will shock your body back into who you truly are, someone completely broke.

Voilà! You will no longer wander the halls aimlessly feeling empty inside, with nothing but hazy white noise in your head. Instead, you will wander the halls frantically, knowing your wallet is empty and with your mind on looped songs called “I’m So F—ing Broke Broke Broke,” “I Need to Find a New Job” and “Tell Me Why I Bought a 200 Dollar Ryan Gosling Standee?” all featuring chartbusting artists such as A$AP Anxiety, Panic! at 3 a.m. and Insomnia Grande. Trust me, you won’t be thinking about your finals anymore. Instead, you will be reunited with the ghosts of pre-finals you. 

If you chose to follow one or all of my tips, I want you to close your eyes. Turn to your mirror. Open them. You may be surprised who you see. It’s almost like looking at a photo of who you were before these exams. Except it’s real, it’s you. You dug deep and found who you were before that exam. 

Until the exam grade is posted.


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