When this time of year rolls around, it’s hard not to think about growth. For every image that the winter months conjure of death, withdrawal or stillness, the spring speaks equally loudly of vibrance, dynamism, and change. Throughout every spring semester we’re given an opportunity to witness that change and, if we so choose, to be a part of it. We watch nature undergo a profound change and new life begin to bloom all around us, while we go through a battery of intense testing and some of us even graduate.
If our exams don’t go particularly well, it’s easy to focus on the period of death and coldness that we just left behind, but to do so is to miss the changes that are emerging all around us, and to miss the opportunity to harness those changes for our own growth and well-being. There have been so many times in this short semester that I’ve heard exchanges between friends as the days wear on, commenting on the beautiful 70 degree weather. Sunny, breezy days like that are an invitation to go outside and seize what time you have, and put it to use for your own self-actualization and improvement. Even something as simple as natural sunlight flooding a room with illumination can feel like a rallying call from nature on your behalf.
In the spring we get the great advantage of being able to take our exams and especially our finals while there is still sun in the sky and leaves on the trees. It’s difficult not to become preoccupied with death or with failure when taking critical exams in the middle of bleak December, deserted by the sun and surrounded by the dry chill of Texas winter. Taking exams in the spring, we look forward to sunshine, sunny days, and all the promise that summer brings for us. Instead of seeing our punishment looming ahead, our reward comes closely into view.
It’s easy to remain stuck in the winter mindset, to feel like you need to redouble your efforts and apply your full focus to every task in fear of the consequences of failure or distraction. So much more is possible, however, in the mentality of spring: Focusing and applying yourself not in fear of failure, but with the hope and happiness that success will reward you with.