“Do you see a man skillful in his work? He will stand before kings; he will not stand before obscure men.” [Proverbs 22:29]

With finals starting, most of us feel a lot of pressure and stress. It can seem like so much hinges on a final test, paper, or project. With this in mind, our staff wanted to write some wisdom we’ve gained on how to do finals week well. So, over the next few days, we hope to encourage you and remind you of God’s perspective in the craziness of finals week.

We can get trapped believing two common extremes regarding school--none of it matters, or, it defines you. The truth lies in the middle ground. School does not define you, but your work really does matter. It doesn’t measure your worth or value, but it is an important part of your life that requires your effort. Therefore, pursue excellence in whatever you do.

When it comes to school and work, Colossians 3:23 is a great verse to remember: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord..” As I’ve grown, I’ve learned a few simple pieces of wisdom regarding school.

Put the work in

In every aspect of life, you have the opportunity to put the work in or cut corners. If you cut corners, from a distance it might look good, but you’ll find the consequences in the details and in your character. Professors will notice the lack of effort; employers/clients will recognize the way excellence is being compromised for laziness. Do what you can to put in the work

You can literally only do your best

Read it again. If you’re doing your best, you’re doing excellently.

Care about what you’re doing

You will work excellently on the things that you care about. If you really like a class, you’ll find it easier to work diligently in comparison to a class that you dislike. So if it’s not natural to care about what you’re doing, try to find a way to care. Ultimately, go back to Colossians 3:23--it says “whatever you do” do it for the Lord. That’s a surefire way to start caring about something.

Pursue excellence not perfection

Here’s the truth: you’re not perfect. If you hold yourself to an unattainable standard, you will be frustrated and burdened in whatever you do. God does not call you to produce a perfect product every time. But he does call you to excellence. Start asking the question “what does it look like for me to do this excellently?”

So, in this finals season especially, I encourage you to create for yourself a standard of excellence. Let go of anything that hinders you--pressure, apathy, perfection, and choose to do as well as you can. You got this :)