We’re all Struggling right now, with a capital S. I feel the exhaustion on a spiritual level. This being my first year, it’s the first time I’ve ever had to hustle like this academically, and I’m so relieved to not be the only one struggling. These passed couple of weeks have been non-stop “no sorry I can’t hang out, I have to write an essay” and “I don’t know, I haven’t had a chance to read it yet.”’
Admittedly, I’ve fallen behind in my classes. I used to think this was something to be ashamed of, to never mention out loud to anyone. But luckily, I have friends who are in the same boat, and some of the panic has lifted off of my shoulders. If you’re surrounded by people who seem to have everything handled: don’t worry, you are not alone in being overwhelmed.
An important thing to remember, and something I’m still leaning, is that there is no shame in needing help. I was so anxious about asking my literature T.A. for an extension, but it wasn’t a negative experience at all, he was completely understanding. Your T.As are there to help you better grasp the content and work through the course load, not silently judge you for not understanding to the full extent.
With all this time I’ve spent locked in my bedroom, procrastinating or actually working, I’ve realized some things about my work ethic.
I’ve learned that I have to be realistic about how much time I’m willing to spend doing homework without taking a break. I used to schedule in large chunks of assignments in a single night, forgetting to leave time for eating or petting my dog- big mistake. HUGE.
Because I was unreasonable in my timeline, I started feeling anxious about how long everything was taking, and the stress was stopping me from focusing on my homework, and then I was getting anxious about being anxious…it’s a vicious cycle.
I also came to accept the fact that my phone is a very powerful distractor for me. One minute of scrolling through the Instagram discover page turns into ten, and then half an hour. I’ve started turning my phone off and putting it somewhere out of reach so I’m not tempted to grab it when I see it. One time I closed my eyes and threw it somewhere in my room—I wouldn’t recommend this though. I couldn’t find it for a while.
I also often found myself overcome with sorrow at the idea of spending an entire evening doing homework rather than watching Netflix or playing video games. For this reason, I’ve started leaving myself an hour of time just before bed so I can feel like a human being for a little while rather than a writing machine. This gives me something to look forward to, and inspires me to work faster so I have more time. Another way I bribe myself to do work is promising future-me something special that I live for: pan fried dumplings. I buy a $3 pack of them from nofrills, and for every question I complete or chapter I read, I eat one!
What kind of stuff do you use to bribe yourself to do work?