How to get through to graduation?

Discussion in 'General Advice' started by Erica, Apr 22, 2015.

  1. Erica

    Erica occasionally vaguely like a person

    I'm graduating in 40ish days and everything suddenly (ok maybe not so suddenly) became very overwhelming.
    Mainly because our teachers suddenly realised that there were only a few more weeks til they had to be able to grade us so half of them impulsively piled even more work on top of the load we already had. Yaay. And like logically I know that we're probably still not as bad off as the people who have actual-proper-finals (which I don't, due to, eyyyy, Sweden) but I'm still freaking out because so many essays, and tbh I prefer tests to essays because with a test you go and you do it and then you're done and maybe you didn't get an a but, done, but with an essay you write and rewrite and augh information from where cause it's never in the books and you have to actually be properly finished by the due date cause turning in an unfinished essay won't get you a passing grade the same way only knowing 2/3 of the questions on a test will, it'll just get you failed.
    I've always been pretty good at school (and always been really bad at taking care of myself, and of actually doing any school work) and I set a goal for myself, grade-wise, which is 100% possible to achieve but right now I'm not sure I will because I've been screwing up so badly lately.
    Sorry for the rambly intro. I guess what I'm actually asking is this:
    1) How do I not stress out this badly over everything??
    2) How do I make friends with the idea of possibly not reaching my goal for the past three years without feeling like a terrible person and a failiure?
    3) Will life-after-school really be just more of the same?

    Tips, insights, opinions, anecdata? Right now I just wish I could go back to being five years old for a few days or so.
  2. seebs

    seebs Benevolent Dictator

    Life-after-school will definitely be different, anyway.

    And I have no clue about the stress thing, but I'll tell you this, the importance of your grades declines over time.
    • Like x 1
  3. Erica

    Erica occasionally vaguely like a person

    Different is good. I think.

    They have no actual IMPORTANCE now, either, given that I haven't applied to anywhere else yet (might next year) and that either way they'd most likely be good enough to get me anywhere I want to go cause I don't want to be a doctor, it's just that I had A PLAN, you know? Like I told myself I would do this thing, and set the bar reasonably high, and now I am just... potentially completely failing to meet my own expectations.
    It's irrational and silly to be this upset about it and I'd very much like to stop.
  4. Kaylotta

    Kaylotta Writer Trash

    Hey, I dunno what degree you're going for or anything, but speaking as someone who graduated with a Bachelor's last year and has been flailing around in the 'real world' since ...

    breathe. you're gonna be okay. (I know you know that, but sometimes it helps to hear someone else say it.)

    Focus on one essay at a time. Find a mindset of "this is what I am doing right now". Not "I have to finish these because OMG GRADES", not "if I don't do these my goal will be catastrophically ruined", not "fuck I hate essays I'm such a failure". Those thoughts will come by. Let them. Say hi. Acknowledge them, and then put them aside and say "okay, I am doing this essay now. this, right here, is existence. one word after another. one thought after another. just gonna prove my point. that's all i have to do right now."

    And yeah, the panic thoughts are gonna come back, and you're going to have to keep setting them aside, and it's not easy, and there will probably be times where you need to set everything aside, stare at a wall or a mindnumbing Flash game or a cup of tea, and let all the thoughts just kinda flow, before your brain will have been properly pap-shooshed and you can go back to railroading it into essay-land.

    It might also be a good idea to take half an hour with a cup of something nice and think about what your goal was, and what it might be now. Because, from personal experience, the freakout over "i'm not achieving my goal that I've held for years" was calmed down by saying "wait...i'm not even sure I want that goal anymore." From which it was a way easier step to "well fuck that then, this doesn't define me, i can make a new goal if i want, and that doesn't devalue anything i did over the last few years because i was working towards that goal, and I did a good job of it, but i'm allowed to change my mind so ha." Yes, you had a plan. That's good, and it's cool, and you clearly seem to have worked hard towards it. Kudos! That's awesome. Way to be! You're allowed to change the plan whenever you want, in response to whatever occurs, and you're no less of a person for it.

    (You may need to do this a few times. You may want to write it down to get it out of the infinite circle of brain. Maybe even write the goal down and burn it? Who knows. Brains are weird and sometimes funny things let us let go of stuff.)

    Life after school, if you ask me, is definitely not the same.

    The biggest happy thing for me, so far, is that no one is grading me on what I do. That alone took tons of stress off me.

    The biggest negative thing for me has been the lack of imposed schedule. (I'm a freelance artist and part-time research assistant. I have depression and anxiety. I have issues motivating myself to keep a schedule, but I cannot survive in a schedule that does not allow for spoon-recuperation.)

    Your mileage may, of course, vary.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2015
    • Like x 4
  5. pixels

    pixels hiatus / only back to vent

    I'm graduating in a week and a half from law school. I totally get it.

    One thing I learned is: you're going to pass your classes, you just might not like your grade. And sometimes you have to let your grades go for the sake of your mental health.

    Also: school is not at all like work. I've been in work in my field, I've been in school in my field, I've been in school-designed-to-be-as-like-work-as-possible in my field. Work is totally different from the other two. You have a set daily schedule every day, you have people who mentor you as well as set expectations that actually match your personal skill level, and you actually get to go home at the end of the day instead of continuing to work-from-home. Plus, y'know, money, which is a huge stressful thing while I'm in school but not while I'm bringing in a paycheck.

    #sorry for any typos #kahlua and studying for finals #hoo boy
    • Like x 2
  6. Raire

    Raire Turquoise Helicoid

    Hi Erica!

    I graduated two years ago in a highly unadvisable depression+overwhelming aaah fugue, of which I have few memories (depression and not sleeping enough tends to fuck up memory making), but what I do remember that I wished I had done amounts to the following:
    1) Ask for help. I asked for help late into the game, halfway into my final semester and with no idea of what to do, but if you talk to your professors and other resources you might a) get advice b) get some extensions and c) get some emotional support and check ins. I got loads of help, and I wish I had asked for it from the start, but I was in denial and feeling caught in between guilty and useless for not managing it on my own (not doing it on my own meant I had failed because I wasn't an adult or smart enough. This is dumb.
    2) Eat well. Seriously, if you can manage, eating healthy and regularly helps keep you sane
    3) Sleep. Sometimes you just need to take a two hour nap and reward yourself with ice cream before going back to the grind.
    4) Ask people, heck, even us, to remind you periodically to do something for yourself, and to tell you that your grades don't define you, don't make you useless, or worse.
    5) Hey, so you might not be getting your reasonable high grade, but look at what you have! Every time you get a negative thought of "but I SHOULD HAVE or I PLANNED TO and now it ISN'T" maybe. see if you can turn it around to reward yourself for the simple stuff. "I didn't get an A+ on this essay" (I have no idea what the grading system is like there) could basically be "Neat, I got a B+ on this essay and the prof said I have a good grasp of the complex interactions involved in [subject]! I only have to improve on [thing], that means I did a good job!" This is hard, but can get easier with practice.

    Basically, do what you are doing: reaching out and try and remind yourself that hey, stuff is ok, other people have gone through this, to take a breather when stuff seems overwhelming.
    • Like x 4
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