As you are undoubtedly perceptive enough to realise from the title, I’ve been wasting time. Not doing what I should be doing. Both here on the group blog (sorry, group blog) and in real life, where I live in my carbon/ water body.
Fellow students will know that it’s been deadline and exam time at universities. Actually, my university fulfills its manifesto of ineptness by having deadlines at unpredictable times from november to late jan, and has 3 full weeks of exam time this month. As a devoted procrastinator I’m not complaining about the lack of teaching, but it’s still somewhat lacklustre.
So, I’ve had some deadlines to meet, and an exam. Two of the deadlines out of 3 I met, leaving them perilously close to the last minute (yesterday I managed to write slightly over 3000 words from 2-10pm). This is a dreadful habit, and I wish dearly that I could find some way of motivating myself so that I would faithfully and steadily work on assignments, little bits at a time, until I reach the deadlines without feeling like my heads about to explode.
Here’s my pattern:
I leave reading and research work during the semester ever so slightly late, though I have the best of intentions to catch up with it soon, honest!
I don’t, preferring to read feminist blogs online, watch Dexter and reassure myself that whatever catching up I need to do is still achievable.
I make a comprehensive timetable detailing deadlines and assigning subjects to days.
I fail to follow said timetable.
Time rolls round to about a month before the deadline (often less), and by this time I am too anxious to even *look* at my task description. Every time I sign into the student portal online, I feel physically sick. I rarely have enough nerve to press the link that will show me my task specifications.
I tell my psychologist that I can’t cope. He tells me to use TIC/TOC methods as we discussed (task interfering cognitions versus task oriented cognitions).
I further reassure myself that I have time, really I do, and perhaps I can just start really early tomorrow and work rilly rilly hard every day till the deadline and I’ll be fine.
I avoid going anywhere near anything that reminds me of my work for the next week.
Finally, FINALLY, a day or two, maybe even a week, before the deadline, I manage to sit through the itchy, nervous, sick-with-fear, mind freeze task of looking at my coursework documentation. Sometimes I can’t read it all in one go. Sometimes I have to print it out without looking at it because I’m so afraid to look at the actual words.
I lose myself in spiralling panic – there’s so much to do! I’ll never get it done in time, why WHY do I keep doing this to myself? Occasionally, this is as far as I’ll get – my fear gets the better of me and I hate the thought of all the mental effort and anguish it’s going to take to produce a piece of work that’s not completely awful this close to the deadline. I take the cowards way out and decide to resubmit when the time comes.
When I’m feeling braver, though, I push through the anxiety and start to try to get anything done that will somewhat meet the brief and get me a passing grade. Pushing through the anxiety is incredibly hard; every minute or so at first, I’ll get the powerful, nagging urge to get up and do *anything* other than what I’m doing. I’ll feel too sick to continue, or wander around aimlessly, or lie with the dog. If it gets really bad, I’ll start to feel as if I’m going to faint imminently; my neck feels tight and horrible, like blood isn’t getting to my brain, my skin feels tingly and every time I sit down and assume the position for keyboard work it gets lots worse.
So, in retrospect I’m proud of myself for getting 2 assignments out of 3 in. The third, I admit, overwhelmed me. My psychologist is helping me get mitigating circumstances for it.
Anyone got any tips for studying well for the new term?