Help me deal with this particular procrastination/brain paralysis problem around doing difficult schoolwork.
posted by hought20 to education (10 answers total) 25 users marked this as a favorite
When I perceive a class as difficult, I put off doing the work way too long. This is the opposite of what I ought to be doing, in a hard class. Right now, for instance, I am taking a statistics class that seems very hard to me (even though it's the second in a series and I did alright in the first class last semester). I believe that I am capable of doing the work, but I seem to have built up such an emotional mess around actually doing the work that either I put off starting it or when I do start it, I end up working for a short period of time before I get something wrong or hit a place where I am lost, then I get frustrated and have to step away to grouse or cry (yes, seriously, and I swear to you that I am not this delicate and touchy and jumpy about, well, anything else in my life), or I give up and do a half-assed job at answering the question without really learning the material to the degree that I'd like because I know I'll get partial credit and, at some level, I know that I can get through the whole semester like this and probably end up with a B in the class. That's how I usually deal with this feeling, which is a kind of panic or intellectual insecurity.
I don't want a B in this class, and I really want to learn the material so graduate school is worth something more than a piece of paper to me.
I am taking two other classes, and I have no trouble doing the work in those classes (even though one of them is econometrics, which is supposed to be difficult). It's almost like I've fixated on this statistics class as the "hard" class this semester.
I know that the general answer here is that I've got to buckle down and do the work, and as I do the work it will get easier and easier. What I need are tips for getting myself calmer about the whole thing, for shutting down the part of me that's freaking out when I try to get the work done. That voice that says "you totally can't do this so why are you even trying?"
Once in a very great while I can approach difficult material with a happy little beginner's mind, calm and serene and willing to take my time to learn, and that's always great, but it's so, so hard for me to get to that place, especially when I've got homework due (even though, in the end, being calm doesn't really slow things down, so it's not like being frantic helps even a little bit).
Difficulty: I am working full time and taking three classes and I have a 7 month old kid. I know that this kind of workload is making it all more difficult, but still, there has to be a way to help me sit down and get hard things done in the time allotted to me.
Oh, and before you suggest it, yes, I am ADHD. I am on medication, and the medication helped me (immensely!) in every area EXCEPT this one, so I strongly suspect that this isn't an ADHD thing. I am also in therapy, though my therapist is on leave for a few weeks (so, hello, Ask MeFi!).
I think it's an insecurity thing, but y'all don't know me well enough to have a good idea what's causing it in me, so I want to hear about your experiences.
Which brings me to my question: Have you dealt with this particular kind of homework paralysis? Did you figure out what was causing it? How did you get over it?
P. S. I have statistics homework due today. I've got 2 and a half problems done, sort of, out of 9. I want to finish it by the end of the day, or at least by the end of tomorrow (one homework can be a day late). If you help me calm my shit down enough to do this well rather than half-assed, I will be so grateful. I've only got another hour this morning, and then the rest of today after about 3:00. This homework is worth a tiny, tiny fraction of my grade, but still. It matters.