This post is largely just going to be a rant and also largely to help me organize my thoughts and clarify what my current problem is. That said, advice is very much welcome. (Also, just a heads up, they’ll be some mild cursing in this post, hopefully that doesn’t bother anyone and sorry if it does).
I’m a junior in university and my fall semester just started 2 days ago (on the 14th) remotely. I feel like a complete failure right now. I haven’t done any homework. I mean literally, I’ve been going to my zoom lectures (well, actually I missed one because I forgot about it, but other than that I’ve made it to all of them) but I just haven’t been doing any of the homework. I haven’t even looked at it. I know I have homework I need to do and required course materials I still haven’t bought but I just can’t get myself to do it. I feel like I got so adjusted to vacation that I’m having a hard time getting back into the routine of the academic year and an even harder time since everything is remote and I’ve always struggled with remote learning.
Something I’ve known about myself for awhile is that my productivity and the degree to which I seem to have my shit together varies from week to week and from day to day. For example, in the couple days leading up to the semester starting, I felt like I was doing good, staying on top of things. Now, I can barely get out of bed in time to log on to morning lectures and I’m not doing any homework. So maybe I’ll “snap out of it” soon and have a couple days or a week of high productivity. But I know another bad week will follow that one. It feels like I can never stabilize into a long term sustainable routine of productivity, just bursts that last 3 or 4 days at most, and I feel like that means I’ll get no where in life.
I really feel like I’m not going to graduate. I’ve had this sorta sinking feeling for the past year or so that it just won’t work for me and I’ll never finish this fucking degree. I did the first 2 years worth of credit at community college, which was a lot easier than university. I transferred to university last semester and barely passed my classes and over the summer I reworked my degree plan in such a way that extends it by a semester, so while this was supposed to be the second semester of my junior year it’s now my first semester of my junior year. It seems like every semester there’s a class I drop because it’s too hard and looking at some of the required classes I still have to pass to get my degree, I just don’t know if I can do it. I’m a math major so a lot of the classes are upper level mathematics courses and tend to be really difficult. I feel like there’s a certain aspect of imposter syndrome to it as well, but I don’t think it even is imposter syndrome since I really don’t think it’s just in my head. All the other students in the major seem to be smarter than me. Other students talk about easily getting As in courses I struggled to get a C in. Plus, what I want to do with my degree seems to change month to month and sometimes even week to week. Long term goals are impossible for me to form, so I barely even know what I’m getting this degree for. I started taking community college classes at 14 and got my associates at 17. There was a time when I thought I’d have a bachelor’s at 19 (I’m 18 right now). Now my degree plan says I’ll get it at 20, but when I see all the classes I’ll probably have to retake or drop or put off, I feel like I’m just never going to get it.
My family thinks highly of me. They talk about how impressive it is that I started college early and I’m getting a math major and I know that they’ll love me no matter what, they’re really quite supportive, but I’m afraid of that pride just sorta draining away slowly. I feel like they’re just going to watch my continue to stretch out my degree plan further and further and never be able to move on with my life and eventually I’ll have to drop out and admit that adult life just isn’t something I can handle. I really don’t want to admit to myself or my family or my friends that I failed out of university, but I feel like that’s where I’m heading.
I’m also not sleeping well. I’ve had insomnia for years without realizing it and finally made an appointment to talk to my doc about it over the summer. We talked mainly about lifestyle changes I can make to sleep better and we also adjusted my stimulant meds a bit (I take my afternoon dose sooner now and my morning dose was switched to slow release with a slightly higher dose). We have a one month follow up scheduled for September 14th where she said if it seemed the lifestyle changes weren’t effective enough on their own, we’d talk about some pharmaceutical solutions. I really feel like I need that, but I also feel like my insomnia is my own fault because I haven’t been maintaining the lifestyle changes she recommended, which had been daily exercise, healthy diet, and a more consistent sleep schedule. It takes me hours to fall asleep each night and because of morning classes I’m getting maybe 5 hours of sleep a night. I’m exhausted and more hyperactive all day because of my insomnia. I don’t know if I can wait until the 14th the follow up appointment. When I do finally have the follow up, I think I’m going to more strongly emphasize that I think I need some pharmaceutical help sleeping, I’ll probably start with something over the counter like melatonin, but I’ll talk to my doctor about that.
Okay, now that I’ve sufficiently ranted about my problems, here’s what I’m currently at least planning to do about it:
- Get back into using my bullet journal. I haven’t used it in a couple days and it’s still the best system I’ve found that works for me.
- Go for morning runs. Jogging is the form of exercise I find I can stick to the best and it helps with my focus and my sleep. Starting tomorrow, I’m going to try getting back into it, even if it’s not every day and even if sometimes it’s just a 5 minute run around the block.
- I’m going to try completing 2 homework assignments today. No matter how small, I really need to at least START doing some of my homework, and 2 assignments seems like a good place to start.
- I’m going to take a shower. For me, the more I spiral the less I practice good hygiene. I haven’t showered in a couple days, so I should do that today.
- I’m really going to more seriously look at CBT and probably bring it up with my parents. I’ve been thinking about starting it for awhile but putting it off for awhile, I think it’s getting increasingly clear I could really benefit from it.
So yeah, I have a plan and hopefully I’ll make progress, but I still feel like I’m falling apart. My entire university experience feels like it can be summarized with the phrase “one step forward, two steps back” and the bullet points above just feel like the one step forward part. But anyway, thanks for letting me rant, it really does help me. Also, best of luck to anyone else whose struggling.
EDIT: Felt like posting an update. I’m doing better since posting this. I’ve gotten out of that downward spiral and while I still don’t feel like I’m totally on top of things, I’m taking steps in the right direction. I’ve been able to start working on my homework and doing some studying; while I’m still procrastinating and getting things in at the last second, at least I’m getting most of them in now. I also dropped down to part time (3 classes instead of 4) so that made my schedule a bit more manageable. I’ve also had a couple consultation sessions with ADHD coaches and am going to set up regular sessions with the coach I found most helpful.