Falling behind and panicking

I’ve tried to keep up with my studies this semester but have found myself behind in my assignments. Last week I stopped going to the gym or out with friends to try and catch up. This is my last semester and I can’t afford not to finish. I am studying all day everyday but I am not sure it is enough and getting panicky. What can I do?

Now is a good time to be reviewing your progress with your studies this semester. I wonder why you are behind in your assignments? Perhaps you have put your energies into other activities or perhaps you are already working at your best. If you have applied yourself and are still behind, you may need to improve on your study methods. The Academic Skills Unit helps students with their study techniques. This is a free service to students.

Please keep in mind that a bit of anxiety is important for your study. We need the energy and the push it gives us to be motivated and to think and write quickly in exams. While too much is bad, don’t think being anxiety free as ‘functioning properly’ – I’d be concerned if you were totally anxiety free. However, in deciding to cease going to the gym and seeing friends, you have left your life out of balance. It is important to be studying with the most healthy body and brain possible. The brain, the organ that is involved in thinking and learning, needs looking after. Some of the things that will keep your brain healthy and maximise your capacity to concentrate and study are exercise and social connection (interacting with friends). This is precisely what you have cut out of your life. It may well be better for you to plan when you will be social and when you will exercise around your study. I often suggest to students who are time-poor, that they meet friends for meals, and schedule exercise and study together.

It is not uncommon for students to visit the Counselling Service with mood and anxiety problems due to their having ceased to look after their emotional and physical health in order to study. The myth is that not taking care of yourself means you will be more successful at university. In fact the opposite is the case!

How about a timetable with the study you need to do AND your exercise and friends timetabled in? If you timetable time to study, socialise and even a bit of time for just relaxing in front of your favourite TV program then do so without guilt, enjoy the time and freshen up your brain. If these strategies are not enough, come and talk to us at the Counselling Service.