...to think dd18 is putting an unhealthy amount of pressure on herself?(13 Posts)
Dd is in her first year at a top uni, studying a humanities subject. She’s just coming to the end of her second term this week, and exams start in early May.
She’s always been extremely motivated to do well academically - she worked ridiculously hard for all her school exams, from Year 7 End of Years to GCSEs, AS levels and A levels. By GCSEs we were having to force her to go to bed at 10pm each night rather than carrying on revising, and by the time of her A levels it got to the point where her laptop and all her study materials had to be in our bedroom overnight, because she’d start reading through notes in bed. She ended up getting A*s in all her GCSEs and A levels, so she clearly didn’t need all the extra revision she thought she did.
Having got all A*s at gcse though actually seemed to increase the pressure she put on herself - she seemed to have this sense that if she didn’t get all A*s in her A levels that she’d have ruined her “matching set”.
Now that she’s an adult and at uni, I’m getting really worried that her old toxic habits are getting really engrained - I called her this morning and she sounded so tired, she eventually admitted that she’d done two all nighters in a row to get essays done.
She’ll be home on Saturday for 4 weeks, but I’m worried about the effect that 4 weeks of non-stop revising will have on her mental and physical health.
Would I be unreasonable to suggest to her that she needs to take a year out of uni to address these issues she has?
I think that would be unreasonable.
On the other hand, using the 4 weeks to help her get a work-relax balance could be very helpful.
I'm not sure a year out as she probably won't want it but i think learning ways to deal with the perfectionism is essential. Is she only like this with academic work or other aspects of her life?
Yes I think that would be unreasonable. Does she do any hobbies or activies that allow her to relax? All you can do while she's home is encourage her to split her time and take part in family stuff, for example take the dog for a walk.
You could suggest it but I doubt she will listen as a year out would probably be seen as failure to her. I would have a serious chat with her and perhaps find a book on the topic and ask her to agree to read it. She needs relaxation techniques and she needs outside hobbys but she needs to realise this for herself. I really hope you manage to get through to her. Maybe pick something suitable for her (yoga, meditation, swimming etc) and suggest u go along together while she is home and ask her to carry on with whatever it is while back at uni. You could also look at someone who offers counselling on managing pressure and stress and offer to pay for 6 sessions if she agrees to attend.
I think you are right to be worried. I’ve been there, it’s not a fun place to be and can lead to mental health problems. Lack of sleep is not good for her physically or mentally, and perfectionism is no way to live.
She doesn’t have to take a year out though. Get her to read up on growth mindset and academic perfectionism.
Yes I think you would. A break over Easter would do her good but there is nothing that unusual about all-nighters at university. In fact, I can’t think of a time when I didn’t do all-nighters to get essays done. I’ve taken this into my working life as well but I know my limits and what’s safe (I.e no driving after a night of working) Granted it isn’t the healthiest way of doing things but if it works for her you’re not going to change things.
A year out is ridiculous tbh. Setting her life a year back because she revises too hard? There are worse habits to have during university, you know.
Quite frankly if she’s doing an all nighter to complete 2 essays, she was probably completing them right before the hand in deadlines? Which is normal for students, don’t get me wrong, but that is something she can work on and not suspend her studies over.
During uni, I practically worked full time whilst studying full time and still left with a 1st in law. Your daughter just needs to find the right balance. I don’t think suspending her studies is the answer as she isn’t facing her habits, just putting off dealing with them.
No advice, sorry. I'm in the same boat here with DS1. He's in first year of a humanities course too, but the way it works here he's been able to take some second year classes early. He's disappointed in an 80% result he got for a 200 level midterm where he was throwing up with food poisoning the morning of his exam, and where a large proportion of his lost marks were just down to failing to spot a block of questions on the back of one page of the exam. Understandably frustrating, but he still got a great mark and he knew the answers to the missed questions - he was just under the weather and that affected his concentration.
He expects far too much of himself and does too much work and not enough relaxation, imho. I have no clue how to help him change that. It's not as though he doesn't need to change, either. He's developed anxiety at uni and needs to develop a bigger friendship circle to help beat that, but "doesn't have time"...
Hope we can both figure something out to help our dcs.
The university will have a counselling service for students - get her to book an appointment with them. Might be hard to get in so if you can pay for therapy it'd be quicker. But the uni counsellors will be experienced with this sort of problem.
People with this kind of work ethic often do well in life, especially with those sorts of grades, but she does need to learn to balance things, because that's how she'll have the energy to do super well long term.
Also, find out if she's using energy drinks and caffeine tablets, that's a common thing for students to do, especially in first year when they're all egging each other on, and it's a bad idea long term - if she's using those try to talk her out of it.
That is the norm in Asia and some competitive universities in America.
YANBU to suggest it at all. This sounds exactly like my dsd, we managed to convince her to take a year out before going to uni and it was the best thing for her, I think she would have has a breakdown if she had gone straight to uni.
The pressure she put on herself through gsce's and a levels was insance and I saw her mental and physical health decline so much.
A year out wouldn't allow her to develop more sustainable work strategies. I'd think encouraging her to talk to high achieving students and her tutors about what a balanced day might look like that enables her to still achieve as highly but in a way that doesn't cause long term problems. Really important she pays attention to this now (she needs to decide whether this is an anxiety thing, or if she finds work harder than others who work less or what is at the root of this worry) else it'll likely continue into her work life/PhD
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