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Final year stress - help please!

(5 Posts)
Katkins1 Mon 10-Mar-14 18:49:34


Posting here as I know lots of people will have been there, done this or have useful advice. I'm a single Mum, one DD, 6. In my final year of Undergrad; offer made for Masters next year if I get 2.1 or a 1st.

I've been quite depressed lately, due to a bereavement, so am getting mitigating circumstances as soon as I can get a doctor's appointment.

I'm so, so stressed. I have so much work due in the first week of May, and so much reading, I just don't know where to start! I'm trying so, so hard with it all but can't help feeling that I'm failing, and won't actually get to graduate. I don't have many friends at uni either, because of my depression.

I work as hard as I can, but there just don't seem to be enough hours in the day to do everything!

I'm so scared and stressed right now; I need some advice, please?

BeckAndCall Mon 10-Mar-14 19:30:10

Firstly katkins - take a breath! You can do this - the fact that you've succeeded this far AND have a masters offer proves that. So well done you.

You need to apply the 'chunk and list' approach. Write down all the things you need to do in chunks on a list: by hand or on excel if you're very geeky like me.

Have different columns for different aspects of you life that you want to keep on top of - so home related, work related ( if that applies) family commitments, child related commitments, as well as academic work. The academic work must be in small enough chunks to fit into a working session - which may be two or three hours? No good putting 'write essay' - it needs to say 'background search on Internet'; case study write up; bibliography - that kind of thing.

Then make a timetable with all the days and week between now and the begin inning of May. Now put into the calendar all of the must dos - and the 'I really want tos'. Then put in your DDs school holidays.

Now the gaps are there for the list stuff. Be realistic about how much you can let go - no good having 4 academic work sessions in a row if you know you need to do washing and it's not done - put in the house stuff in a designated session and then you won't feel guilty about doing that too.

And then print off and colour it in ( if you like) - and then enjoy the ticking off stage!

me thinks I maybe enjoy organising a bit too much

Katkins1 Mon 10-Mar-14 19:59:31

Wow! That is organised! Thank you for that advice, it's helpful.

I honestly don't know where my time goes. I can spend entire days with a task of academic work (I do write up specifics and allot times), and STILL seem to not to get it done!

My DD is only at with me one week of the Easter Hols (at the child minders the rest), and I survived over Christmas with assignments due in, so having her around as I work isn't too bad. Sometimes I take her in to uni with me and she just reads books etc.

I'm just really, really feeling the pressure; even though I'm super organised (but can't work excel- I do a week by week list). I don't know if its my depression and the fear of I have to get master's funding and a job next that are terrifying, too.

PenelopePipPop Mon 10-Mar-14 22:26:48

'I honestly don't know where my time goes. I can spend entire days with a task of academic work (I do write up specifics and allot times), and STILL seem to not to get it done!'

Yeah that happens to me and I am an academic. Once you start procrastinating professionally you start feeling a whole lot more relaxed about it.

I think BeckandCall's advice about making your workload seem manageable is really sound. But I also think you need to rearrange your thinking. You know you have suffered a bereavement and are depressed. You know your department understand and these extenuating circumstances are recorded on your academic record which may help if your exams go tits-up. Why are you still trying to work at 90mph? Would you be more productive if you allowed yourself some time to not work and to not think about results or next year? Maybe you need to allow yourself some space to feel sad for a while.

I'm not suggesting grieving is trivial and if you allow yourself 2 weeks off you'll be fighting fit again. Grief doesn't work like that. But it sounds as if you have so much on that even breaking it down feels overwhelming. Prioritising yourself may make you more productive in the long-run.

As someone who has been personal tutor to a lot of students I know that your response to this will be that you don't have time because you have essays to write, lecture notes to write up etc. To which my response would be if the exams are in May do you have time not to take a breather now?

Katkins1 Mon 10-Mar-14 23:41:23

Thanks, Penelope. I've not got the mitigating circumstances recorded yet, I need to go and get a doctor's note. I think it's because they are all extended projects, so not working on them feels counter-productive. And it's very early May, which is 7 weeks away, so to me that feels as though it's not much time at all.

Grief is an odd thing. I have some days where I feel fantastic, and others where I feel absolutely awful. It used to be minute by minute, then hour by hour, now its day by day.

It's hard because I think I'm getting better, making progress etc. and then along comes a whole load new reading and everything- and I get lost again. I have never written up lecture notes ever, I just the notes I took there and then, but as I progress, I find I need less and less notes, and rely on my memory more, with just short notes. I actually get 1sts that way; so my memory and/ or understanding must just be good. I consider myself lucky. I just really enjoy my studies, so that really helps, I think.

I have calmed down a bit now. I have pre-existing MH issues, so have a bit of a wobble frequently. Thank you for the replies.

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