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Fear of failure stops me working towards my final uni exam - advice really needed please.

(12 Posts)
Felix75 Wed 29-Apr-15 22:01:57

I have 6 weeks until my final exam at university and I don't have enough time - my exam is more of a practical thing than written, so you can't really cram revise for it, you're supposed to spend hours working at it. (Sorry if I'm being cryptic)

I'm really working myself up about it and have spent the last hour/days crying and beating myself up about it instead of doing anything. Has anyone overcome a fear of failure that causes you to procrastinate and not even attempt something in the first place because you might not do well at it? Any advice?

On a lighter note, I'm already thinking about how I can defer it - any foolproof plans?

Sorry if this is a bit of a first-world problem, I know lots of people have genuine problems in the world.

VegasIsBest Wed 29-Apr-15 22:04:21

You just need to start work. Stop putting it off, worrying etc and just start. It must feel over-whelming right now but you're obviously intelligent and hard working if you've made it this far. So just start!

Good luck.

MillieMe Wed 29-Apr-15 22:45:11

Create a time table /schedule, stick to it don't hold it off any further, you can do it! The finishing line is near you've spent years getting to this point you can't stop now. Show them what you've got, its not too late. All the best x

Linskibinski Wed 29-Apr-15 22:57:49

Please please just do it. Twenty years ago I deferred my last module through fear, then a couple of weeks later I started work. I'm still in the same job and I never finished my degree. Only now my job is looking uncertain and I am desperately wishing I had just finished the damn degree! Now I'm at night school clawing my way through a course that I shouldn't have to do. It's costing me a fortune and it's ridiculously hard. Please don't make my mistake, you've got this far you are nearly there! Just hold your nerve YOU WILL NOT FAIL!! Holding a hand out to you and hoping you make it through sadflowers

AmazingDisgrace Thu 30-Apr-15 00:00:15

I remember very clearly procrastinating over my dissertation. I know this is a different thing but you must now set yourself a timetable of what you need to do and when. Stick to it, even when you hit the wall of feeling you can't do a certain bit then move on, do something else related to it and go back until it is done.

Is there anyone you can ask to help you stay focussed? I had a huge amount of help from a senior academic in my area of study who wasn't in any way connected to my university but I'd previously spoken to him as my dissertation subjects was something of a specialism for him and he'd taken an interest in me. Not help as in 'write this' more just regularly checking in with me which stopped me dithering. I couldn't let him down!

Littleham Thu 30-Apr-15 10:01:47

I was a bit like this until I started writing lists. Open my head up and you would find a giant folded up list.

Each evening I write a list of the ten things (some easy and at least one stinker) that I would like to achieve the next day. I include a small reward half way through day such as cake and another for the end of the day if all ten have been achieved.

I still do the lists now and it is amazing how it forces you into becoming efficient. Good luck. flowers

UptheChimney Thu 30-Apr-15 20:14:52

You're indulging in catastrophising thinking. Its basically self sabotage and self indulgent.

You need to the task down and set out a time line working backwards from the submission date. Work out what you need to have achieved by the end if each week, and then by the end of each day.

Set achievable goals but which also stretch you.

Break the task down.

Achievable goals mean that you get a virtuous circle of positive reinforcement. But also goals which include a bit of stretch and challenge.

Sometimes people think it's fear of failure because the idea in their head is far better than ever they can achieve. But as a famous writer once said: You can edit bad writing, but you can't edit a blank page.

Very good advice.

LeBearPolar Thu 30-Apr-15 20:25:23

Tell yourself that if you don't get on with it you definitely won't do well at it? confused

Surely whatever you produce will be better than doing bugger all? I mean, at the moment, never mind fear of failure, you are guaranteed to fail. Doesn't that bother you enough to get you going? As UpTheChimney said, a little bit self-indulgent!

Set yourself an hourly/daily target and stick to it. Sometimes when I get overwhelmed by working towards a deadline that is days or a week away, I just work out how much of the task I have to complete by the end of the day and work towards that deadline instead. And I am firm with myself: I always make my brain believe that deadlines are absolutely non-negotiable (even though I know colleagues miss them with no fatal effects) and that whatever else happens, I will meet them. And I always have in the end.

FaFoutis Thu 30-Apr-15 20:26:26

I do it all the time and I'm a lecturer.

The hideous point you are at right now Felix75, is usually the point where I launch myself into intense work. I have to go through the procrastination, terror, self-loathing build up first.

Setting up small goals doesn't work for me because if I don't meet them (and I don't) I have to go through the procrastination, terror, self-loathing cycle all over again.

Thow yourself at it and work night and day if you have to. There is nothing like standing outside at 4am, full of caffeine and ideas. You only get this if you procrastinate first!

boatashore Thu 30-Apr-15 20:42:19

My DD is very much like that, and came within a hair's width of jeopardizing her entire school year. She pulled it together with the help of a very organized form teacher who helped her "chunk" her work, and worked with her to create a realistic timetable. As Chimney said, -- break down the task, and set achievable goals. It does work. But you may need help.

My DD also found that exercising when things felt overwhelming worked wonders. Last night she went to the gym even though she has an exam this morning, because she knew that if she stayed home she would get agitated. After the gym, she put in a good study session and then slept.

Does your university have a mental health counseling service? They might also be able to help. You won't be the first student in this situation. My DD suffers from anxiety. It's fairly common.

Lurgano Mon 04-May-15 11:34:57

The other way to break the procrastination paralysis is the say - "I will just do 15 minutes." That is not daunting and is achievable - do the bit you like and believe me before you look back up at the clock you will have done an hour.

Then just keep making the 15 minutes commitment.

It will be a big release and relief -- you will feel proud of yourself.

The not doing is like self-harm and is painful -- it still terrorises you in your head.

Do not defer - It is a runaway fantasy - I did this in my first year at medical school - still managed to mess up only v slightly on the retake (one Q in one part of one exam out of 11 subjects) - but I was thrown out -- my longed for career as a Dr over. Now 48 - in a dead end job -- many many regrets.

Good luck - be kind to yourself - most of us feel overwhelmed - but just take a little step to break the cycle - and all will be fine.

This book really helped me. www.amazon.co.uk/The-Procrastination-Equation-Putting-Getting/dp/027372326X

Maybe read a chapter a day to guide you along?

VegasIsBest Mon 11-May-15 17:54:21

How's it going Felix?
Are you making progress?

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