Nontraditional Students & Crisis of Confidence

>> Monday, April 20, 2009

nontraditional student stress
Do you do it too?

I don't know if it's because I'm a nontraditional student or just because I am a total neurotic - but I hate, hate, HATE, handing in my essays any more.

I was up until 6:30 this morning finishing my CanLit one - at about 5:30 I started thinking

"OMG this is crap; I can't hand this in. I am going to fail! What if I fail? My last essay was crap too. Oh God, I'm going to fail!"

Got myself totally freaked out and even though I eventually did hit send on the damn email and go to bed for a few hours sleep, the pit of anxiety in my gut just will not go away.

I'm working, now, on my proposal re: my Major Research Paper. Everything I have done this year has been leading up to this paper. I have had the opportunity to talk to my advisor, other profs, get (and incorporate) feedback from them, fellow students, etc. I have read hundreds of academic articles. I have written essays related to smaller sections of the whole.

I know what I'm doing and how I am going to do it - and I can't seem to write a blessed thing.

Well, I can ... but then I just can't seem to keep my hand from hitting the Delete key.

Crap, crap, it's all crap!

I don't have time to be neurotic this week. I need to get this proposal sent off to my advisor so that she has time to review it before it has to be submitted to the department.

And then I still have another major paper (20+ pages) to write, and 20 essays to mark - although I think rather than torture myself with a block of 20, I'm going to start doing them a few at a time - would be nice to at least start seeing that number go down.

And maybe at least in comparison to those, my own work won't seem like such crap any more?

So.... what do you think? Is this a nontraditional student thing? Or am I just neurotic?


  • Patricia Rockwell

    I think being neurotic is a non-traditional thing. The youngsters all think their essays are brilliant!

  • flit

    ah, if only it were so ...I wouldn't be procrastinating on the marking I need to get done!

  • Stephanie B

    I love ya, flit. You know that. But you're neurotic. I absolute forbid you to use the delete key until you've got the first draft done.

    Then you have to have a break of at least two hours before you go back and mess with it.


  • Stephanie B

    And, no I don't do it, but I'm not a student. I also know damn well I'm good.

    I do have that issue when I send in fiction, though.

  • Studentmum

    I go through the exact same thing, I even emailed my lecturer about my proposal because I was so worried about it. She couldn't understand why on earth I was worried - I got a A2 for it!
    I think its a 'nontrad' thing, the younger ones appear so confident - or less anxious anyway. My Dissertation is done, but I am having to practically tie my hands behind my back to stop myself from fiddling with it. It's due in next Tues so I've locked it in a cupboard! I also understand the 'read loads can't think of a thing to write' anxiety. I think its a process that has to be got through before the real writing starts.

    Good luck

  • Kelly

    I think it's just a neurotic thing...I was like that as an Undergrad, but I'm a perfectionist and I'd get really stressed out thinking I'd fail and never be done with school....


  • flit

    I think I was far more confident as an undergrad - at least after the first few papers... once I knew what the profs were looking for.

  • Mesdames MaKabre

    As a non-trad undergrad, I was ultra-confident my experience stood above the others. As a grad student, I lost my feeling of brilliance because everyone shone. In the real world I polish 'til satisfied and then send off my writing - editors like it or not and I start again.

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