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Dear Miss LAJA,
The semester is in full swing and I find that when I’m having a hard time in school, it affects my mood a lot and I don’t like it. I’m taking a class that’s known for being difficult and I went in with the mindset that things would be ridiculously hard and I would tense up right before the lecture started. Basically, things aren’t going so great in that class. How do I break away from this fear?
I understand your situation because I’m actually in the same situation in my Maths class. Everyone always said how difficult the maths class was and it’s one of the most failed classes in my school. Hearing that and knowing you’ll be taking the class in the near future is not at all encouraging. I went in with that mindset and I would tense up and/or freak out right before the lesson started because I automatically assumed the material would be impossible. Guess what? It was because my brain was all jumbled up with unnecessary anxiety and honestly, I struggled.
I finally went for Spring Break, did some thinking and I realized it’s all in my head. It was all me. I was far from being Maths impaired so where was all this coming from? I let what people said get to me. I let the fear control me. I was holding myself back back because I thought I wasn’t good enough.
I had to make little changes to my lifestyle. I didn’t want my academics controlling me and messing with my self-esteem/mood. Failure did not define me. I decided that every single morning right when I get up I’d say out loud to God
“Today will be a good and productive day”
“I will be positive”
“Something good will happen today and it would be better than yesterday”
I say this every single day. It works. Honest.
I also got extra help for my Maths class, spoke to my prof and cautioned myself to STAY focused on the material instead of worrying about how difficult it would be for me to understand it. It wasn’t easy but I really wanted to rise above my fear. Basically, I step back and thought to myself “Is the material that hard?”. When you hear something so much, you actually start to believe it.
I stopped scoffing and laughing humorlessly when he wrote some ridiculously long problem on the board because I realized yes, it was funny that he actually expected us to learn this but I was indirectly telling myself I couldn’t do it. My mistake was going in with the mindset that this was one of “the most failed class at Duke”. Yes, it’s a hard class but that’s not reason enough to accept failure. When I “gained control” of myself in that class, I realized that I actually understood what was happening. Well, most of the time…
Ok, it’s not all bows and roses but things are A LOT better than they were and I’m handling it. When your mind and emotions are in the wrong place, everything seems impossible. You will always encounter difficult situations in life. You just have to learn how handle it better.
Have a strong mind: Believe in yourself. Like I said my mistake was starting the course with a negative mindset. Instead of coming prepared (by getting extra help, ask questions etc), I came in with fear. Don’t let difficulty make failure acceptable. Don’t let what people say control you. Don’t let your academics control you. This takes time to work on but you have to believe in yourself. My parents always tell me “Do your best and leave the rest”
Get extra help: Talk to your teacher, friends, get a tutor. You don’t have to struggle alone.
Difficulty is no excuse for failure: How many times have I said this again?
Have time for yourself: Seriously, school stress is a witch and you NEED to take a step back and chill. Indulge in your hobbies. Wow, it’s been a while since I’ve used the word “hobby”. It sounds so weird…
Failure is not an option, boo and even when you fail it’s not the end of the world. Suck it up and try again. Always remember you are not alone and God won’t give you something he knows you can’t handle.
“You are your own worst enemy. No one but YOU is holding you back”
Go do your thing, hun!