anonymous asked:

What advice do you have for someone with failure anxiety?

Negativity in exams can lead to a decrease in motivation and time that’s spent worrying is time that could be spent on other things so tackling anxiety is an important issue when it comes to exams and studying.

Not feeling prepared is one of the most common causes for being nervous about exams. Many people begin to panic. When time is limited, effective use of it is vital. Create a revision timetable that helps you optimise your activities and stick to it. So many people create timetables and then don’t use them. Spend time with others in your class to exchange ideas about what’s worth studying and to share answers. Be strategic in your approach to the work; pinpoint critical learning obejcts from lectures and handouts, make sure you have a basic understanding, focus on key facts, and then finally, if you have time, add details and examples.

Another cause of failure anxiety can be perfectionism (something I struggle with). Exams have time limits and tough marking criteria and I’ve had to force myself to realise that with these constraints my work will never be perfect under exam conditions (not that it ever is). Don’t go into an exam expecting to produce perfection. Don’t spend too long planning an answer; yes, plan your answers (especially to essay questions) but only spend a few minutes on this. Don’t spend too long on the initial parts of an answer-focus on actually answering the question. Concenrate on getting all the basic across, and don’t be obsessed with neatness (markers know that you’re going to make little spelling mistakes and that handwriting will be messy so don’t worry about that).  After each exam avoid the long talks with friends about how they answered each question; it’s too late to change anything and this will just make you doubt yourself. Instead put all of your effort into working for the next exam (or relaxing if you don’t have any left).

When you’re actually in the exam, everyone has from time to time faced the dreaded mind blank. If this happens, leave a black space and come back to it later. Alternatively, brainstorm connections from things you do know about the subject, work from the basics and ask yourself “Who? What? When? Where? Why? How?” in relation to the subject. Look for associations; read through the other questions and material; they might trigger your memory (this is the one that I tend to use) and get on with the other questions if you can; again they might trigger memories and it’s better than losing time which could be productively spent otherwise.

Sleeplessness is another cause. Make sure that you get enough sleep and don’t stay up revising before an exam. Make sure that you eat something, but nothing too heavy or you might be uncomfortable. Confirm dates and times of exams; take a walk to the exam room to familiarise yourself with the routine of the exam day, If you start panicking in the exam, try some relaxation techniques and then return to your paper. If you still feel bad explain how you feel to an invigilator and ask if you can go for a supervised walk outside or something. If you have problems with the wording of a question see if a representative of the department can help you understand the question. Don’t panic when you’ve got five minutes left, you can write a lot in that time; keep writing until you are told that you have to stop. If you do need to use the toilet don’t be embarrassed, just go and you’ll feel more comfortable when you return. 

Finally, and probably the most importantly, THINK POSITIVELY. Whenever I have an exam I’ve started repeating to myself “I can do this” to make myself feel better about the exam.

So, what have i learned after 26 years of living?

A lot of things, but i think the most important one is that planning is fine, but plans are overrated.
It’s important to have a general vision, and it’s important to think big about your future. You can’t just sit there and think that the tomorrow will take care of itself, because it won’t.
But what’s more important is adaptability. Plans, no matter how beautiful and well crafted, never take a drastic twist of fate in account. You can’t possibly prepare for the unexpected, so stop trying and learn to act swiftly on the spot.
It all boils down to “fuck it, go”.
"But what happens if…", "No. Fuck it, go".
"Okay, but this needs to be…", "Shut up, go".
Plans, and perfectionism in general are too often just an excuse not to act. If you’re constantly pummeling your mind with the idea that everything needs to be executed perfectly, you’ll never get anything done, because nothing ever ends up being perfect, there will always be debris left in your wake, so fuck it and go.
When i was younger, i enjoyed putting myself in dangerous situations, because it gave me an adrenaline rush, and i was a a bit cocky so it gave me another reason to go “See? I can handle anything. No big deal”.
Now, that i’m older, i willingly put myself in dangerous situations, because it’s the most effective way to get yourself out of your comfort zone. I put a lot of things at risk, because that’s how you develop the fastest.
Nothing exhilirates me more than throwing myself into the deepest possible water, instead of slowly walking in inch by inch, because that’s how i become much more effective at just about everything i try to learn.

So, i basically gave you an overly long explanation of the “i failed my way to success” quote.
Now fuck it all to hell, and go.

We praise people for being “naturally” smart, too, “naturally” athletic, and etc. But studies continue to show, as they have for some time now, that it is generally healthier to praise schoolchildren for being hardworking, than for being naturally gifted. We know now that to emphasize a child’s inherent ability places pressure on that child to continue to be accidentally talented, which is something that is hard for anyone to control. When the children who are applauded for their natural skills fail, they are shown to take the failure very personally. After all, the process of their success has always seemed mysterious and basic and inseparable from the rest of their identity, so it must be they who are failing as whole people. When students are instead complimented and rewarded for their effort and improvement, they tend to not be so hard on themselves. When they fail, they reason, “Well, I’ll work harder next time.” They learn that they are capable of success, rather than constantly automatically deserving of it, and they learn simultaneously that they are bigger and more complex than their individual successes or failures.
—  Kate of Eat the Damn Cake, The Stupidity of “Natural” Beauty (x)
Perfectionism is a self destructive and addictive belief system that fuels this primary thought: If I look perfect, live perfect, and work perfect, I can avoid or minimize criticism, blame and ridicule, the painful feelings of shame, judgment, and blame. All perfectionism is, is the 20-ton shield that we carry around hoping that it will keep us from being hurt
—  Brene Brown
Perfectionism: Making Yourself Sick

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“Perfectionism is self-abuse of the highest order.” – Anne Wilson Schaef

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2

@ TD Garden, Boston | 07/03/2012

Chalk on a blackboard
Like metal on skin
You taught me
‘Not good enough’
Can be spelled out
In test scores.
There’s room for
Improvement
But not that much else.
Red marks on paper,
Red marks on wrists-
Would an essay in
Blood let you know
That I’m trying?
I thought about dying
To the sound of your voice
And I guess that’s why
They call them
Deadlines.
—  M.S.