Monday, 29 March 2010

I Hate My Studies...

I recently received an email from a student who is finding it difficult completing her studies. This may be a problem which is familiar to others so below I am posting the correspondence, having changed the name and removed any personally identifying details to protect confidentiality:

"Dear David

I am a Law student in my final year at university. I do enjoy university, but I absolutely hate my degree! I've always hated it, and month after month for the last two years I've wanted to drop out, only to be convinced by parents and tutors etc that it wouldn't be worth it so I just plod on and normally plod through it looking forward to when I can get over it and go travelling and then study to be a social worker (that is what I want to do - I'd rather die than become a solicitor or barrister).

My problem is that in a couple of months time I will be taking the most important exams of my life so far....yet I have absolutely no motivation to study or read my work whatsoever...I just spend days doing nothing. Literally I am more likely to stare into space for an hour than write a paragraph of my assignment. I actually procrastinate to the extreme and I have found I am up to date in all other areas of my life (i.e. I do voluntary work which I love and other activities) and I go along fine doing them, and feel happy, but as soon I sit down to do some Uni work I just want to burst into tears, and often I do. I have tried making revision timetables etc, but I can never stick to them. Everyone else seems to be finding it so easy and I know I'm being pathetic, but the truth is I just can't bring myself to do anything that my heart is not in, any longer. I feel 'dead' when I'm sitting at my laptop or reading some statute or case. I know for certain its not what I want to do with my life, I know my parents will be so dissapointed if I mess it all up, But I am finding it so difficult to have any motivation, because I feel like I've burned out. I have such burning passions for so many other things - I get so happy and excited when I think about travelling, I have started making all those plans, and have even made plans for becoming a social worker.. I don't want to be acedemic anymore. I am so unhappy thinking about all the university work I have to do. I know its going to be a mountain, and I know I have to get it all done and I want to graduate (or it will have all been for nothing), but I just can seem to do it. I just don't know how anymore.

Hope you can give me some tips,


"Hi Janice

First of all I would suggest that you try to seek some independent advice from someone appropriate who can help you in a supportive way to talk through your issues and think of what you want to do in the short term and the medium term and how to deal with difficulties. I don't know your university but would hope that there is some sort of counsellling or support service there that you can approach for support. Your student union should be able to advise you on that.

It is good that you have plenty of activities and issues about which you are passionate, such as voluntary work etc. Keep these up as you are entitled to do things which you enjoy and which help you to relax and one day they may lead to something more.

You are at an age when you have the opportunity to make some decisions for yourself and this can be difficult, particularly if your choices ultimately prove to be different from what your parents envisaged - although I hope that if they see in future that you are happy with what you are doing then they will prefer that to you doing something you are unhappy with.

If you do not complete your law degree it may present some problems but it's not the end of the world - many people have been successful who have not got law degrees! However, if you do manage to complete your law degree it will provide a useful qualification even if you then decide to do something else, such as social work for example. As it happens, I practised as a solicitor for a few years before becoming a social worker and subsequently a life coach, so I can say with reasonable confidence that if you get a law degree it won't stop you then doing something else that you prefer!

If you are having difficulty with your assignments, I suggest that you set yourself small achievable targets at first and reward yourself by doing enjoyable activities when you achieve them - e.g. break down an assignment and reward yourself by doing a leisure activity that you enjoy once you complete a significant section of it, then again once you complete the whole of it (NB. The enjoyable activitiies can't be something harmful like drinking alcohol or with strong downsides, like spending a lot of money, but otherwise you can be creative with what you reward yourself with - constructive physical activity, a social activity, a walk, reading a book, painting...whatever you like doing).

You may find it helpful to treat the remainder of your law degree as a short term project you are aiming to achieve, reminding yourself that once you achieve it you can then take time to decide whether you want to continue with law or do something else - you don't have to rush into a legal career law just because you think, rightly or wrongly, that is what is expected of you.

Best wishes and good luck with the next few months!


Blog Post Written by Life Coach David
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