Anxiety surrounding school & graduation

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    Gillian Teepe

    Hey, all.

    I’m currently a college student and have been feeling the pressures of finals, and knowing that graduation is in the near future. A main struggle of mine when experiencing anxiety around schoolwork is to distract myself with something unproductive like TV-show binging or video games. This in many cases has caused me to miss assignments, fall behind on lectures and studying and perform poorly on exams. All of these consequences heighten my anxiety, to the point where I don’t want to even look at my assignments because I don’t want to confront the issue.

    My question to you is, how do you cope with your academic anxieties? What methods have worked for you (or really not worked for you), which you would be willing to share? If you’re someone like me who is seeking answers, I encourage you to comment your own experience below.

    Susan Liu

    First, congratulations on the upcoming graduation!

    I don’t know what your circumstances are, but this helped me when I was really spiraling, had to be hospitalized, and felt like I tried every method in the book. I also wasn’t shooting for grad school, so consider this as just 1 datapoint.

    What worked for me was to shoot for the bare minimum so that I could pass.

    I had to let go of any high expectations I set on myself, because I had always been an overachiever until the depression and anxiety hit. I accepted that sure, I could do better, but given my mental health, I had to be pragmatic.

    I accepted that I’d play video games nonstop or watch shows with my friends while skipping most of my classes.

    I accepted that I wouldn’t get good exam grades, but I crammed to get passing grades, and I didn’t care at all what others thought of me.

    I knew what I needed to study and optimize for in order to pass, so I did just that. I knew what I needed to do to secure my dream job, so I did that.

    I can tell you that after college, no one cares about my college GPA. I have a high paying job now where people would look at you silly if you brought up things you did in college. Now I look back on my college years like how college me looked back on their high school years. My only regret was not enjoying the time more.

    Gillian Teepe


    I’m so glad you replied. Your response was genuinely uplifting, thank you for sharing you experience! It’s so easy to be hard on myself over not doing “enough”. Feeling like a failure because I got a C instead of an A, because I purposely skipped an alarm or because I did the dishes but there are clothes all over my bedroom floor. I believe I should start recognizing the “little things” I do on a day to day basis to help keep myself afloat. While it might not always inspire me to do more than the minimum, it at least may help me feel proud of getting up and doing something. It’s a lot to ask for some days.

    Also, it’s relieving to hear people don’t care about college GPA once you leave college. When I think back on high school, I laugh at myself for the things I let consume my mind and worried myself with. Hopefully in a few years time, I’ll be doing the same to myself now.

    Tai Adhikary

    Hi Gillian,

    ^I agree with the above that it’s good have that inner voice be a little more gentle and compassionate towards yourself, you are going to do great! Something I wish I knew earlier in my academic career was so important of meeting your own needs to prevent procrastination and escapism. We all have our own needs – say the need for emotional connection, comfort, or fun. I have found that even on days that are harder at work I give myself time to get to the root of what is bothering me or what is missing. Once I have confronted that, I am able to proceed. I binge television or listen to a lot of music because it’s fulfilling a connection for me but I might be getting it in little drops. So perhaps actually just going for a good walk with a friend and having a conversation in the morning before starting work prevents from going to something else. How about a nice bubble bath for actual comfort with hot tea? Try getting those needs met before starting on your studying so your feel ready to tackle it. I use to get up and try to study and procrastinated for hours on end and then beat myself up internally for not getting what I wanted done.

    In addition, sometimes we do not have the most enjoyable of tasks in front of us either  so it helps to look at it in another way. Ie. You might actually hate Biology or something but finding some sort of connection to something you care about like ‘this knowledge can help to cure people in the long run’ at the forefront of your thoughts can help motivate to get through it.

    I hope that helps and best of luck, you got this!!

    Gillian Teepe

    I appreciate you responding, Tai!

    I’ve definitely had my fair share of escapism drop-offs. Usually in the form of a game or binging social media like TikTok, where I can convince myself “just a few more minutes” or “just one more video”. Then next thing I know, the sun has gone down. And I can definitely relate to the feeling of beating myself up internally for procrastinating extensively.

    School subjects are especially difficult for me to motivate myself in if I don’t like the general topic. Sometimes, I can convince myself that I need the grade to move on and get closer to graduation, but even that isn’t always enough. It would definitely be beneficial for me to find a connection to the subject which helps actually peak my interest, like you suggested.

    Thank you for your words of encouragement and tips! 🙂

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