That sinking feeling… by Isabelle Chassian

We have all been there, assignment due, life speeding along in front of us and the little monster of self-doubt creeping in; questioning whether studying was the right choice, because it can be at times hard, isolating and time consuming.

This is self-doubt, it is the sinking feeling that you cannot do the tasks you have set out to do and the really important thing to take away is that it is normal! Everyone has moments with this little monster (and its best friend procrastination) and when you are learning something new, something unfamiliar your mind becomes this monster’s playground!

I’ve been there several times throughout my study journey, now onto my 4th degree (yes, I know I’m close to being a professional student). However in undertaking my latest set of study, I have been finding it hard to get on top of everything and get into the study grove. I have several times questioned whether this is what I should be doing, whether I am even capable of doing it, but I also know that this is my inner self-doubt monster talking and that if I spend the time and dedicate myself to what it is that I am doing, that I will (likely very slowly) get to where I am going. I am the first one to say that studying isn’t easy, particularly if you have 101 other commitments that also need your attention, like family, work, friends, children, sports, hobbies, businesses, passions, volunteering; but it’s always important to look back at the goal, why is it that you started on this journey, what were you seeking to achieve by undertaking this study.

But when this monster is jumping around, it’s at this time that it is really important to reflect and take some time for yourself. Some things that I have found helpful when dealing with the self-doubt monster are:
1. Finding your grounding and saying stop – say stop to the negative thought; try and stay in the present moment and focus on positive things. For me I have a board that has some meaningful quotes, pictures of my children and why I am doing the study.
2. RELAX – taking time to refuel and relax is really important. You cannot drive a car without its fuel and the same goes for your brain.
3. Ask for help – reach out to friends, family, colleagues even professionals to get support and help. This is not a sign that you are not able to do it, it is you realising that without support around you, in whatever form it is, that you need and it will make it easier to tell that little monster to be quiet!
4. Give yourself permission to try and fail…. And try again – this one is really important. Currently I am rewriting a chapter I have written of my thesis for the 4th time not because what I wrote was bad, but because now that I am further down my study road I am able to better articulate and define what I am writing.

As Shakespeare says “Our doubts are traitors, and make us lose the good we oft might win, by fearing to attempt.”
If you feel the need to talk through how you’re feeling while studying, we urge you to contact USQ Wellbeing Team.

Until next time…
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