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any other "high-achieving"/"ambitous" students here?

H

hanx

Member
Joined
Oct 16, 2019
Messages
16
Location
Singapore
TL;DR: are mental health issues preventing you from focusing on your academic work, and how do you deal with that?
also, I put "high-achieving" and "ambitious" in quotation marks, as I believe that these are quite subjective terms.

Firstly, I really do not want this post to come across as elitist. This post does not mean to alienate anyone. Let's make one thing straight: I do not believe that your academic achievements determine your worth. I put "high-achieving" word because I think that it would be helpful to connect with people who might better understand what I feel.
So all my life I have been a straight A-student, I was able to stay up late and study, get high grades, push myself. It wasn't always easy, but I persisted and getting high grades often brought me a lot of satisfaction.
This eventually helped me get into a good college which is generally regarded as prestigious. I mention that my college is regarded as prestigious to give you a sense of the pressure that we experience - we are expected to pursue PhDs, get good jobs, bring positive change in our communities etc. I am also on full financial aid, which makes me particularly self-conscious about my performance.
I began to struggle with academics. But still, I persisted, asked for help, and eventually ended up getting high grades. I also became a president of one student organization, completed an internship and a research program.
But all of this just stopped to matter once I developed a really acute form of anxiety. I struggled with anxiety before college, but this time it is worse. This time it is making me feel like all these things I have been working for: academic results, internships, graduate school - that they actually don't matter. That I won't be able to pursue them. And the anxiety also affected my performance - my grades dropped, because often I am just not able to study. For instance, one evening I was studying for an exam, and I had a panic attack, and I just couldn't study.
(In case you are worried - I did not fail any course, I have just finished my first semester, now I am going to have winter break, so I'll be able to rest)
And I know that I shouldn't be too hard on myself, but the fact that my anxiety is preventing me from focusing on work is really worrying me. All my life I have been a good student - and now I can't perform to the best of my ability. It's like having your identity taken away from you.
I started reaching out for help early - I am currently on medication, I was also excused from some of my absences and assignments. But I don't want to be on special treatment forever.
Has anyone struggled with the same/similar situation? If yes, how did you deal with it? Can we talk?
 
sadsunflower

sadsunflower

Member
Joined
May 8, 2019
Messages
12
Location
Wisconsin
this is something i'm dealing with now (i'm a senior in university) -- something that helps me is remembering i'm not weak for needing help. how the education system is set up is not exactly conducive to those struggling, so there's nothing wrong when you come to a point of needing "special treatment".
 
hicks

hicks

Well-known member
Joined
May 14, 2019
Messages
1,515
Location
A galaxy, far far away..
TL;DR: are mental health issues preventing you from focusing on your academic work, and how do you deal with that?
also, I put "high-achieving" and "ambitious" in quotation marks, as I believe that these are quite subjective terms.

Firstly, I really do not want this post to come across as elitist. This post does not mean to alienate anyone. Let's make one thing straight: I do not believe that your academic achievements determine your worth. I put "high-achieving" word because I think that it would be helpful to connect with people who might better understand what I feel.
So all my life I have been a straight A-student, I was able to stay up late and study, get high grades, push myself. It wasn't always easy, but I persisted and getting high grades often brought me a lot of satisfaction.
This eventually helped me get into a good college which is generally regarded as prestigious. I mention that my college is regarded as prestigious to give you a sense of the pressure that we experience - we are expected to pursue PhDs, get good jobs, bring positive change in our communities etc. I am also on full financial aid, which makes me particularly self-conscious about my performance.
I began to struggle with academics. But still, I persisted, asked for help, and eventually ended up getting high grades. I also became a president of one student organization, completed an internship and a research program.
But all of this just stopped to matter once I developed a really acute form of anxiety. I struggled with anxiety before college, but this time it is worse. This time it is making me feel like all these things I have been working for: academic results, internships, graduate school - that they actually don't matter. That I won't be able to pursue them. And the anxiety also affected my performance - my grades dropped, because often I am just not able to study. For instance, one evening I was studying for an exam, and I had a panic attack, and I just couldn't study.
(In case you are worried - I did not fail any course, I have just finished my first semester, now I am going to have winter break, so I'll be able to rest)
And I know that I shouldn't be too hard on myself, but the fact that my anxiety is preventing me from focusing on work is really worrying me. All my life I have been a good student - and now I can't perform to the best of my ability. It's like having your identity taken away from you.
I started reaching out for help early - I am currently on medication, I was also excused from some of my absences and assignments. But I don't want to be on special treatment forever.
Has anyone struggled with the same/similar situation? If yes, how did you deal with it? Can we talk?
Your situation is similar to my daughter. She's gone from being an A* student, with the whole world ahead of her, to being a virtual prisoner in the house, with no motivation to do anything. All caused by anxiety, resulting in crippling OCD, which consumes many hours in the day.

What I can say is that therapy/counseling sessions have helped. Along with support from the rest of the family. It's not an easy one to deal with, and it may be a case that you just have to find ways of managing the anxiety. The first step is talking to someone, preferably an experienced professional. A good counselor has seen it before and knows what to say.
Of course there is also medication that might help too, but you should consult a medical professional about that.
 
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