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Topic: extreme pre-exam stress

  1. C74
    C74 avatar
    54 posts
    19 January 2020 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Thank you for your reply

    Honestly, it’s fine that medicine didn’t work out at this stage. What I’ve been telling myself is that the entry requirements were put in place for a reason, and if I didn’t meet them, then it makes sense that at this point, I’m probably not ready for medicine yet. As ATAR was my downfall, I think the main thing I should tackle is to continually improve my work ethic, and to try and apply better study habits and routines. I’m staying positive and hoping that when I am ready, I will be able to transfer :) Or, as you said, change my mind about what I want to do in life.

    Regarding my current issue, I followed your advice about just accepting that Topic A will come up and riding it out, and it has worked well thus far. Instead of trying to insert myself into a conversation about something I have no interest in by forcing an interest, I just leave for a few minutes, enjoy myself on YouTube or chat with another friend, and when that topic subsides, I jump back into the conversation.

    I’ve gotten to know these people so much better that we’re planning on meeting up in real life, which is really exciting. My whole life, I’ve never been particularly ‘popular’, and this group of people are the type of friends I’ve always wanted, and it’s really fun to talk to them.

  2. C74
    C74 avatar
    54 posts
    19 January 2020 in reply to C74

    But the thing that worries me is *why* I may not have been particularly popular in the past, and whether that will affect me in meeting these people. There are two possibilities - my shyness, and the second (which is a bit silly but it’s an insecurity I have), the way I look.

    Regarding my shyness, I actually find it quite difficult to keep a conversation going when talking to someone in real life who I just met, because I get nervous and freeze up. I worry too much about getting judged. It’s far easier to talk online, and I’m worried that when I meet these people in real life, they’ll realise I’m not as exciting as I was online. And regarding the way I look - it sounds ridiculous, but I’m really paranoid about being judged on how I look. I don’t think anyone has particularly judged me about how I look, but the paranoia’s still there regardless, and I can’t get rid of it - particularly when it involves a group of people I have grown to know personality-wise online, but who have no idea what I look like.

    How can I ease my insecurities and fear when I do come to meet these people in real life? And would you have any suggestions on how to make friends in university, and maintaining friendships for longer than one conversation?

    Thank you so much,
    C74


  3. Summer Rose
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    20 January 2020 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    I was never "popular" in high school either and I too wished things were different. But when I look back, I realise the girls I wanted to be with were doing things I wasn't really interested in-- smoking, drinking a lot of alcohol at parties, cutting class to go smoke pot or go to the shopping mall and having sexual relationships.

    I spent most Saturday nights babysitting and my friends would come over to watch movies or I'd talk on the phone to them all night. I liked going to class and I actually enjoyed reading in the library (total nerd, okay, but I did go on to study journalism and become a writer). As far as boys went, I was a late bloomer.

    The girls that were my friends were a lot like me, friendly, responsible and thoughtful. What I'm saying is that, I think there is a difference between being likeable and being popular and, while they're not necessarily mutually exclusive, I'm not sure that the "popular" girls were all that likeable.

    So, when you say, " I’ve never been particularly ‘popular’, and this group of people are the type of friends I’ve always wanted", the "mum" in me says go slow. (I could be misinterpreting and completely off base, and if I am please know that I mean no offence.)

    I think you will be better able to assess the prospect of genuine friendships after you meet. My advice is to project confidence. Hold your head high, make eye contact and smile. Be warm and friendly and people will be drawn to you. And remember, they will be as nervous as you.

    It can help to make a mental list of things to talk about before you meet. Join in when you have something to say. Giving a compliment is also a way to start a conversation (e.g. Love your jumper, where did you get it?)

    If you get stuck, ask questions. Most people like to talk about themselves, so give them an opening. Being shy can be a blessing because the others will think you are a good listener!

    I understand the fear of being judged, particularly as I know you just want to fit it. But you have no control over the judgements other people make, so I would encourage you to let that go. You look the way you look. And if somebody doesn't want to be friends for such a shallow reason, I'd suggest you are better off without them. However, my guess is that you look fine and are likely judging yourself more harshly than anyone else ever will.

    Kind thoughts to you

  4. Summer Rose
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    21 January 2020 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hi C74

    I was reflecting on my response to you and realised that I didn't answer your broader question about making friends at university.

    It really helps to have a common interest to build a relationship upon. I would suggest that you start with your classmates.

    Go to all classes (not watching on-line), tutorials and study groups, and build a network of people you recognise (make eye contact, smile). Start by saying "hi" when you see them around class or campus and, if they're responsive, start a conversation about your study subject. Then broaden it. It will take a bit of time but you can't jump from eye contact to best friends overnight.

    I would also suggest joining a couple of clubs. This way you will broaden your potential friendship pool to choose from. Clubs also usually give people a chance to bond by working together on a common cause, whether it’s preparing for a chess tournament, supporting a political party or putting on a play. These types of bonds usually endure.

    Accept all social invitations, even if you're anxious or unsure about going. This will give you a chance to practise your social skills and meet people. The worst that can happen is that you realise the event really wasn't for you and you go home early.

    I guess what I'm saying is that you have to put yourself out there a bit, be a bit vulnerable and take some chances. Not all of your efforts will result in a positive outcome. This is not necessarily a reflection on you and will more likely reflect what's going on for the other person involved. They too could be shy or having a bad day or just not pick up on the social cues or opportunity you are providing for contact. You just keep trying because as my Grandmother used to say, There is a lid for every pot.

    Kind thoughts to you

  5. C74
    C74 avatar
    54 posts
    2 March 2020 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose!

    Well I have just started my second week of uni, and I realise I never had to really worry about making friends in uni. I met up with the people I talk to online, who I had spoken about on this thread a while ago (15th Jan). I was extremely nervous at first, and worried about all sorts of silly things, but slowly came to realise that they were pretty chill and didn’t seem to really care about the shallow things I was worried they’d care about. This led me to open up and really express my personality, and much to my delight, I feel as if I clicked really well with a few of them!

    We now meet up almost everyday to study between classes, and I share a few classes with some of them which is honestly the best thing about my life right now - they are all super cool and I feel really honoured and proud to have such amazing friends.

    Also, I took your advice, about projecting confidence in making friends, and it worked so, so well! I’ve basically been walking straight into classes, sitting next to the first lonely person I see, smiling, saying hi and striking up conversation, and on the most part, they seem quite relieved/happy to have someone speaking to them, and make an equal attempt at getting to know me.

    Unfortunately, this is where I’m going to start talking about the negatives - most of which stem from my dad. He’s rather controlling of me, despite the fact that I am now an adult, and as a result, I feel like I am suffering both academically and in bettering my relationships with people. He doesn’t let me get out - he will not even allow me to study with friends after all my classes, or go to any events - I am forced to give my parents my entire schedule every single day. I have been asked countless times by my friends whether I’d like to attend a party they’re holding, or go out for a meal, and I repeatedly have to reject. It makes me feel extremely awful, and by constantly letting them down, I feel as if I’m giving them a bad impression of being a ‘daddy’s little girl’ at 18, or being too much of a goody-two-shoes to even go drinking with them. I’m worried that someday, they’ll stop asking me altogether and exclude me from any events. It’s awful because I really do wish to go with them, and feel extremely left out when everyone goes out to enjoy themselves while I’m stuck at home studying. I also think it’s ridiculous how I’m not even allowed to study in the library with friends, because I honestly get more distracted studying at home.

  6. Summer Rose
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    1104 posts
    5 March 2020 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    Nice to hear from you again and a real pleasure to know that you are making friends and connecting with people at your university. This sense of connection is really important to your success at university and your mental health.

    You may want to pop in to student services at your university and see if they can provide you with a study or a paper that proves students with a sense of connection to their peers and learning institution actually have a better chance of academic success. Then you could provide it to dad and try to have a rationale discussion with him. It's hard to argue with fact and/or evidence.

    I would try to negotiate and start small, maybe aiming for one night out on the weekend or one library study session a week. If dad sees you behaving responsibly with this freedom he may be more likely to allow you more freedom in time.

    If dad is not open to this type of discussion we can discuss other options.

    In the meantime, I would be open and honest with your friends about your dad's attitude to letting you go out to parties, etc. At least that way they will understand why you don't accept their invitations. They may also be able to provide you with some advice based on their personal experience.

    This issue is not a reflection on you, it is about your dad. Remember that. You are not doing anything "wrong", you are just growing up and seeking independence, which is normal and expected from someone your age. At some stage, all parents have to let go. Hopefully your dad will realise that, particularly if you behave calmly and rationally--just like any adult would when trying to resolve any issue.

    Good luck. Kind thoughts to you

  7. C74
    C74 avatar
    54 posts
    27 March 2020 in reply to Summer Rose

    Hello Summer Rose,

    Sorry its been a while - I did write a reply to your last message the moment I saw it, but it seems to have not gone through.

    Anyways, there’s something that’s been on my mind for a while. My university friends are different from my high school friends - and I mean, really different. My high school friends were the sensible type of people, the kind who would never get in trouble at school, introverted and sort of ‘nerdy’, if you will. I’m not saying this is a bad thing - in fact, this was quite similar to the style of friends I had throughout primary school, the type I had gotten used to my whole life.

    Well my uni friends are completely different story. They’re very outgoing, enjoy going on outings almost everyday (I can’t really join them because my parents are strict about me coming straight home after uni), funny, pretty popular in high school… yeah, that type. In fact, I’m really different to most of them. Comparatively, I’m much quieter than them, and amongst them I’m usually known as the studious, wholesome one (their words, not mine haha).

    And we do get along pretty well - or so I think. Here’s where the issue begins.

    So one of my guilty pleasures is bantering. I love jokey insulting conversations where a friend and I exchange teasing remarks about each other, and in a way, ‘bullying’ each other but in a way that’s pretty obviously a joke. In fact, I did this (in a mild manner) with one of my old high school friends and it always brightened up our conversations. Except I feel like with my new friends, I’m slightly more self conscious around them because I’m just so paranoid of messing up and having them dislike me - they’re very extroverted and would probably be perfectly fine without a friend like me.

    Anyways, a small number of them (I’d say 2-3) are the ones I banter with the most, and at first I found it pretty funny. It mainly consisted of witty humour. But now the bantering is veering away from that genre, and including lines such as “no one likes you” or “I don’t want you around anyway”, or being sworn at. I’m probably kind of to blame for this, because I’m also bantering back at around with the same style (mostly because I don’t want them to think I easily get offended - and I don’t). But this is where it gets ridiculous - sometimes I think I’m starting to believe the things they say to me, as much as I’m convinced that they’re joking.

  8. Summer Rose
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    1104 posts
    29 March 2020 in reply to C74

    Hi C74

    Nice to hear from you again.

    I don't know your friends but given you have provided no "evidence" to suggest they really don't like you or don't want you around and the bantering is a normal and usually enjoyable part of your social interaction, I really wouldn't be too concerned.

    However, given the bantering seems to be provoking self-doubt for you perhaps you should back away from it. If you stop, they may also stop. See how that works.

    Kind thoughts to you

  9. VitteHullu
    VitteHullu avatar
    2 posts
    29 March 2020 in reply to C74

    Hey C74

    OK, first “thing” - they way “overhype” the HSC (like yeah, it’s “important” when it comes to getting into your desired course, but as long as you get the “minimum number” (the one in your UAC guide), that’s all that “matters” (and my “final year” was “stressful” too - father had a serious injury, resulting in serious brain damage (and smashed his body up), and died 6 weeks prior to the “start” of the “exam block” (and because I did 13 units, had a pretty “intense” “adult”-type “job” (working in IT). I sat like 8 exams), but once you get your “score”, as long as you can get into your course (or an arts degree at you desired uni (because you can “transfer” once in), no-one even “talks” about who got what, it’s actually a bit “anti-climatic” (you think “I “stressed” so much for this?”), and even when you “get in”, it’s very “common” for, in your first “lecture”, for the lecturer to say “doesn’t matter what you did or what you got at school - forget it, it won’t “help” you here” (adds to that “anti-climatic” “feeling”). So basically, as long as you can get into an arts degree at the uni you want to go to, you’re sweet. When it comes to the “cramming”, I don’t know what subjects you’re doing, but I was used as a “assistant tutor” from yr2 to yr12 inclusive (helped one girl who missed a lot of yr10 math due to CFS to get through adv math (she did well), and even someone through 2uA math in yr12 (and he didn’t do too bad either), to mention a couple (but there were a lot more), was an NCO as a military cadet (so had to do lesson plans and “teach” them), and even got a cert 4 train assess at TAFE on RPL, so depending what you’re doing, if I can help feel free to ask (and I didn’t do too “bad” myself either), so yeah, more than “happy” to “help” (also have some “issues” (one includes anxiety), and did even back then, so if you want some skills/apps to “help”, once again, just ask. Granted, with things going “out of class” now, makes things “different” (but I’ve done courses “externally”, so can help there (because there can be a “knack” to it), and it’s still March - exams are still a long way off (like, they “feel” close, but they’re not really (more than enough “time” to “level up” (especially since everyone’s indoors now), but the number one thing is (hard to do) is “don’t stress” (when “stressed”, your mind doesn’t “work” as well (same as health), so if you can “lower” it, that helps). But yeah, you’ve still got time, so don’t stress, can still “do it”

  10. C74
    C74 avatar
    54 posts
    17 June 2020 in reply to Summer Rose
    Hi Summer Rose,

    I haven’t come back to this forum in a while, and I’m extremely sorry - I feel at a loss on whether I’d be wasting peoples’ time posting on this forum when I’m not in dire need of advice, so I’ve been holding off for a while but I desperately need advice right now.

    A few months ago, my life seemed to be going perfectly fine. I’d made tons of new friends at uni, I’d begun going to the gym, my grades at uni were fantastic which had improved my relationship with my dad… I guess I got too caught up.

    My parents were worried about corona. They wanted me home right after class ended, and wouldn’t allow me to go on outings. My high school bestie tried making plans with me several times, and I wouldn’t be able to go. This was a recurring thing throughout 2019 too, but because I constantly had tutoring + my parents were adamant I stay home and study all the time, but we’d always promised each other that this would change once we were in uni… guess not.

    I was also making so many new friends at uni whilst she was holding off and trying to meet up with me at break times. I guess I made her feel as though her friendship wasn’t valued.

    I suppose it was the last straw for her, because she ended our friendship.

    After she ended our friendship, I spent a few weeks internally blaming her for it, thinking she must not have liked me if she’d just end up friendship so abruptly, but now that I’ve had time to think about it, I’m thinking whether it’s possible that it was because we were so close that she’d get upset over something this.

    I should’ve realised our friendship was going downhill, I should’ve paid more attention but I was so caught up with everything else going on around me that I didn’t realise that someone so important to me was slowly slipping away. The last three nights in a row, I’ve dreamt about us making up. She’s the type to hold grudges so I don’t know if she’ll forgive me if I apologise… I don’t know how to make up with her and I’m scared that it’s too late. Typically, I get over these things quite quickly but the fact that I’m still missing her even though it’s been a few months really shows me how much I do value her. I really want her back and I don’t know how to do it - several times, I’ve wanted to apologise and hovered over the message bar only to close it and give up.

    I’m just at a complete loss of what to do, I feel absolutely helpless right now. Any advice would be extremely appreciated :((

    Thank you so much,
    C74





  11. C74
    C74 avatar
    54 posts
    18 June 2020 in reply to C74
    Never mind - we made up hahah that was pretty coincidental timing