Hectic, Uncontrollable Life

By Dr. Marie Hartwell-Walker

So to start off, I will give a little background information about myself. I am a college student who is majoring in Special Education. Pretty much all my life I have known I wanted to go into this field, or at least work with people with disabilities. However, this has been the most challenging semester for me yet. I have had many problems with my roommate (well, more like she did something to me which really hurt me)–which has cause a huge strain in our relationship. Although things are getting better between us, I am starting to pick up on the slightest bit of attitude and I tend to overreact about it (but I never say anything to her about it).

Needless to say, this has caused me great turmoil. But to top that off, I have so many assignments, papers, and tests that I am completely swamped and unable to attend to extracurricular activities. I am not usually a person who stresses out, but rather procrastinates because I see the amount of work that I have to do. However, from me waiting the last minute, that is when I want to start ripping the hair out of my head.

Procrastination has always been a big problem for me, and not to mention that my attention span is very short. I have been told that I am very ADD, but in the past I really did not want the label. However, my procrastination, day dreaming, and short attention span is really starting to hurt my grades. I really need motivation to do some studying, but I find myself on a completely engrossed in a different website or book.

As I mentioned earlier, I am a Special Education major, however, I am performing TERRIBLY in my education classes. I have more experience interacting with children with disabilities than my peers, but tend to score worse on my lesson plans, tests, and assignments in general. I understand that there is a difference between interacting with people with disabilities and tests/assignments, however, my grades are really starting to get to me. I am just lost on what to do. There is a chance this semester that I can fail one of my major’s class, and if I do, I know I cannot put myself through the class again, and I will probably end up switching majors. I have already transfered once, and the only thing keeping me transferring schools again is upsetting my parents. Please give me some guidance.

A: It’s hard to tell from your letter exactly what is going on. Believe it or not, it is often the brightest students who procrastinate. It’s sometimes a way to protect self-esteem. You see, if you procrastinate and don’t get a great grade, you can always tell yourself that you would have done better if you had given yourself more time. You never have to look at whether it is true – or not. On the other hand, you say that if you fail your course, you can’t face taking the class again. When someone is passionate about something, generally they will do whatever it takes to get to the goal. Your statement makes me wonder if you are as interested in Special Ed as you say you are. Just because you have experience in something doesn’t mean that you are meant to do it.

I suggest that as a first step you make an appointment with a counselor at your college’s career center. It sounds to me like you need to figure out what you really want to do. (By the way, the average college student changes majors twice before finding what feels like an academic “home.” It’s rarely necessary to transfer schools in order to transfer to a different major.) You haven’t yet caught the fire that goes with really, really wanting to be in a particular profession. Once you find it, it will help you conquer your tendency to get immobilized.

I wish you well.
Dr. Marie

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 24 May 2010

APA Reference
Hartwell-Walker, D. (2010). Hectic, Uncontrollable Life. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 22, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/05/24/hectic-uncontrollable-life/