How to Help a University Student Out of an Assignment HoleJuly 27, 2021

Your coursemates were trash-talking, and it amused you. The Boomers beat Team USA in an exhibition game in Las Vegas, and they have done it without Ben Simmons. The Philadelphia 76ers star, who was born in the Melbourne suburb of Fitzroy, could've joined the Boomers (for the first time), which would make Australia a gold medal favourite in Tokyo 2020. But your coursemates thought that the Boomers don't need Simmons anyway. They won't be holding their breath for him to participate in the 2024 Summer Olympics, but they did during the Boomers vs. D'Tigers (Nigeria men's national basketball team) match at the Saitama Super Arena. This chat distracted you from your worries, and one would be how you fell behind in the pandemic. Is there any chance to get out of an assignment hole? Yes.

The pandemic school took its tool on university students, and you felt disengaged from the university this year than last. You missed the deadline for your last assignment, and it made a dent in your confidence; it might not be a problem, but you don't want another miss. It could snowball, and it would happen during the most challenging time (of the term). And you know that the further you fall behind, the more overwhelmed you become. (Your flatmate struggled with his essay on Blaise Pascal's "Pensees", where the French philosopher instructed his readers to observe their body closely. Your flatmate wondered if this was Pascal's concept of a thirst trap, which elicited a strong response from his professor.) You confessed your worries to your tutor, which would be your first step to get back on track. He was eager to help you, but you became confused when he recommended Thomas Bernhard's "The Loser". (You couldn't emphasize with a piano virtuoso, whose incomparable genius compelled his two students to renounce their musical ambitions.) On the other hand, you agreed with your tutor's opinion on the classics. ("We who live in the 21st century seem to think that our problems are different from those that confronted those who lived in the era of discovery and scientific awakening known as the Renaissance. One thing the classics demonstrate is that change is superficial because mankind changes little with the passing of time. Once we appreciate this, we will understand why what was written generations ago still possess great meaning. In some instances, the classics are even more meaningful today than when they first appeared.") You also need to keep a few considerations in mind. Are you ready?

4 Ways to Catch Up (and Get Back on Track)

Empathy will get you further. You adopted a defensive stance, and your tutor understood. You don't want your professor to lash out at you after noticing that you let your schoolwork slide, but it's not really the case. (You have problems with managing email.) You simply need a problem-solving partner, who can make you comfortable with it, from Zoom links to assignments. Have you talked to your sibling? How about your parent? Neighbour? These questions mustn't surprise you, as adults have the exact same issues. If you find yourself less attentive (in the unstructured environment of studying from home), then get out of your room (and find your tribe).

How to deal with psychological stress? Teens are undermined by psychological stress, which makes them struggle in managing the coursework. Recall the mental skills you have learned when you write your essays (during the pre-pandemic era), and then share your thought with your coursemates. Be kind, collaborative, and curious. You can also ask your tutor for guidance, but don't ask too many questions on certain passages in classics (that confuse you).

Reach out to your professors. Your feedback matters to your professors, and they would need it more during this challenging time. An exchange of emails should do for now, as you must create a shortlist for clarifications about specific books (or assignments). You can ask your sibling (or parent) to coach you, but you must include your coursemate(s). They might get lost, have tried and caught up, so they can relate to what you're going through. Keep in mind that this is not an admission of your wrongdoing (or theirs), as the ability to ask for help is not fully formed. Normalizing it is important at this point.

Step back. You still believe in the importance of high grades, but the assignment hole should make you step back and look at the bigger picture. Can you recover from a substantial setback? Can you do it quickly? Can you direct your energy on courses you care about the most? These questions might overwhelm you, but they should test your ability to make a turnaround sooner. You may have to lower your expectations (for now).

When I'm Stressed, This Is How I React

It might take a week before you find all the answers (after reading the above), which is fine. The lessons you learned won't be nothing to sneeze at. And you will draw on it long after the pandemic is gone. But you've been up too late on some nights. Your mates on Tiktok are all over it. Welcome to revenge bedtime procrastination! (And this is another good topic for another article.)

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