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Forums / Young people / The "Too late" girl

Topic: The "Too late" girl

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. nat_97
    nat_97 avatar
    3 posts
    19 August 2021
    "Nat takes far too long"
    That was the very words my student report said three years in a row, all written by different teachers.
    My habit of taking far too long in completing activities was apparent in primary school. I would be so absorbed in the moment I would simply forget about time. My mother was genuinely concerned how these exact words would appear in my report every year, but I simply brushed it off. Fast forward to now at age 24 and completing my last year of studying, I'm really starting to see the problem escalating over the years.

    I took an interest in graphic design and studied it in TAFE while working. I loved them both, but at the same time I was very scared and conscious of my peers judging my every move. My workflow for both slowed down and soon enough, I was hit yet again with those very words by both my teacher and boss - "you take far too long".
    I broke down, skipped a lot of classes and ended up paying the hefty price of finishing 8 overdue assignments in a week.

    After taking a year break, I quit my job and continued my studies in University, hoping I would toughen up with the more academically strict deadlines. The problem in fact reached its peak.

    Every time I started an assignment, those "too late" words would echo in my head and I would start questioning my every move. "Is this the most efficient way? Am I taking too long? How long should I be taking to finish this? Does other people take this long?". Studying a design course that encourages experimentation meant there was no definite rules to anything. I left my assignments to the last minute a lot, not wanting to face my emotions of doubt and fear, and skipped classes too to avoid the critical feedback sessions. I made myself feel worse by handing a lot of overdue assignments, creating an endless cycle of guilt and disappointment.

    Now I'm in my last year and I am still struggling with my subjects, finishing an overdue assignment while trying to survive my internship.
    I really do enjoy my studies and would love to make it as my dream job, but seeing how slow and sensitive I am, I'm questioning if I am suited for this creative field.

    I want to change.
    I don't want to be the "too late" girl anymore. I've attempted multiple times to manage my time effectively, but I keep failing from feeling overwhelmed by negative emotions.
    Someone please advise me how to get out of this vicious cycle. Anything on time management, dealing with fears of peers, failure, doubt and judgement.

  2. jtjt_4862
    Valued Contributor
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    jtjt_4862 avatar
    316 posts
    19 August 2021 in reply to nat_97

    Heya Nat,

    Welcome to the forums! Sorry to hear that you're feeling this way about yourself, and that you're being haunted by something that was said to you in the past till today. It must've been hard on you to be carrying the guilt and shame from a single sentence for a very long time.

    I feel perhaps, you've fallen into the "perfectionist" trap. It could be due to past experiences of being judged and berated whenever we express ourselves. For example, getting a bad grade at school leading to my teachers thinking I'm a bad student, and my parents yelling and punishing me for not doing well at school. It imprints the 'fear of failure' and 'always have to get things right' in order to avoid the consequences from others for not meeting their expectation.

    When you mention 'skipping classes to avoid critical feedback sessions', would it be because, you're afraid of what others might say to you about your work? Afraid that they may use those words that you've carried the guilt and shame on you for a very long time? It is tough to take on critiques without beating ourselves up and telling ourselves that we're just no good and we're terrible at what we're doing.

    Tbh, I myself have fallen into the perfectionist trap for a very long time too, and I'm slowly working through the problem. Here are a few pointers from what I've learned so far:

    • We are our own harshest critiques.
    • Procrastination happens because, we're afraid of failure.
    • Failure shouldn't be seen as a bad thing, it is an expectation that is not met.
    • We can always learn from failure to better ourselves; Tell ourselves that it is okay to fail, what can I do so that I can better myself?
    • Critiques doesn't mean we're not good enough, it's an advice coming from another person's point of view which originates from a culmination of that person's life history/experiences/learnings. If we compare ourselves to them, that's when we feel inferior. Instead of comparing ourselves to them, compare ourselves to our past self, and use our peers as an inspiration and/or ways to better our past self. The goal is not to surpass our peers, but to surpass our past self.
    • It is ok to admit defeat, we all have to take breaks sometimes. When we're tired, take a break, and try again to do better tomorrow.

    I hope that may help you Nat. Always happy to listen to you, or chat with you about things that you're unsure of.


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