October 2013 · Uncategorised

Study, Stress and Sickness

University this week has been insane.

I have actually worked myself into such a state that last night I came home and threw up. A lot. My stomach has been in pieces and my sleeping pattern is now atrocious.

My assignments for this week: a photo story with eight edited images, an article (including conducting four interviews) which made at least 30% of my overall grade, and a twenty minute presentation followed by a discussion all led by me. On top of that I had readings for four classes, an essay outline plan, and then all life outside of university. Including this blog which I do consider to be a job, one which I probably would have been fired for this week due to my lack of posts.

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Maybe this does not sound like a lot of work to you, maybe you are reading this and mock-laughing about my difficulties in keeping up with school. Maybe this week you have mid-terms and fifty page essays and group projects and entire class presentations. Well good for you if you can cope with all that shit. Good for you if you have mastered the skill of working and having a life. But this whole week I have just wanted to curl up on the sofa with my mum and complain about work and get some mummy-sympathy. I have wanted to eat my home comfort foods, which I cannot find in this country, and watch my favourite British TV shows in my study breaks which I cannot do here either.

I guess this is the part of studying abroad when you realise that this is not a long holiday. You cannot spend every day immersing yourself in culture and taking trips and going to museums or hanging out with your new friends. You have to buckle down and you have to apply yourself and show off those abilities. On top of all this, I feel a particularly pressing need to impress the journalism school here out of fear that they will not let me stay for another semester if I do not excel. And even worse; if they reject my possible application to finish fourth year at Carleton because my grades are not good enough.

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I feel pressure, I feel a difficulty in coping with stress in a new environment, and I feel strained for time. What if I do badly in my classes and therefore forfeit the chance of extending my time here? Or worse; what if I spend all my time concerned with my grades that I let this experience pass me by? What if I wake up on December 22nd and realise that I do not have a place here next semester and that I have spent the past four months stressing about grades which, in the end, turned out to not really matter anyway?

I know, I know, balance is the key. But try spinning someone really fast on a rotating chair and then telling them to stand upright on that seat. What are the chances that they will be able to keep both feet firmly planted? Because that’s how I feel; moving to a new country, a new university, a new house and a new group of friends. It’s enough to leave a person in need of a serious lie-down. So please don’t judge me if I just need to take a seat for a wee while.

Love Jill

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9 thoughts on “Study, Stress and Sickness

  1. Oh, Jill! Get some sleep, wake up tomorrow and make a prioritised list of what you have to do and then just start with something. Making some progress will make you feel better. You might have to skim some of those readings, but but that’s okay too. You will learn things from the discussion. Most of all, try not to worry because that is wasted energy. Just get through today. You can do this. xx

    1. Thank you so much for your advice! I did exactly what you said and made a big list called “things which are stressing me out” and then a second column of things which I can do to solve my problems. Also, sleep has done me wonders! Your encouragement really helped to keep me going 🙂 thank you.

  2. You are going to say, Not her again! The only thing I could do you for you is to invite you to a Scottish restaurant to give you a bit of home food. Tell Erik to get in touch with me and we can arrange something. Don’t torture yourself, just take it one step at a time. Every thing will be alright in the end.

    1. Hi Margo! Your offer sounds awesome 🙂 I will talk to Erik about it, if you’re still interested. Thank you for all your comments and advice! I’m finally getting around to replying to them 🙂

    1. Well, not so much Glasgow comfort foods but things which I can find in Britain. Like Oatibix, Princess marshmallows and Fruit Bowl fruit flakes. I have pretty specific comfort foods. I can’t seem to find good marshmallows in Ottawa or any snack treats which are made purely from fruit! Do you have any idea where I could find any of these?

  3. You are very much allowed to feel stressed about all of the work you are doing! And moving to a different country… that is a lot of stress! I’m sorry to hear that you are so stressed that you got physically ill 😦
    I hope that things calm down a bit for you and you get a chance to relax and take a breather!

    1. Thanks for your comment Ashesela, I am dealing with stress a lot better now. Tea, a warm bath and a good book seem to help calm me down! Do you have any advice on things which help you de-stress?

  4. Am currently doing my term abroad at the University of Ottawa and can completely relate to this post. So relieving to know I’m not the only one feeling like this!

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