Dear Courage Queen

I am 17 and about to start revising for my A-Levels. The pressure is really starting to build now and I can feel myself starting to get anxious when I think about my exams. I know I need to have a revision plan and I know what I need to revise, however it is starting the revision and assignments that I struggle with. I just put it off and get distracted by Facebook or Instagram. My friends are on Whatsapp Groupchat and we just seem to moan about how bad the A-levels are. After reading these messages on my phone, I give up and go downstairs to get chocolate. If I can’t handle my exams, how will I cope with University?

Dear Courageous One

I know you will not be the only student in the country struggling with this challenge at the moment. We can all be expert procrastinators, whatever age we are. Procrastination means the ‘act of delaying or postponing something’.   Delaying revising or writing coursework is common to many students.

When I procrastinate it is often because I am fearful.

I will procrastinate as I can be fearful of

  • Thinking I am not being good enough
  • Thinking I won’t succeed
  • Thinking I won’t get the results I want
  • Thinking I won’t be a success
  • Thinking I am just being lazy
  • Forgetting how creative and clever I can be.

We often think there is no point in starting something as we think we will probably fail.

Procrastination’s little brother is called perfectionism. He is also driven by similar fears. When procrastination and perfectionism hang out together then we are really stuffed!

We don’t want to start something as we think it will never be good enough and so what is the point? We may as well give up and complain to whoever will listen. We make excuses for our behaviour from not feeling well to the fact we didn’t sleep the night before.

So from today, make a choice – Are you going to let fear win or are you going to dig deep and use all your courage which is inside of you to overcome these two little inner enemies?

Try these suggestions

  • Put a post-it note up in front of you saying ‘I have achieved the grades I need’ and repeat regularly’
  • Ask yourself, what is the worst that can happen if you start the revision and what is the worst than can happen if you don’t start the revision?
  • Turn off your phone for at least 15 minutes whilst you start, and you can go back to it after you have completed your task
  • Break your tasks down into manageable chunks then tick them off once you have done them. Assign times to the tasks too.
  • Challenge your friends to commit too. Be the positive influence. If they don’t want to commit, that is their responsibility.
  • Tell your parents you need lots of positive ‘you can do it’ support, not nagging about revision
  • Tell yourself you are more than your fears and can handle this
  • Remind yourself how well you did in your GCSE’s and you committed to those and this is the next step.
  • Think about how much fun and freedom you will have at university which is just as important as the work.

I know you can do this – remember you want to look back on this process and think how well you handled it, rather than what a trauma it was.

Remember courageous people like you handle challenges with courage, dignity and positive intent.

Remember to email me to tell me how well you did in your exams!! – 

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