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Dear Ivy,

I've been very stressed these past few weeks. Homework keeps piling up -- exams after exams after exams, and the more it piles up, the less motivation I have to do it. The less motivation, the more procrastination, and so the spiral goes on. I used to enjoy studying and school in general, but now I feel so burnt out. I've asked my teachers for extensions, but they don't seem to understand. They just say that I should've seen the deadline coming. I don't know what to do anymore.

Hey there!

I’m so sorry you feel this way! School is not easy and to be honest, I don’t really believe anyone that says it is. Yes, some things may come easier to some people, but the way the school system is set up, it ultimately ends up causing burn out.

You are not alone in the way you are feeling. The lack of motivation, the procrastination – everything – is normal. I first need to applaud you because look at you go! You are doing school in a middle of a freaking pandemic. The past year or so now has changed the lives of so many people and so many things. The things we used to do in one way, we have to do now in a completely different way. Unfortunately, when it comes to schooling, it caused a lot of problems when it was moved online.

I want to help you find that love for studying and school again. It’s almost the end of the school year and typically things get very busy this time. I’m not one to tell anyone to not do their work – but I will tell you to delegate. Your homework is definitely important for practicing different concepts, but what I’ve found is that teachers give a lot of practice for the same things. So, what I used to do in high school, was I tried to focus on the questions that I didn’t know how to do and less of a focus on the stuff I already knew or was good at. That is one way to try and avoid burn out and to make sure you complete your work.

Now, teachers are also definitely going through a difficult time too with the pandemic and the end of the year stuff. However, that does not excuse them for not trying to understand your situation. Unfortunately, there is not much you can do in that area except be persistent. In high school, and even in university, I have realized one thing when it comes to teachers – if they want to give extensions, they will, and if they don’t, they typically will not. I don’t know why that’s the case and why certain teachers are stuck in their ways, but it’s just what I’ve noticed. I would suggest continuing to ask your teachers, and when you ask them, try to explain your situation and give reasoning. Teachers typically understand better or will consider something if they are convinced, and so basically you just have to try to convince them. You know how when you really want something from your parents, so you lay out your best plan and work to convince them – that’s what you got to do.

But, if you put in your effort in asking and trying to convince them to see your point of view, and it still doesn’t work, leave it. You are almost at the end of school and this type of stress is not good. Even if they say no to the extensions, you just try and put the best effort you can into completing their assignments. As long as you did your best that you could’ve done at the time, the grades don’t matter that much.

What I want you to take from this is very simple. When you are feeling less motivated and exhausted, I want you to make a list of reasons why you like school and how you want your future to look. This will hopefully, remind you of how you used to like school. I also want you to take breaks when needed. You don’t need to finish everything and do everything right away. If you are feeling tired and burnt out, take a break – step away and take a breather to calm your mind. And finally, I want you to try and convince your teachers to give you an extension. If they don’t it’s fine because you will complete the assignments in the best way you can in the moment. People have good days and bad days, but none of that defines anything. If you’re having a bad day, you give the best you can on that bad day and you don’t compare your best on your bad day to your best on your good day.

Take it easy on yourself and take care of yourself. School is very important, and so are deadlines, but nothing is set in stone – there is always room for changes. So, remember the most important thing is making sure you have done your best, and that you’re okay!

Good Luck!

- Ivy

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