Self-sabotage and procrastination

Jade from Cardiff Student Minds shares some useful tips to help break the cycle around exam season

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Self-sabotage mode

For me, as soon as I hear the words exam season, I instantly switch into self-sabotage mode. I convince myself that I am not smart enough to sit these exams and that everyone else in my cohort is way smarter than me. This then leads me to procrastinate instead of studying until the very last minute as I see no point in exhausting myself for an exam that I already believe I will fail at. I then cram in as much work as I can a day or two before and tell myself even if I had bothered revising in advance, my results would still be the same. 

I eventually realised that this behaviour stemmed from my lack of academic confidence and low self-esteem. I had to change the way I thought about my capabilities and really believe in myself. The idea of potentially getting the grade I wanted if I put the work in became appealing to me and I was able to stop myself before falling back into this cycle. 

Breaking the cycle

If this cycle of self -sabotage sounds all too familiar, firstly know that you are not alone. This feeling paired with the circumstances of a global pandemic during exam season can feel overwhelming. But there are ways to push yourself out of this unhealthy habit. Some things that have helped me are:

  • Reminding myself that the regret of failing just because I did not give it my best go is not worth it. 
  • Planning my revision in advance in small chunks (even as small as sitting at my desk for 10 minutes at a time) to stop myself from feeling overwhelmed by all the information. 
  • Reminding myself how good it will feel to submit my work knowing it is the very best I could do. 
  • Reminding myself I am just as capable as all the other students in my cohort, as well as mindfully not comparing myself to others. 
  • Not getting caught up in perfectionism when I'm revising. Your notes do not have to be perfect, nor does your essay plan. Instead, you will feel less overwhelmed if you begin the writing process or mock questions. 
  • Reaching out for help, talk to someone within the university, friends, or family. Let them know you are in need and could do with some motivation. 

If you need any help, please do not hesitate to contact us at Cardiff Student Minds. We wish you the very best of luck this exam season.

Jade Bosley

Cardiff Student Minds Committee


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