What's your story about a time when you made it through a really stressful work/school situation?

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lizpoona
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What's your story about a time when you made it through a really stressful work/school situation?

Post by lizpoona » Sun Mar 25, 14:38 2018

So I'm on my last stretch of schooling before I finally obtain my Bachelor's degree... and this semester is like, the worst.

The thing I always find most helpful when I'm stressing out and feel like I'm in some kind of hellish textbook-based nightmare is to hear other people's stories about getting through stuff and coming out okay in the end.

So friends, what's a time where you felt totally dragged down and hopeless at work or school, but still managed to do what you needed to do? Whether it was a project, exam, unexpected failure, negative environment, etc? How did it turn out, and what did you find helpful? What motivated you? Did you learn something that helped you later?

Alternatively, if you're dealing with something currently, how is that going and what's getting you through it?
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Re: What's your story about a time when you made it through a really stressful work/school situation?

Post by Plotthickens » Sun Mar 25, 16:03 2018

We're renovating a suburban property. When we moved in, every week something blew up. We had to grow a new hand to deal with the explosion, because the other two hands were already dealing with last week's aftermath. That was the first two years. Entirely new electrical, telephone wiring, two new bathrooms, a new Master Suite, and my family were, um, not helpful. I had a literal nervous breakdown and lost, I estimate, about 30 IQ points during that horrific experience. They came back slowly, but it was rough. After those two years, the explosions happened less frequently, though bigger. New windows everywhere because the existing ones were basically pneumonia holes. An entire section of fence came down and that meant earthwork, etc etc etc.

Last year it was a new kitchen/laundryroom/back door entranceway. Five months of no bathroom, no laundry room, no weekends, someone in the house working and needing supervision EVERY DAMN DAY. The garden went to hell. All estate work went out the window. Eating healthily was down the tubes. I damaged my feet from neglect -- still have yet to do the treatment regime for that one, ugh. The whole ordeal was almost as bad as the first two years. I kept my sanity and my IQ, everyone involved did a good job the are proud of, and the project is allllmost done, so the most important things were taken care of. I need to make inserts for the glass cabinet fronts, find garbage cans I like, and replace a couple of crap heating vents. Piddling stuff... the heavy lifting is done and well-done at that.

But the gophers have invaded the garden, the orchard went right to hell, and everything else is really doing poorly. And you know what? That's OK. Last year was working on this massively huge project... this year will be recovering from it. Self-Compassion is essential in sanity, happiness, and success. Everyone who goes through a massive project like this has scars. It's okay that I'm going to take a year to work on the things I couldn't work on last year. Beating myself up for not doing "more" is stupid, it only means I have everything to deal with AND GUILT. Instead, I'm trying to treat myself like my best friend would. Eat right, get good sleep, do what I can, heal my injuries, be patient and loving and hardworking and take time to relax sometimes.

Self-compassion has helped me more than anything else I ever learned. I highly recommend it.

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Last edited by Plotthickens on Wed Mar 28, 18:09 2018, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: What's your story about a time when you made it through a really stressful work/school situation?

Post by rowan » Mon Mar 26, 10:56 2018

that makes me glad I bought a house that didn't need any major work lol

I do think you just have to remember not everything has to be perfect, it just has to be done.
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Re: What's your story about a time when you made it through a really stressful work/school situation?

Post by Plotthickens » Mon Mar 26, 11:15 2018

rowan wrote:
Mon Mar 26, 10:56 2018

I do think you just have to remember not everything has to be perfect, it just has to be done.

Kinda like "Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good"?
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Re: What's your story about a time when you made it through a really stressful work/school situation?

Post by octarineoboe » Tue Mar 27, 14:17 2018

Ugh spoon I am so with you. This is my last semester of my master’s degree and i have often felt like I’ve spent two years begging for feedback and structure from my advisor and getting none (I also had a huge breakup in the middle and am convinced I might have been done a YEAR AGO otherwise, but it derailed me for a few months and added an academic year.)

I was watching Community and there’s this one episode where Jeff keeps repeating that they need a project to be DOABLE AND PASSABLE. I put that on a sticky note on my computer monitor to remind myself that, like Rowan said, it doesn’t have to be great, it just has to be good enough.

Developing a routine to get myself working helped a lot. I like to cook but if I came home from work and then made dinner, it’d often be pretty late before I got to schoolwork, or I’d spend too much time on Sunday cooking for the week. So I increased my budget for takeout and bought a lot of easy frozen trader joe’s stuff. On the same weeknight vein I gave myself permission to drive to the library (it’s barely half a mile and I like to walk there, but when it’s dark and cold walking was a deterrent, not to mention taking longer) and decided it was worthwhile to go there even if I only had an hour or less before it closed. I don’t work as effectively at home, so basically a lot of this is on the theme of “make it easy to get out of the house.”

and I freaked out A LOT. My sister and my friends have fielded a ton of “omg should I quit” “ahhh my advisor wants me to read more books” “help why can’t I do this” etc etc etc. I almost had a panic attack on a date because I checked my email and had an email telling me my draft was good but also to read more books and I was like AHHHH I HAVE NO TIME TO READ MORE BOOKS and anyway my date was great about it and then the bartender heard all about my thesis too and was also really nice.

And here’s the best part: I passed my defense yesterday!!!!!!

So tl;dr, lower barriers to getting shit done in whatever way you can, and it’s ok to have feelings about it.

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Re: What's your story about a time when you made it through a really stressful work/school situation?

Post by Sonic# » Tue Mar 27, 15:04 2018

My dissertation was so hard.

To be brief, it took me 4 years to finish. I sought lots of feedback early on and got just a little. I squandered for a while writing but suffering from anxiety because none of it was quite good enough. Then I would procrastinate, take days off, and feel guilty about having done that. I would put forth enough time to get a chapter out, feel hopeful, and then the comments I would receive would return me to the drawing board. Rinse and repeat - the process dragged. Finally I took 6 months off writing, figured out I had to finish the dissertation to keep my current job, wrote for two months, turned in a draft that was again ripped to shreds, and spent the next month in the hardest, most grueling rewrite of my life.

That was closer but wasn't good enough. My advisor told me to revise with my committee member's notes in mind. So I spent another two weeks rewriting and rewriting with the holdout committee member's notes in mind. That, finally, was good enough for approval.

So much could have been helped if my committee had checked on me more, if they had balanced what they were asking with some real mentorship of how to get it done. Instead, I feel like I had to claw my way to the degree, with tons of self-doubt in the process. What helped was whenever I would share with other people. Listeners help. Working in spaces that aren't where I live help. Committing to sitting down every day to work a bit helped. Embracing bad writing as part of the process helped. Taking deliberate breaks helps. Walking helps.

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