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HSC Survival Kit: Getting Over Fear of a Subject

My fear of the subject lay in my initial lack of understanding of how it all...

Project Academy TEAM OF ACADEMIC ADVISORS

Question: I am kinda in a slump where I get scared to study some subjects which has caused me to neglect them. This has made me behind in the work for those subjects and it’s really overwhelming. It’s like I want to study hard for those subjects but something is stopping me. Sort of post-trauma from that subject. Do you know how I can get out of this slump? ‍

Kevin Lu — Maths & Physics Staff

“For me, overcoming those feelings starts with feeling like you are getting work done and building momentum.”**

  • Trust the process of consistent effort: Even if you don’t feel like there is an improvement for all the effort you are putting in, just remember it builds up over time. You might not see results instantly but remember that you are improving and building yourself up, so don’t be too hard on yourself when you don’t see the results right away.
  • Don’t do it alone: I highly suggest that you reach out and ask for help (your friends or your favourite project tutor) because overcoming this feeling of struggle is immensely difficult and everyone around you is there to support you. Whether you use your friend as a study buddy to hold you accountable or study together whatever it is, I’m sure that it will be really helpful for you to go through this with people that love you! ‍

Rishabh Jain — Head of Product & Head of Chemistry

My Experience with Fearing a Subject

I can completely empathise with what you! I had a unit in Semester 1 this year which was absolute hell - it had the highest fail rate out of the entire engineering program, the lecturer could make someone who’s had a triple expresso go to sleep, and the material just went up exponentially in difficulty. All of this made me fear that subject, not want to study for it and just hate having to go through it. However, there was a point in the semester when I did a quiz for it, failed (luckily just a weekly quiz worth 1%), and I just had enough of feeling hopeless. I decided I didn’t want to be there anymore, and I wanted to start tackling this unit decisively, even if it meant so much pain.

Slowly but surely I started to work through and catch up on the material. I did a few study sessions (not too many) with a good friend, sometimes we wouldn’t even talk but just having each other there meant we couldn’t let each other down by giving up.

I would work on the unit consistently, doing an amount each day that I could do, re-reading notes on concepts I didn’t understand, watching videos on them, asking friends until I finally understood it.

Once the pieces started connecting together, it felt so good because I realised the subject wasn’t too bad after all. My fear of the subject lay in my initial lack of understanding of how it all fit together, and that fear was lifted once I lifted the cloud on it. I ended up getting a distinction on the unit I didn’t think I would pass!

Acknowledge and Address Your Fears

One thing I like doing now and learnt from Tim Ferris — Why you should define your fears instead of your goals is Fear-Setting. In society we always encourage each other to set goals, but we never ask to clarify our fears. Tim went through depression, and the thing that got him out of it and into success was:

  1. Clearly defining what his fears were, what exactly he was scared of
  2. What actions he could take to prevent them from happening
  3. What he could do to repair the damage if they did happen
  4. What might be the benefits of an attempt or partial success
  5. What the cost of inaction would be

I don’t do it in the same way that Tim does, but just doing something similar mentally has helped me so much: for example, when I fear starting an assignment, I ask myself: ‍ ‍**What am I scared about?**‍ I don’t want to start because everything is super confusing. ‍ **Let’s try opening up the assignment and reading through it. Which bit is confusing?**‍ Well, section 2 doesn’t really make sense to me. ‍ **What about it doesn’t make sense?
**I’m not sure how apoferritin relates to the investigation we are doing about iron content of blood. ‍ Where can you find information that will help you solve it?
I could ask my lecturer, post on the discussion board, or ask my friends. ‍ **Try one of those things now, what is the result?
**My friends also have no clue with what is going on. ‍ Try asking your lecture, does it help clarify the issue for you?
The lecturer has clarified that apoferritin refers to the empty cage of ferritin which houses iron for storage, and we can use its molar mass to determine the proportion of ferritin binding sites that are occupied. ‍ This now gives me a lot more clarity to start my work!

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Guides / life beyond hsc

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Maximise Your Chances Of Coming First At School

Trial any Project Academy course for 3 weeks.

NSW's Top 1% Tutors

Unlimited Tutorials

NSW's Most Effective Courses

Access to Project's iPad

Access to Exclusive Resources

Access to Project's Study Space