Ask Natalie: How do I get past the mental block I'm having with school?

“Dear Natalie,

I've hit a bit of a mental block on school work. I'm in my final year and I really just don't care anymore. A month and a half in and I'm ready to throw in the towel already. How do I get my ass back in gear so I don't flunk my last few classes?”

I know how you feel. Use this boredom to push yourself. When you don't feel like doing your readings, take a break and do the things you want to do even less.

Look up the Vancouver housing market. Look up the Vancouver job market. Look up other cities that you're probably going to have to move to after graduation which are vastly less fun than Vancouver. Find out how much a personal website costs and spend the next hour comparing prices on domain names.

Soon, you'll be excited to go back to your readings.

In all seriousness, yes, it's about time that you've hit a wall. Maybe you're like me and are in your 18th straight year in school and you're excited that you can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. It's normal. You just need to power through it.

Try to treat this hump like every other hump you've gotten over. Do your work, write your midterms, sharpen your pencils. It's fine. It's the senior slump and it sucks. But you'll get through it. You've gotten through every one before.

“Natalie,

I can't decide if I'm not enjoying my classes because I'm bad at them or I'm bad at them because I'm not enjoying them?”

I'm sure you're not bad at all your classes. If all your classes are in one subject and you're doing poorly and you normally do well, it might be that you've just hit your max on how much of that one subject you can handle. It might be that you're bad at the one subject, but if you had a good track record with it before, I wouldn't jump to that conclusion.

If you're taking a range of classes and you're doing poorly, that might mean that you're pushing yourself too much and you should re-evaluate how much you should put on your plate at once. If you're only doing poorly at only a couple, it might just be that it's not your strong suit. That’s okay. Power your way through this term and regroup next semester.

But, if this all your courses and they’re a range of different topics, then consider that sometimes — and I’m not a backseat therapist but a ton of students have similar issues — mental health plays a part in how we can process, excel and enjoy school.

If you have a history with or think you could possibly be affected by mental health, look into getting help. Everyone gets stressed and everyone goes has to make sure their mental health is taken care of the best they can.

“Dear Natalie,

What should I go as for Halloween?”

One hundred per cent, zero question Santa Claus. Not only is it the wrong holiday, but people will try reading into it’s meaning so much and it would be hilarious. The Easter Bunny is a little too under the radar. The tooth fairy has no real form. Santa Claus. It would be so funny.

“Natalie,

When is it okay to start celebrating Christmas?”

Have you seen my desk? It already has Christmas lights up. I may enjoy the spooky holiday of Halloween, but in my heart it’s always about Christmas. I come from the part of Canada that gets snow (read: everywhere but Vancouver) and I’ve never really gotten over the fact that I don’t get a white Christmas every year. It brings a peppermint-flavoured tear to my eye.

Me going crazy while decorating my dorm in first year.
Me going crazy while decorating my dorm in first year. Baylee Landymore

I listen to my main man, Michael Bublé, all year round. I love gingerbread and bake all the time. I love the smell of the heaters coming on for the first time in the year. I love snow. I love when the lights go up downtown. I like that everyone seems happier and more friendly in December. I think it’s so funny that we lie to kids about a man who comes down their chimney. I try to live like Christmas is all year round.

I’m starting to think this is a recurring theme for me. On second thought, maybe don’t dress up as Santa Claus for Halloween or I may hunt you down and force you to hang out with me.

Need advice? Contact Natalie anonymously at asknatalie@ubyssey.ca or at ubyssey.ca/advice and have your questions answered!