A Pep Talk for When You’re Failing Classes

Hi there. So you’re taking classes? Me too! I’m taking college classes but if you’re taking High School classes, you can still benefit from this post. Here’s my situation, and I’m sure I’m not alone.

I’m in the middle of my semester and my grades are terrible. Literally, I have a C and a D. It’s getting difficult to do any of my schoolwork. The reason for my bad grades is because I do not have the willpower to get them done, so I don’t turn them in at all. If your bad grades are because you don’t understand the material, this post isn’t specifically for you.

I keep having these thoughts running through my head.

“Why even bother? You know your grade is fucked anyway.”

“You know your teacher’s won’t make any exceptions for you. You read the syllabus at the beginning of the semester just like everyone else. Why should you get special treatment?”

“This is all your own fault. You deserve these bad grades because you were lazy.”

But here’s the thing, I know that I don’t know if these statements are true. In reality, my grade might not be fucked, especially if I can get the teacher to work with me. Because they might. They just might make exceptions for me. Teachers are humans too, and while they probably have students try to run shit past them all the time, they might recognize the genuine issues I’m dealing with. They might just understand that this is not laziness. I am striving to complete my classes with respectable grades while swimming upstream, if you will. But if I don’t get my ass in gear, I will end with bad grades, like I did last quarter. So here’s my pep talk to myself.

I can do this. I might not end with perfect grades, but that doesn’t mean that I shouldn’t keep working for the best grade I can get. Even if I do fail, the world will not end, but we will cross that bridge if we get to it. Right now, we are still in the middle of our journey and things are looking grim, so here’s what you are going to do. You are going to get in contact with your professors/teachers either in person or by email. If you feel comfortable, share your mental issues with your teacher(s) and discuss what can be done to get your grade up. Take responsibility for your unfinished assignments and apologize. Don’t make up any other excuses. Dealing with depression is enough and you don’t need to feel like it’s a cheap excuse. It’s not. If you don’t want to disclose that information, just tell your teacher(s) that you have been dealing with a medical issue which has kept you from finishing your work. If your teacher wants more information, you do not have to tell them. If your teacher thinks you’re making it up, so what? You know you’re not, and if they will not make allowances for you, then we will figure out what to do to cross “Failed Class” Bridge. You don’t owe them any personal information. You wouldn’t feel so bad if you weren’t finishing assignments because you were dealing with chemotherapy, and in the same way, you shouldn’t feel too bad about unfinished assignments due to depression, a condition of the mind, which is part of the body (a.k.a. a real medical issue).

Take your assignments one at a time. Give yourself lots of breaks and plenty of time. By working on your homework, you are being a great student, no matter what your grade is. Make a plan to get through all your assignments. Set alarms if you have to. Give yourself rewards. Make your checkpoints easy to hit. Success begets success. Make sure you take time to notice what you have accomplished, but don’t forget to move on to the next assignment.

When you get to the end of the semester, know that you have done everything you could to get a good grade and go ahead and give yourself a reward for finishing the semester, which is a feat in and of itself, no matter your grade.

Remember, this too will pass. Life will go on. You will recover. This is not as big of a deal as it seems to be at this moment. Bad grades do not equal low self worth. Good grades don’t increase your worth either. They are simply an indicator of if you learned and understood the material taught to you.

Your self worth is not tied to your grades, study habits, comments on your work from your teachers, I.Q., or any other subject dealing with school. You are priceless because you are human and all humans are loved by Jesus. There is nothing you could do to make Him stop loving you. Nothing. You’ve got this and He’s got you.

Love you!

Are you having a hard time getting through school? I’m here. Tell me about it in the comments or email me if its too personal to put here.

Where Does the Name of my Blog Come From?

As part of my 31-day blog challenge, one of the challenges is to explain the name of my blog.

I am in love with reading. I thoroughly enjoy traveling through other worlds by reading amazing books, and even watching T.V. and movies. I feel a great kinship with so many characters, one of the strongest with Anne of Green Gables. She goes through so much as an orphan and she develops this way of coping with her situation by escaping through books and imagining friends. She has the ability to take her situation and completely change it in her mind so that she is in a whole different world that intrigues and delights her. It usually contains this dashing suitor and a tragic romance. This coping mechanism keeps her going when she deals with prejudice, abuse, and just horrible mistreatment and harassment from adults who should be caring for her.

When Anne finally catches a break, she is chosen to be sent to Prince Edward Island to fulfill a request for a little girl to adopt. On the island, she meets Matthew and Marilla (the people who requested a child) and they ask her for her name. She replies:

Could you please call me Cordelia?

She explains that she feels her name, Anne, is too plain. She thinks her name is ordinary and very boring. But if Matthew and Marilla could just call her Cordelia, she could imagine she was the person she wished she could be. She would be exciting and adventurous and beautiful. Of course, Marilla promptly tells her that this is nonsense and that Marilla will call her by her given name. Marilla doesn’t imagine. She lives in reality all the time.

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Anne Shirley is one of my favorite characters.

The thing is, I have spent so much time wishing I was someone else. If I could just change this, or if I could fix that, then I would be the perfect person I have always wanted to be. The name of my blog relates to that wish that I make in the “depths of despair” when things are too difficult and I am just disgusted with myself. I just want to be Cordelia. Perfect Cordelia.

My goal for this blog is to provide a place for people who want to be Cordelia. A place to relate to someone. I want to share my experiences from the depths of despair and how I work to get back to a happy place. I hope that my stories and help can inspire someone else to either move forward and keep trying or to get help so that they can do that.

I would really like to hear about some fictional characters that you relate with, from any form of media. Comment below and tell me what they mean to you.

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15 Things You Can Clean in 15 Minutes

You know Leslie Knope’s house in Parks and Rec when she is going to host a dinner party to impress her well-traveled boyfriend? Remember the complete mess? Okay, please refer to figure 1.a

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Figure 1.a The Official Chart of Messy Houses

Needless to say, my house is such a wreck that Ralph should live here (anyone? anyone?). I have a difficult time getting the cleaning done because I don’t care enough to clean. I only care when someone is coming over. Then I bust my butt and get mad when it’s down to the wire and everything is still too messy. I feel overwhelmed by my house right now and I need simple short tasks I can easily complete. I present to you: 15 things that you can clean in 15 minutes.

  1. Coffee table – mine has a ton of dishes and school books on it with a few other odds and ends, but I can’t see the table so it’s probably time to clean it.
  2. Bookshelf – my kids have half a bookshelf that is for all their mass of books and luckily they like to read. Unluckily, they haven’t figured out how to actually put books back nicely so it’s all pretty.

    Figure 1.b Actual footage from my dreams

  3. Entryway – shoes flood the area since I started the “take your shoes off at the door” rule. Not to mention mail and random stuff has accumulated on the little desk by the door. Time to put it all away and light a candle to get rid of the stinky shoe smell.
  4. Couch – I spend a lot of time on the couch. Like a lot. I pretty much set up camp on the couch and I do all my schoolwork, blogging, and Pinteresting here. As I look to my right I can see:
    • my blog notes
    • my daughter’s homework folder
    • a book that belongs with the kids’ books on the bookshelf
    • my planner
    • a box of Kleenex
    • an empty plate with a knife on top (I had a bagel earlier).
    • my church projection computer notes
    • a few coloring pages
    • a few blankets of various sizes (you need to be ready for anything)
  5. Folding a basket of clothes – I don’t always get the laundry done before we run out of clothes, but when I actually do the laundry, I rarely fold it or put it away. We spend way too many mornings putting our clothes back in the dryer to get the wrinkles out so we don’t look like hobos. I should probably get better at folding clothes.
  6. Putting away the basket of clothes

    Figure 1.c All of the people who have never put away a basket of clothes before

    Calm down. I know this is a ridiculous request, but if we put away our clothes, tomorrow we can get out of the shower and open our closet like some rich girl from the movies and it will make us feel good!

  7. Throw away the trash in the kitchen – I’m not sure why I don’t throw away trash as I make it, but I don’t. It stays on the counter until I or someone else cleans the kitchen. Full disclosure: no one else in my house throws their trash away either, so it’s not just me. It will take no time at all to simply walk around the kitchen throwing things away.
  8. Hallway – I have one hallway and unless someone has thrown the entire contents of their room into the hallway (for which there is a precedent), my hallway cleaning entails picking up a few things and vacuuming. Super quick.
  9. The dining room table – there is a small caveat to this one: I’m not including doing the dishes from the table. I just set them in the sink. #ihatedoingdishes
  10. The top of my dresser/my makeup table – the top of my dresser has the really large mirror on it and it is where I do my hair and makeup. I don’t clean as I go (haven’t you figured that out yet?) and it gets pretty cluttered and wrecked. Putting things back where they belong doesn’t really take that much effort from me, other than deciding to do it.
  11. Start a load of laundry – oh no, we came full circle, didn’t we? It doesn’t take too long and if you’re reading this post, I’m guessing you need clean clothes just as much as I do.
  12. Bathroom mirror(s) – I never think about cleaning the mirrors until its a sunny day and the blinds are open and I can clearly see all the splashes from the sink all over the mirrors. Maybe I need to come up with a cleaning schedule…
  13. The bed – if you have stuff all over your bed such as books, clean clothes, electronics, etc., put them away in the simplest way possible. If you don’t have time to put away the clean clothes in 15 minutes, put them back in the basket and find a place for the basket. Get it? Honestly, I always think making my bed is a waste of time. I’m going to mess it up in a few hours anyway. But when I do, it looks so warm and cozy and special. I remember once again how good the sight of my made bed makes me feel and I wonder why I don’t do it every day.
  14. The kids’ beds – my daughter is just old enough to be able to make her bed. The boys are still pretty small so I make their beds for them… occasionally. Most of the time they just stay unmade. But there is something that inspires me about a made bed (see #13).
  15. Pick up trash in your car – depending on how bad the trash situation in your car is, this whole job might take more than 15 minutes. If that’s the case, set a timer and clean until it goes off. If you are so inclined, go ahead and finish the job. If not, walk proudly back into your house knowing you worked hard today. For me, I pick up the trash while we are going through the car wash. I always grab a few complimentary trash bags as we go through the car wash line. The next time we get a wash, I have the kids unbuckle as soon as I pull into the parking lot and they take a trash bag and fill it up. By the time we get to the trash can, I grab a few more bags, the job is done and I didn’t have to do much at all. Win-win.

If you struggle with keeping a clean house like I do, #1: please let me know because I like to see that other people struggle with the same things I do and #2: know your not the only person who has a messy house. You’re not alone. We may be gross but we’re gross together! Gross power! Okay but seriously, let’s pick something to clean because it’s about time.

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Inspiration to Get Your Homework Done

If you’re anything like me, you are a procrastinator. For example, I’m putting off homework right now! In my intro to college class (that colleges make you take so you know how to study and what resources are available to you and how to make it in the real world) we are talking about how lack of motivation is the number one reason students drop out of school. They may say it’s money or that it’s too hard, but it’s more than likely that they’ve run out of steam.

I wish I looked this good when I don’t want to get out of bed but that’s a lot of effort and makeup to sleep in. Not that I haven’t done it before…

Here’s the thing. You’re going to lose your motivation. It happens all the time. Becoming an adult means learning to find the motivation again after you’ve lost it. Elementary school teachers are constantly trying to figure out how to teach material in a fun and engaging way so that the kids stay motivated to finish the lesson and remember the subject matter. The older you get, the less interested your teachers are about making it fun, more they are looking for meaningful connections and discussion. You have to find inspiration and motivation on your own.

And so it goes with life. BYOI (or BYOM for those who like that better). You’re going to have to do things you don’t want to do. There will be times you have to summon the motivation just to get up off the couch or out of bed. For people with depression, this is impossible. Or at least it feels that way.

The first thing to do is believe it is possible to get your homework done. Repeat after me: I can get my homework done. Breathe. Say it again. Take a bigger breath and say it one more time. You got this.

Look! The Doctor believes in you!

The bright side to doing your homework is that you probably only have to get up to go get your materials. Otherwise, you can just sit down on the couch. You don’t have to get up or do manual labor. Physically, this is an easy task.

Something I do a lot when I am procrastinating and dreading homework is to make a homework plan for this particular homework session and for the week. I like making lists and I like seeing things in small tasks. It helps me. I like having a plan.

Journaling has really helped inspire me lately. Try opening a Google Doc and writing out your ultimate goal for your education. Do you simply want to graduate high school? Go on to college? Graduate from college? What kind of degree do you want? What might be nice to major in? Write out all these things and then write a story from your point of view. I want you to imagine you are achieving your ultimate educational goal right now. I want you to write what is happening to you, where you are, who is with you, a whole complete description. Make sure to include how you feel on this day. Once you’ve finished, you’ve got a vision. Look back at this during the bad times, when you can’t remember why you wanted to go to college in the first place. Resist all thoughts of impossibility. If you can’t, write down the thoughts running through your head and change can’t to can and write down why and how you can do it. Every negative thought should become positive

Go to Pinterest. Make a board just for homework inspiration. Put pictures of pretty desks on it. Find interesting homework assignments and funny ones. Put pictures of what you imagine you will look like after completing your homework or schooling. Find cute school supplies and backpacks. Anything that moves you to want to do your work, put it there.

Make a playlist of your favorite movie soundtracks. Try to stay away from songs with lyrics and songs that remind you of lullabies. Keep it upbeat and moving. You’ll like the familiarity of the music but it won’t distract you from your work. Original video game music is also great for studying because it’s meant to keep your focus and keep you on edge, helping you get your homework done faster.

Play pretend. Make believe that you work for NASA and that it is imperative that you figure out these equations pronto. Maybe you’re a detective taking detailed notes on your subject. You’re not about to let another murder happen on your watch. Or you could be sitting on a train in the early 1900s writing a novel or a letter to your dearest friend while a server brings you champagne (go get a champagne flute with whatever drink you like to complete the picture), or my personal favorite, you are studying with your crush and you are sitting right next to him. He doesn’t know you like him, you don’t know he likes you, but you both have fallen madly in love. He watches you and all your little mannerisms when you’re not looking. He’s learning the little things about you and he accidentally lets it slip that he knows too much about you for your relationship to be in the friend zone. He lends you his sweatshirt and it smells so incredibly good and you and he study together, neither of you willing to admit your feelings, but he is confident and sure of himself. See? You can get super detailed with it if you want to (as you can see I have). Make your homework a part of your happy place.

Look, I know you are dreading this. Start with fifteen minutes of work. If you can get through fifteen legitimate minutes of work, then you can treat yourself to a cookie or reading one chapter of your favorite book. Find something.

You can do this.

You can do this.

You can do this.

I believe in you.

I love you.