Helpless

I have a lot of different things going on in my head today, so I found it hard to focus on what to write about. So today I’m acting partially on a cue from dailypost.wordpress.com, a WordPress blog dedicated to helping those like me who are trying to post every day this year. The cue comes from the word “helpless” and asks about the last time you felt helpless and how you dealt with it.

What I immediately thought of was the semester I just finished of school and it made me reflect on how really lucky I am when it comes to school.

Last semester I was taking a total of three courses, which really doesn’t sound like a lot. Mind you, two of the courses were six hours, and one of those six-hour courses was called Senior Reporting, and it provided the biggest challenge I’ve faced in journalism school thus far. It had us each assigned to a specific beat around Ryerson, and we would do our best to pitch and write stories every week (with the exception of one or two people this goal was not met by anyone).

I had a bad experience with the course fairly early on. We had an assignment in which we had to talk to four people who would be knowledgeable about our assigned beats. I was covering the faculty of engineering and architecture, and by the time the due date for the assignment was a day or two away, I was only halfway done, I couldn’t believe how miserable I felt—I always take pride in my ability to get things done ahead of time, and so not even being able to finish an assignment made me feel, well, helpless.

When it came time for the assignment to be handed in, I was feeling incredibly anxious as I clutched my half-done paper. Then came a wave of relief. My professor said that we could hand it in on Friday (two days later) if we weren’t finished.

I realized at that point that they way I acted was extremely unproductive. Rather than try and overcome the crippling doubt and useless feelings I wallowed in it and didn’t try as hard as I should have. The next two days I went into overdrive and managed to snag two more interviews and was able to hand in the assignment on Friday without losing any grades or anything like that.

That feeling of helplessness would resurface several more times throughout the semester, mostly associated with my reporting class again. I probably didn’t completely learn my lesson from the first assignment but I think I dealt with the anxiety a little better.

The point of the story is that I don’t consider myself an overly lucky person, but if there’s one realm that I have a lot of it in it has to be school. There have been the rare occasions where I haven’t adequately finished an assignment only to find out that the deadline had been extended somewhat, leaving me more time to get a better grade.

And the anxiety I felt this semester is something I’m going to try and not let happen to me again.

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