Having a lot of trouble 'switching off' from academia.

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deep-techno
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01 Oct 2009, 10:41 am

There are a few issues I’ve been having lately with regards to how I am working. After several conversations at various points with teachers, there are several concerns I’ve been having that have been brought to my attention. Several other teachers at various points have also expressed their concern for me as well. These issues had a high prevalence in Year 12, and I feel I need thorough guidance on how to correct them. Even though Year 12 was excellent with regards to my results (AAAB at AS-Level), it wasn’t a particularly happy year for me (and I do feel as if I very nearly ‘bombed out’). However, it is also worth considering my Asperger’s Syndrome with these concerns, because that has largely intensified the situation at times.

My particular traits of Asperger’s Syndrome include:

1. Reliance of structure/Obsessive work – This is a problem I have, because it greatly reduces flexibility (and makes time management therefore much more difficult). For example, my timetable involves 50-minute “free periods” where I can do work for a particular subject, but these imply that I have to be working for the full 50 minutes otherwise the work is insufficient. I find it extremely difficult to be flexible, and as a result, I can’t work very effectively (this happened a lot in Year 12). For instance, at home I might decide to “do 5 questions from this page in the next hour” whereas I know it needs to be more digestible, such as “do 2 questions in the next 20 minutes, followed by a 5-minute break”. If there is a sudden change to my routine, such as going out for lunch/dinner, or a piece of working taking far longer than anticipated, this can really get on my nerves. If I need to catch up on something, I become adamant that I have to stay up very late in order to compensate. As a result, this induces panic and might make me perform worse.

2. Logical thinking – even though for my A-Levels this is not a bad thing, sometimes I interpret things overly logically (and so it is lateral thinking that is the problem sometimes). For example, the “an hour at home per hour at school” rule led me to think that the hour at home should be in one arbitrary block. This sometimes leads me to very inflexible conclusions.

3. Rigidity of thought – This is a personal trait that I don’t think helps me. I am often not very open-minded and find it very hard to apply advice given to me and put it actively into practice (e.g. if a teacher gave me some advice, I’d find it easier to carry on as if I didn’t receive the advice) when a lot of other things are bothering me. It has also meant that in previous years I’ve sometimes been seen as self-opinionated or closed-minded. However, this is something I want to fix.

4. Worrying – A lot of people worry at times, however, worry and anxiety is multiplied for people with Asperger’s Syndrome. If there is something bothering me, I can’t seem to carry on with things in my mind unless that thing is fixed. This means that I might spend too long on a piece of work and this could put other work at risk. Another thing is that I can’t easily differentiate between whether I’m worrying unnecessarily or if I’m genuinely concerned about something. This sometimes stems from the fact that I set myself very high targets (e.g. trying to aim as close to 100% as possible, or always trying to get A grades) and can get easily despondent if I don’t meet them the first time (e.g. getting a D in an assignment). However, if I see someone else who does much better than me, it can make me very upset. This leads to a vicious cycle that I don’t want to go through, but I’m not sure how to get rid of it. This cycle has been constantly repeating in Year 12 and I haven’t been able to break it yet.

5. Narrow interests – As a result of this, I don’t really have a ‘hobby’ that I can do to ‘switch off’ from academia. This is because I haven’t found a hobby that engages me and that my academic performance takes precedence over everything else. Whilst I have considered several hobbies such as learning the guitar, I have dismissed it because I don’t have the time to do it (due to homework and academia) and that there is a potential risk of me getting carried away with it. I do sometimes play computer games or go on the Internet to temporarily stop working, but I just can’t ‘switch off’. This is because I know that after temporarily relaxing that I’ll still face the same problems as I did before, so there doesn’t seem to be any logical benefit from it. I often feel that the only way for me to truly ‘relax’ is if any problems just completely disappeared; however, this is not possible.

6. Being introverted/solitary – I am not saying that I’m a ‘loner’ or anything like that, but do sometimes lack social confidence and there are times where I prefer not to be in the company of other people my age. For example, if I am not feeling very happy or if I want to work absolutely quietly, I have to go to the Learning Support room to find some quiet space (and sometimes, even this room is busy). Even though I do socialise quite a bit at school, I don’t do it that much outside of school, because I am so busy with academia.

I am aware of the weaknesses I have been having, but I’m not entirely sure how to rectify them. I would greatly appreciate more specialised support to help me to overcome these difficulties, because it will make Year 13 a much happier year for me than Year 12. Likewise, it will make university life a whole lot easier for me. I believe that I have the potential to achieve excellent results at A-Level, but I can only be sure of that with plenty of guidance.

So, to summarise, here are a few things I’ll need to be helped with:

• Identify spells of wasted time, so that they can be recovered later.
• Try to apply more flexible methods of working to get the most out of my time working.
• Consider working in smaller chunks (e.g. suggested 20 minutes per session).
• Streamline my study and revision technique, as well as making it less erratic.
• Check availability of solitary working environments.
• Carefully choose an alternate sport/hobby or leisure activity to switch away from academia.
• Find the optimum balance between academia and relaxing.

Does anyone have any advice on how to tackle these?


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trekster
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02 Oct 2009, 4:56 pm

There is a Swindon Asperger group where adults meet up and socialise. PM me if you wish to find out more.
If you are free tomorrow and can get to London, im hosting a meet up in Piccadilly Waterstones. We start at
2:15pm in the basement coffee shop.

Heres some things ive found useful
1, "succeeding in college with Asperger syndrome" has been a very useful book for me.
2, A book of idioms (found with other dictionaries) so you can look up terms you cant understand.
3, The tv program catchphrase is often on twice a day on challenge tv.
4, "dummies guide to OCD" has helped me to understand why i ruminate.
5, there are a few books on adolescence and asperger syndrome
6, there are a few sites that are for UK only aspies, PM me for details.

Alexis (who has very similar problems to yours)


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Psygirl6
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05 Oct 2009, 5:20 am

I have the same exact issues you are having. I am obsessed with my studying. I try to break free from it, but the second I try, I just automatically get bored with the fun and have to get my academic "craving". I socialize in school, as well, which is my only socializing. I also like the fact that I can safely study at home in a more quiet environment. In my school and even in the libraries in my area, they no longer have a quiet policy, as they want the library to be fun, open, and noisy to let it be a hang out, rather than a study quiet place.
These are all traits of Asperger's, and yes, they are one of the strengths, especially for our teachers and us, but at the same time, it can be a pain for everyone else around us, who wants us to have fun. Actually, studying has been my coping strategy in times of stress, especially with my Human Anatomy and Math classes. I am so ahead in much of my classes because of this and doing well. So that is a plus.



trekster
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05 Oct 2009, 6:56 am

ive had numerous problems with my course this year. When the university finally admitted their error i was so worked up i couldn't concentrate on my work.

ive found working when ive got the drive to do it helps. In some ways it can be a good obsession. The book "succeeding in college with asperger syndrome" (actually means university not college as its an american book) was very helpful to me.


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aspergers, dyslexia, fibromyalgia, ocd, depression, anxiety, ptsd, insomnia, EDS, suspected dyspraxia, SPD

Life isnt always logical Mr Spock

If you are from the UK then try http://aspievilla.byethost15.com/PHPBB2/index.php i moderate on that site a