Q+A: Overwhelmed by University

Q+A: Overwhelmed by University

Written by: Chereen

Dear Chereen, assalam alaykm! I just read your story about back to school q+a.

In sha Allah, in two weeks I’ll be returning to uni for my 8th semester. I still feel jittery thinking about going back. I’m in architecture school, and somehow even after all these years, I can’t get used to the competition.

Everyone wants to beat everybody else and come out with the best design by the end of the semester. The work load is big enough but keeping up with the competition just clouds my vision. It makes me super worried about winning that I can’t work at all.

I’ve always believed I have it in me to do good work, but I somehow can’t make it become a  reality because I’m just so anxious about what everyone else would be doing.

Please help Chereen ? .

JazakiAllah khair.


Dear Friend, Wa Alaykum Assalam!

You seem to have a case of school anxiety. It happens when you really want to do well but get overwhelmed with the competition or workload. A lot of my students had it when I lectured and academic coached. It ranges from mild to requiring medicine to keep the anxiety under control.

Here’s what I want you to realize. College is a part of your life. What we so often do is let it consume our life and we end up not knowing anything else. Remember that it’s a time in your life you should enjoy, because it’s short term.

It seems like the idea of competition is unhealthy for you. You’ve made it this far for a reason, right? You must take a step back and realize that your only competition should be your past self. Renew your intentions; you’re in school to become a talented architect. The people you’re competing with will work in different companies and different fields of architecture one day. What matters is that you’re focused on your own work and not theirs.

What’s your intention right now? Why did you decide on architecture school?

When you feel like you’re shifting, take a step back. Focus on creating because it makes you happy. Limit your interactions with classmates until you can handle not getting overwhelmed by their work.

I assure you that you will not be successful if you focus on what others are doing. Invest your time into improving what you’re doing and perfecting your vision, that’s what will make you successful.

Grab a white board and write down your ten goals for this semester. None of them should include beating anyone. All of them should focus on self-improvement and well-deserved success. Keep yourself in check often. Every single morning and night you must renew your intentions. Remember what true success is, because that comes from hard work and a positive inner drive.


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