Procrastinators Anonymous is a fellowship of men and women who share their experience, strength and hope with each other that they may solve their common problem and help others to recover from chronic procrastination.

I Need Help ASAP!!!

I don't know what to do. I'm panicked, I feel horrible and I think I've ruined everything for myself. I don't know how to describe what it is that I do, but the short version is that I am a junior in college and have received excellent grades for most of my life, but ever since sophomore year I've been bombing at school. I put myself into this zone where I don't think about my school work, and by the time I finally have to confront the work that I've been missing, it's almost always too late to fix anything. I'm a smart person and I know if I even put a mediocre effort into my work I would do well, but doing even that seems to have proven impossible for me. I always start the new semester feeling like that semester will be different, fueled by the self-hatred and anxiety my last bombing caused. About halfway through the semester, an event comes along like two large exams on the same day or a large paper, and I procrastinate, and I'm not ready on the day in question.

Being me, I avoid classes (even my other classes- in case someone sees me there from the class I'm behind in), and put myself into the "zone" using my computer, a book, or the tv, whatever I can. I then feel like I can't go back, convincing myself that I'll fix everything if I just take one more day off and get everything done. Then, I stop going to classes alltogether once it becomes obvious that I'm way behind and I have no valid excuse for it. It doesn't seem like an option to go talk to my professors, knowing that they will see right through me and devalue me as a student. So I avoid. In order to avoid, however, I must lie. I am lying to everyone I know, without exception (hence why I look online for advice instead of talking to someone I know). I hid in my closet before my roommate woke up (we have separate bedrooms) and waited till she left for class, then came out and acted like I got back before her. I made elaborate lies about papers I was working on, using the work I was actually supposed to be doing as a base.

The whole time I didn't do anymore school work, preventing myself from thinking about anything school related with whatever distraction I could find and telling myself I'd make it all up when I couldn't avoid my own thoughts any longer. When I really allow myself to take it all in, I have a mini mental breakdown, wish there was someone, anyone that could punch me in the face if it would make me feel a little less guilty. Then I would distract myself again, avoiding that mental and emotional pain like the plague. Why do I feel so guilty you might ask? I know exactly how much money my parents are paying for me to go to the private college I am at. My father is retired (he is over 65), and my mother only works part time, and my school is being paid for through their hard earned savings. And I'm wasting it. I'm wasting my time, and I am the biggest disappointment to myself that you could possibly imagine.

Fast forward to now- I went through exam week thinking I could still make all the work up, confess everything to my professors, and have them take some amount of mercy on me. But of course, I never stepped up, and proceeded to act like the semester had never happened. I missed half of the semester from school without anyone outside of the people in my classes knowing (I transfered to an easier school this year after bombing at my last one, so I none of the people in my classes are friends I see outside of campus). Exams ended last week, and I thought I had covered all avenues and my parents could not see my grades. I was wrong, they had access to my account online and saw my straight F's. They appropriately freaked out and called me home to talk to them. I lied, I told them that the grades were a mistake and that they just hadn't been logged in yet and that I would talk to the registrar's office and get it worked out.

I am an excellent liar, again, I've been lying to everyone I know constantly about the largest part of my life. It's tricky to remember who exactly has been told which story and which lies (my friends, my roommate, and my parents have all been given different versions), and sometimes I slip up, but no one has uncovered my web yet. They called again tonight to ask how my meetings with professors had gone, and I made up a whole day of running around campus that never actually happened, complete with details. Then they told me they had emailed my advisor (who is also one of my professors) and told him that they had seen my grades and my story about them being wrong. He sent one back saying that he couldn't legally tell them anything about my grades, but strongly hinted that they were in fact the correct grades. I managed to convince them again, and got them to agree that they would not email him again until I talked to him. They then told me that they wanted me to sign a waiver so that they could talk to him themselves. I'm seeing my mother tomorrow afternoon and I know she'll have the waiver for me to sign and won't waste time sending it in and uncovering the truth.

So basically, I am screwed and I don't know what to do. I bawled my eyes out for about half an hour, and then I came on here to write this. I don't know what I'm asking for. Advice I guess, on what to do and where to go from here. Mostly, I just needed to tell someone, know that someone somewhere knows the real version beyond the lies.

Thanks for whatever you can offer

**** UPDATE: I went home and spilled my guts and my parents are being more supportive than I could hope for or deserve. Now on to my professors. Thanks everyone for your support, it was great to share my crisis and I hope to make posting on this site a habit****

Re: I Need Help ASAP!!!

Hi Blueberry,
Glad to see you back again. I think we've all been rather concerned about you since reading your original post.
Regarding your update:
I'm very happy you talked it out with your parents; it was the best thing you could do. 
Now that you've done that and understand your situation - your frustration & so forth - a little bit better, yes, the next step would be to speak w/ your professors. 
A few thoughts  ......
Sometimes we might feel bad if we don't live up to others expectations or don't deliver on what was promised or expected... such as turning in a term paper on time, for example.  Then when coming face-to-face with the person we know will be disappointed, it might seem easier to make up some excuse in order to deflect the blame .... blaming an incomplete term paper on an interruption caused by some unforeseen event that was (supposedly) beyond our control.  Why would someone do that? ... Perhaps because we abhor ... or fear ... or otherwise have trouble facing & accepting ...... the truth.  
One truth being that we just didn't plan or budget our time well enough   ....
Equally important ..  another truth ... that we just didn't have the interest in it or motivation to start on it sooner rather than later. 
Next... the real truth ... the root of it all  ... that perhaps we just don't want to be where we are; maybe we really don't enjoy the class & would rather be anywhere else. 
Or the truth is that we signed up for college because it was expected of us, we begin by taking general classes because that's what everyone else does.  Then sophomore year comes along, the classes are more advanced or specific, we're expected to begin selecting a major (if we haven't yet already) .. or we question the major we have chosen (which by the way is natural & completely normal for most college students just starting out).
At that point, we question every class we take and wonder whether or not we're on the right track.  Further along, we feel even more strongly that something is off.  There's a nagging feeling that this is perhaps not really what we want to study ... and the very idea of being locked into a career that we won't enjoy then eventually brings on tremendous fear ... perhaps even to the point of some sort of emotional paralysis.  We just can't - or don't want to - move forward.
We want to get off the train we're on ... or at least take a break for a while ... to rethink everything... but fear of disappointing those closest to us keeps us from pulling the cord to slow it down to a more comfortable level.
I think it's time to re-evaluate the track you're on at school.
Here's something I just saw on Oprah that I think would be very useful for you .....
Even though this particular series of episodes is filed under money & career, the tools provided by Marcus Buckingham can be applied to any area of your life.  And, in a way, what you're currently focused on is in fact ... your "college career".
The episode I watched last week (Session 3) was very powerful and showed how taking time to look at and evaluate your strengths and weaknesses can make all the difference! 
The people who volunteered to participate in the process were in crisis mode with regard to their work and / or juggling their responsibilities at work with those at home.  These were people who were extremely unhappy with their jobs and finally found ways to identify what they really enjoy and what's truly important to them.... and then act on it ... to make changes for the better.
It even follows one woman who kept putting off implementing the changes required because she worked in partnership with her husband and was worried that reducing her responsibilities at work would negatively impact her marriage.  Eventually she ended up in the hospital and that's when she finally had the courage to discuss the situation with her husband.  Subsequently, they re-organized her responsibilities at the office, thereby reducing her stress hugely & she & they both are definitely much happier now.
The series points out that though our weaknesses should not be ignored, the crux of the process involves redirecting our energies away from those things that aren't working for us and focusing instead on our strengths ... those things which are a natural byproduct of the things we truly enjoy doing, working on, studying, spending time on, etc.
I think watching these sessions and going through the process would be very useful for you. 
You can check them out on TV, online at , or if you have an iPod you can subscribe to the podcast in iTunes and download each session automatically.
Let me reassure you......
When you know what you want, it's a magnificent feeling!
Then there'll be no stopping you!
With genuine interest - even passion - in your studies ....... taken one at a time, the readings, term papers, projects, etc. will become much more effortless and I think you'll actually find them enjoyable. 
Even though I finished college some time ago, for me it feels very good to sometimes block out everything else & give myself some time to work on a project related to a topic in which I'm interested ... or crack the book on a new skill I want to learn ... or another that I might want to polish up or really master.  Some of my favorite hobbies / interests are photography and languages (right now I'm working on perfecting my fluency in Spanish & French).  I also want to improve my skills in MS Frontpage, a web-development program.
You know, they say: "Do what you love & the money will follow".....
When I was young, it was difficult growing up .. oldest of two, being raised solo by a very dedicated, hard-working divorced mother, living in a foreign country.  There was no time to be spent or wasted on daydreaming & exploring one's creativity.  that was a luxury we couldn't afford. 
After HS, it wasn't long after that I had to go to work full-time to help my family financially.  Through that first office job ... as a mail clerk, then later promoted to application screener & eventually insurance underwriter, I was able to qualify for tuition reimbursement (though it had to be work-related)  ... and that's how I got through college, one or two classes at a time, until finally I'd earned my Bachelors in Bus & Mgt.  The beauty of that degree is that I can take it anywhere & apply it to my work. 
Unfortunately, I really hated insurance underwriting & was bored out of my mind.  I stuck it out long enough to get my degree.  Then just as I was about to meet with a placement agency ... totally unexpectedly, I slipped on the ice one January day ... and broke my left leg.  Double fracture.  A cast from the top of my thigh all the way down to my toes.  Disability for 7 months.  Eventually, they phased out my position at the insurance company.  It was a coincidence, but the truth was that I didn't really mind.  Finally that torturously boring job was over.
Eventually, while still on disability, but now with a shorter cast (from my knee down to my toes) and still on crutches ... I signed up for computer classes at CompUSA ... . and hauled my butt all over Chicagoland ... to just about every single one of their locations ... in order to cram in as many classes as possible while enrolled in one of their 3-month unlimited computer class memberships.
Finally, with my first resume in hand ... after having taking quite a while to - for the first time - list, review, polish up & summarize the last 17 years at the insurance company... and with a morbid fear of interviews, I was lucky enough to eventually land my first job as an executive assistant.  Hard to believe that was 9 years and two companies ago!  It can be very interesing work, at the corporate level.  Now, though my most recent company is shutting down it's Chicagoland office and we all find ourselves looking for new full-time work.
That's why I'm here I guess.... my procrastination due to my morbid fear of interviews & dislike of office politics (though there were some wonderful coworkers that became even better friends at each of my office jobs... and for that I'll be forever grateful).  So, now I'm trying to focus on that as a positive motivator.  Eventual financial issues if I don't get my butt in gear, would be a good one, too.
As an aside ....
There are times when I've thought that perhaps I should have gotten a Bachelors in Accounting instead (there's always work in Accounting) & then later gone for a Masters in Bus. & Mgt.  At this point, for now, what's done is done.  I can only move forward from here. 
There are times I've thought about going back for a Masters in Psychology.  That's always interested me and, in addition to the A's in English, Math, Drafting (in high school), and languages  ...  I always received A's in Psychology in college.  Why didn't I pursue that?  It didn't directly pertain to my work at the insurance company, I needed to work to help my family; I needed to find some way to pay for my education and tuition reimbursement was the best way to do it all, at the time.  So, now I can say I have a college degree, etc.  But.. I know that what counts now is what I do with it .. or more importantly all the knowledge & life experience I've gained along the way....
Now, as an adult, on my own ...
For me, there's almost nothing better than giving myself the time & space to explore my own personal creative inclinations...
It makes me a better, more grounded, more well-rounded, more relaxed, more confident ... and definitely much happier ... person! 
And, as such (while as a rule, I try to do my best not to dole out unsolicited advice), I then find it much easier to reach out to other people ...  to help them through whatever they're going through ... whether at work or in their personal lives.  Hearing about what's going on with others takes my mind off the things I'm dealing with for a while .. and then when I get back to them ... it helps put my concerns into perspective ... and I think "Things could be worse" and "If they can deal with those issues, I can certainly deal with mine".
Subsequently, their appreciation and sincere friendship then in turn makes me feel even more grounded, confident & happy.... and then I'm even more motivated & productive.
We're all in this together, you know.  Lots to deal with.  Talking to people definitely helps.
My last suggestion to you...
In addition to taking some time off to re-evaluate your interests & what you'd really enjoy studying & working with....
Now that you've been honest with your parents, take it one day at a time and be honest in all your dealings with everyone you encounter.  Developing this new pattern will immensely simplify your life and free up your thoughts and energies, which then can be redirected toward embracing the subjects, study & interests you truly enjoy!
Your parents are willing to pay for your college education.  They love you and want you to be happy. 
Believe me, there's nothing better than being accepted just as you are ...  for who you are at the core .... for the person you really want to be ...
There's really nothing like being told with a smile: "Just be yourself and you'll be fine!"
Now, both you and your parents know that you have the capacity and capability to get really good grades.  So the trick will be figuring out what you really want to do later on when it comes to your work career.  That will then tell you what course of study to follow in college.
The success we all seek will come when ... as stated before ... we do what we love.  Try to incorporate those things into a future career.  You see, once you discover what those things are, a whole wonderful new world will open up for you!
Meantime, please keep coming back to this site!  There are lots of people here who care about you and want you to succeed and be happy!
Good Luck & Happy Holidays, Blueberry!
PS: If you think I'm just blowing a lot of hot air, I have to tell you that gathering & summarizing this info for you has actually been very therapeutic for me, as well, so...
Cheers to a new year, new you, new me...... and a better 2009!

Do Not Be Afraid

 Hi Blueberry,

Just saw your post.

Am actually on my way to the post office to send a package to my dad, who lives in Norway, and is in the hospital w/ terminal cancer, chronic back problems, a recent broken leg & more recent stroke, etc.  Was there in September for 10 days; I can't keep going back & forth so I'm sending him a very special pkg of letters my brother once wrote.  It has to go out today, so I have to be brief..

I'm very sorry to hear of your problems & concerns.  It's very tough when you're young & trying to figure out what to do w/ your life & deal w/ everyone else's expectations.  Per e, taking a year off sounds good.  So do the other suggestions.

Meantime, coincidentally, I rec'd the following e-mail from the Joel Osteen website.  Though I've never been overly-religious, I get them daily & they really help a lot.  It's free to sign up & recieve them, as well as his weekly "Live Like a Champion"  You can also see his telecasts on TV (check his website for program listings) or replay them online, for free as well.  It's actually quite amazing how appropriate they are to what's going on in my life on any given day.

Right now I'm dealing with my entire office being closed & ending up on unemployment.  Am working part-time evenings & weekends while I look for a new full-time job.  Also my mom, who lives here, has a variety of heart problems and one of my best friends living out-of-state is dealing with having been recently diagnosed with ovarian cancer.

Since the following seems somewhat appropriate for your situation, am sharing it with you here:

Do not be afraid!  Let your parents & others who can, help you!  Once you start dealing with things, they'll go better and things will begin looking up for you too!

I wish you nothing but the best!

Take care & please keep coming back to this site.  It will help you tremendously! 


 Today's Word with Joel Osteen

Do Not Be Afraid 

Today's Scripture

“…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.  ‘Joseph, son of David,’ the angel said, ‘do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.  For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit’” (Matthew 1:20, NLT).

Today's Word from Joel and Victoria

Have you ever felt overwhelmed or even afraid of what God has called you to do?  Maybe you were pursuing a dream or goal and things didn’t turn out the way you planned.  Joseph had planned to take Mary as his wife, but when he found out she was pregnant,  he didn’t know what to think.  He was afraid that he was making a mistake because things didn’t turn out the way he thought they should.  But God sent a messenger, an angel in a dream, to reassure Joseph and remind him that he was on the right path.

Friend, let me reassure you today, God knows right where you are, and He knows how to get you where you need to be.  Even when things don’t go the way you planned, He has His hand on you.  Do not be afraid, trust that God is working behind the scenes on your behalf and that He will lead you into the life of blessing that He has prepared for you!

A Prayer for Today

Father in heaven, I choose to trust in You.  Even when things don’t go the way I planned, I know You are at work in my life.  Thank You for Your perfect love which casts out all fear. In Jesus’ Name.  Amen.


dear blueberry

 I put myself in a very similar place when I was in college a long time ago. The best present I did was to withdraw from school altogether. I was petrified to choose a major, I rarely went to classes, hardly cracked a book, and felt extremely overwhelmed and badly about myself. Coming clean was enourmously helpful. I was lucky because my parents were compassionate and it was not such an expensive time to go to school. But really, truly, leaving school was a gift for everyone. Eventually when I went back I REALLY enjoyed it, loved it, had learned how to work at it, put my heart into it. My first semester cum in college was 0.9, I kid you not. I brought it up to a 2.5 before I quit in my first semester sophomore year. As an adult student I graduated Sumna Cum Laude. 

What was the difference? I wanted it. I knew what I wanted to study. I had life experience that helped. I knew that I could work, whether I had a degree or not and that it really did not matter if I never figured out what I wanted to do when I grew up. I am still changing careers, still getting an education, and am realizing that there are too many wonderful things to learn and do to come to a final decision about what I want to do. 

A year off working, whether it be at Walmart, City Year, or even being bored to tears can be a great motivator. It won't kill you or define you, instead it can relieve an enormous amount of stress.  When I did go back to school I ended up studying Human Development. Eric Ericson's theory of Adult Development shows people in their late teens struggle with finding an identity. Some of us end up take a detour while figuring it all out. It is okay to take your time.

In any case, we are here. Keep coming back. 

"Even if you're on the right track, you'll get run over if you just sit there." - William Penn

facing the music

I know it hurts to hear this, but I think the best thing you can do is to face whatever happens. When your parents figure out how this happened, they'll be disappointed, but at the very least you'll have someone real to talk to about it. I know I only started feeling ok about myself and my habits when I actually talked to a professor about my problem.

Having said that, it takes a lot of courage to post here, and congratulations on taking this first step. A lot of people on here understand the pain and guilt and fear that you're experiencing right now, and I hope you'll take the time to keep coming back.

It sounds like therapy might be helpful too—it's helped me a lot—and it's also a positive step to commit to, which will show your parents that you DO want to change.

Whatever you do and whatever happens, know that you've got a website full of folks rooting for you. Good luck!

hello blueberry

in case you're online, i'll just write this right now, so you know someone's here, then i'll edit this post and write some more...

If you click on 'chatbox' right now, you can talk to us live.

It does sound like your situation is extremely dire. Your situation sounds like a lot of us here--some currently college students, some past college students. We all had trouble w/ procrastination.

There's a growing group of people here from all over the world who know how you feel, who have the same problems you have. At least you're not alone

But, having to face your parents finding out that you've been lying to them--i can see how that would make it even worse.

Of course the stories you tell people are your own choice. I have always been honest with people as much as i can. There have been times that i've been so ashamed at what i've done--or not done, as the case my be--that i simply cannot speak.

But i have heard and read many times people say that telling the truth right away is best. I hear people say that eventually people are going to find out, and then it's worse than coming clean right from the start.

So my advice would be to tell them the truth--before they figure it out for themselves.

For your situation, you might find this thread on a similar topic helpful to read thru. Lots of people gave advice there: How to explain my procrastination problem to a non-procrastinator?

I can certainly understand feeling guilty for not making good use of the money your parents are spending to send you to school. I remember feeling some of that when i was in school. To blow off a class that they're spending $$$$ for--that felt bad.

I would bet that your parents love you. And i would be that they would never in a million years not want their child to have to experience the pain and anxiety and self-hate that you experience. If they knew what you went thru, i am sure they would have compassion. Whether they can understand your addictive personality (if indeed you feel addicted like many do here) is the question of that other topic.

We have people on the site that have flunked out of college, and gotten back on their feet and gotten jobs they love. college is just one way to go thru life. So i think no matter what you're going to be ok. Not sure where you stand on god, but at least for me i always trust that the Higher Power is going to take care of me.

I'll stop there in case your're online. And i'll re-edit and write more.

I encourage you to post in the daily thread. That and chat are were we hang out. It's on the right nav bar, eg, today's is: Thursday, 18 December 2008.

Everyone here has negative consequences in their past from their past procrastination. Lost jobs, relationships, flunked out of school. (personally, i've come close to being on probation for non performance of my job, but that's the closes i've come. I'm one of the luckier ones here). But one thing we encourage each other with here is--keep starting. We fail (often) and then we just try again. It's not fun, but it's better than escaping.

I really, truly wish you the best, and i'll be praying for you.

fall down seven times, get up eight - japanese proverb

procrastinating with time mgmt tools: