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Goofed big time, overwhelmed. Got advice for a uni intern?

Community Member

Hi all!

I've done a silly. I made some, really terrible decisions. I'm a 2nd yr Advanced Science student. I've been doing an a lab internship lab at uni - 140 hr requirement which I started at beginning of the year. I have 40 hrs left. I need to get a move on - my progress has been so slow and people need the data soon.

In July I was allowed to take part in an extra project on limpets with a PhD student I know. Since the initial meeting I have done practically nothing. Like, had the meetings, went in for a couple hours work. The whole time I struggled to prioritise. I was caught between my finances, family pressure, low confidence, university courses and my internship. I had enough time during the semester. I got so caught in a fog of these different things that I was paralysed, and I allowed myself to make excuses because I just couldn't prioritise. I knew that. But I told myself I didn't have time to step back and organise my sh** due to my university courses. Realistically, I could have. I didn't. Now, that failure is eating me up. I feel I need to apologise because even if I was going to do that (agree, then not work on it for months) I should have at least communicated. This is a huge opportunity and I've let it go ass up due to my lack of decisionmaking. Now anxiety and fear of re-introducing myself to this project and finding my way forward after dropping off the face of the Earth is stopping me from going into the lab to do work, even a week after finishing final exams.

I need to get past this and make amends, even if I'm booted from the project. But I don't know how. It'll be out of the blue, not knowing anymore where I stand, and not knowing how it'll go or how much I can do. I want to talk to the PhD student in person to apologise, but I'm honestly terrible at this stuff - wording, and the bit where you don't cry in your kind-of-workplace filled with people who could make or break your career if they chose. I haven't spoken to my actual supervisor since February due to his busy-ness, and the fact that I never actually got to know or work with him - I was handed off to PhD students and then to the other big name in the department. I will need to, I should, but I frankly just don't know how. Communication with him disappeared nearly as quickly as it started. I feel like I'm just floating around in this whole situation and environment and I can't grab onto anything to reassure myself about what I need to do and how. And it's still paralysing me.

1 Reply 1

Community Champion
Community Champion

Dear Ceras,

I'm afraid I could not find your other 2 posts so will have to go just on this one.

You sound very stressed and really do need some outside help to help you straighten matters out.

Before I say anything else though I must point out you have done your exams, which in the anxious state you are in now is a big achievement, you also have time left to do your 40 hours.

I'd like to make a couple of suggestions. Being in a fog due to competing important demands can be a paralyzing sort of thing and I'd suggest you go see a GP in an extended consultation and say what has been happening and how you have been feeling - see what happens.

The other is to see Uni counseling services, they are used to students not getting through all the competing demands and will have suggestions as to which way to go, maybe even arrange a deferment or interview if necessary.

At the moment you seem to be concentrating on apologizing to the various people, which is understandable, however it may not be that all is lost with your main 140hr project, or the limpets.

Can I suggest after seeing counseling you consider writing thngs down and offering explanations that way, then take them there personally, so discussions can take place. Just emailing or posting would not be conducive to working things out.

There are some thngs you should know, I've been a uni educator for very many years and your situation is not uncommon, quite the reverse, and often it comes about though simple lack of experience, not knowing realistically what one is capable of. An important learning process.

The fact you sat your exams will count for a lot.

Good luck and please tell us how you get on