How To Help Yourself Out of a Homework Hole

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In today’s episode of “College Admissions Real Talk”, Dr. Legatt tries to dig you out of your homework hole.

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VO: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk with Dr. Aviva Legatt, a podcast for students seeking to get admitted to top-tier colleges. Each episode will feature an important tip for your college admission success, delivered with candor and love. If you’ve ever wanted to take a peek inside the mind of a college admissions officer, this is your chance. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. So, what’s your dream school? 

AL: Welcome to College Admissions Real Talk. This is Dr. Aviva Legatt, founder and Elite Admissions Expert at Ivy Insight and author of “Get Real and Get In”. Today, we’re going to be talking about about Dr Lisa Damour’s New York Times article, “How to Help A Teen Out of A Homework Hole” and really, we’re going to focus this on you. How do you get out of a homework hole? So what is a homework hole? A homework hole is when you are just banging your head against the wall. You’re not getting enough done, and maybe you’re even struggling to the point where you’re not turning in assignments on time or you’re not turning them in at all. Pandemic school is definitely taking a toll on you. It’s very clear from all the students that I work with that this is a really hard time, and of course, it’s hard for so many different people, but I think you’re in an especially challenging position because you are so used to being surrounded by your peers and feeding off the energy of your school environment. And now that environment is artificial-Ized in a way through Zoom or whatever platform your school may be using. And there was actually this recent study by the NBC news and Challenge Success, which is a nonprofit affiliated with the Stanford Graduate School of Education, and this study found that about 50% more kids in high school were feeling disengaged from this school year to last, and in December of 2020, Education Week reported that schools were seeing a lot of failing grades on report cards. This is a really important issue. I definitely want all the teens out there to know that my heart goes out to you. It definitely is possible to get yourself out of a homework hole. So as Damour recommends and this is a recommendation for parents, empathy gets you further than anger, and I would turn that around to talk about self empathy and self anger because the truth is you have a lot to be angry and sad and scared about. But if you are empathetic to your own situation, what you’re going through, that’s something that enables you to complete your homework in an easier and more efficient way. If you don’t hold yourself to the same standards, but you do hold yourself accountable, you will be in a better position to get everything done that you need to do. As I just spoke about in my last episode, there’s a cool exercise you can do called job crafting which is a way to think about your work such that your engagement sense of purpose and the word can increase. I think an exercise like job crafting can be a great way to reimagine what you have to get done, which can make it more interesting and hopefully take a little bit of the stream that you’ve been experiencing from it. Second is and it may sound like an unattractive option, but hear me out, think about how you might work with your parents to get some help. Now, I know that working with your parents for some of you is just going to sound like the worst idea ever. And some of your parents, probably, it is the worst idea ever, right? I’m kidding. I’m sure your parents are great, but really, if you’re partnering as much as you can with the people in your household about what’s happening with you and where you might be struggling, then you have the best chance of getting help. If you’re struggling on your own, then you’re going to continue to struggle on your own. You have to reach out to someone even if they don’t live in your house. If they live outside. If it’s a friend you call or a friend’s parent that you call to talk with you your feelings to help you talk through some of the struggles you’re having in school. I would suggest that as a great strategy to get out of your homework and to get back on the track that you were on. Finally, we have to step back and see the big picture as Damour says, give some thought to how comprehensive your own changes need to be. You don’t need to go back to being that exact student you were before the pandemic. But maybe you could use this time to explore some new curiosities and explore some things that you’ve never had a chance to do. You can also use this time to explore stress-relieving activities like exercising and meditating. Those activities, even though they may not fit into a neat checklist, can actually really help you get things done and get perspective on what’s happening around you. So with that, my heart goes out to you, I wish you the best and I’ll see you next time.

VO: College Admissions Real Talk is hosted by Aviva Legatt, edited by Stephanie Carlin, and produced by Incontrera Consulting. I’m Caroline Stokes and this has been your daily boost of college admissions insight. Have a question? Text Dr. Legatt at 610-222-5762. For more information on Dr. Legatt and Ivy Insight visit www.ivyinsight.com. And you can pick up Dr. Legatt’s book, “Get Real and Get In”, at major retail outlets across the world. Insight out.