So I'm definitely neck-deep in school right now, and I'm remembering which specific issues I have that clash with the university model.
Pretty much, when I set my goals as "getting approval from distant and arbitrary authority figures" I have trouble with my life. School, especially UBC, is 100% under that category, especially when I'm trying for scholarships or particular grades.
My parents were extremely arbitrary and pretty distant authority figures: mom because of depression and other needier kids, dad because of his underlying issue of whateverthefuck. It's pretty easy for me to be triggered into the passive, desperate obedience required of a dependent in that situation since the behaviour was gauged so deeply into my head for so many years.
I dealt with this in high school by getting good grades, accepting the grades-as-approval-structure and excelling in it.
I dealt with it at BCIT by, eventually, getting to know my teachers, being friends with them and thus getting away from the idea of them as authority figures, and also by learning their criteria and styles so they weren't really so arbitrary. I developed a group of friends at BCIT who were all going through the same work as I was. Those friendships affirmed that we were all awesome people aside from marks. I had ultra supportive partners who loved me. Basically, I had other sets of external validation.
Over the years, my source of validation has been shifting from external to internal. This had partly occurred when I was at BCIT, but it has definitely become stronger since then. (As part of becoming acceptable to academia I'm training myself out of the trades talk I trained myself into: less concise but more 'correct'). So when I hit UBC this time I was almost entirely internally-validated. I had a great set of checks and balances to deal with moods, hormones, and other events. A lot of those were actually developed through this journal.
Part of being at UBC is submitting yourself for approval over and over. Yes, I know, it's submitting your *stuff* for approval, but-- at this level, in classes of over a hundred people, where everything is marked by TAs, pretty much a number and a sentence is what you get. So it's pretty hard to frame as submitting my stuff for feedback; to get feedback I need to make an appointment with the teacher by email, go in, bring the thing in that they haven't seen before, and we talk. That's feedback. The other is arbitrary (poorly-defined beforehand, not enough assignments to get a feel for it) approval on my work in an institutionally-enforced absolute sort of sense. By this I mean it's not a matter of taste, it's a matter of me having done it /wrong/.
So I'd kind of... sloughed off a lot of my external approval mechanisms, in favour of internal stuff (no one else really thinks my brewing or organising my house or caring about local farming is SO COOL like I do). And now I'm submitting myself for approval by this arbitrary body, and I don't have counterbalances. I can't just pull my validation back inside, because I need to care enough to do the stuff, even when the class is poorly organised and the information is easy to look up when I need it and so not necessary to memorize or whatever. I *cannot* use my judgement in this, so I cannot trust my judgement.
So I'm doing really poorly. Compounding everything is the way I have no time or money to do things that self-validate, because I'm working enough to eat into basically all my free time but not enough to have extraneous funds (tradespeak: extra cash).
Making friends at school helps SO MUCH. They are also having trouble this time of year, it's hard, just being assured that it IS hard and often arbitrary helps. But... I don't really have time to make friends, with work.
Talking to profs about assignments helps SO MUCH but. It got me through the assignment angst, but it can't get me through not knowing what my midterms tomorrow are going to be like, how they're going to be marked. 'A university-type answer' doesn't really tell me what's up with marking (I think tradespeak is more expressive there).
Brewing helps SO MUCH but. Money. I swear I need a patreon or a friends group at school that will pay me for beer.
Writing this, figuring out the issue, helps but. It's started me reorienting my validation to an internal source, and I know I'll pass things, so it drains my ability to shoot higher (I need to hit certain grade targets for both co-op and scholarships, and those are fiddlier than 'I know I'll pass things').
Long-term goal is to get student loans so I have time to have friends and do cool stuff. In the meantime, O suppose I can only be mindful of seeking validation in good places. When my friends are dicks about being critical of a thing, I tend to feel bad in myself because I place myself on the receiving end of it even if I'm not normally part of that thing.
I probably need to seek out friends who are especially kind, empathetic generally, and not given to vitriol. This will most certainly help me both short and long term.
Funny to think how things have changed. Fifteen years ago I was so into jerks.
It's also interesting to think about me, in school fifteen years ago, with all these things happening to me without my knowledge of what was happening in my head. I guess that's the growth of self-knowledge.