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Other Anxiety and avoidance of programming?

  1. Apr 14, 2016 #1
    I don't really know what the problem here is, but it's been dogging me for a long time.

    Basically, despite that I really love computers and working with computers, and I actually very much enjoy programming when I get into it, whenever I'm faced with a programming assignment for class or whenever I feel like I might want to try practicing with a different language I have this strange sense of aversion to it, like an overwhelming urge to do anything else and procrastinate until hours before the deadline.

    For instance, I'm in a MATLAB class right now, and even though the assignments are very easy and actually quite interesting, I can't resist the urge to put it off, and even thinking about the course makes me tense. And I have absolutely no idea why, because it's currently one of the easiest A's I've ever been given. There is no reason that it should be causing me any stress. It's a problem, because it creates this really annoying dissonance between wanting to do technical and scientific work with computers and also wanting to avoid programming at all costs.

    Does anyone have experience with this kind of problem? I've thought about going to the counseling services but it just sounds so nonsensical.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 14, 2016 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    There's nothing wrong with a counselling appointment or two -- they often have valuable insights to offer.

    How do you typically start new programs? Do you just start typing, or do you write down a flowchart or pseudocode first? One trick that helps me is to diagram the overall flow of the program early, to help me sort it out in my head. Then I can start the actual coding at any point after that. The more complicated the program will be, the earlier I start it before any deadline. If it's simple and my initial flow diagram (or whatever outline) looks do-able, I often just trust in my ability and let it go until later.
  4. Apr 15, 2016 #3
    There is nothing wrong with counseling and I sincerely recommend that you try to resolve this problem before it comes back to haunt you. Despite seeming trivial on the surface, it is the symptom of a more serious underlying issue. We all have our faults and they nothing to be embarrassed of. We can only strive to be better than we were before, and in that sense, the real tragedy would be to let your anxiety push you away from something you enjoy. Who is to say that it stops with programming. You may be learning something else in the near future and then have the same exact problem. It only stops when you stop it.

    I, in fact, had a similar problem. When I took CSI, I had a strong aversion to the programming assignments. I would become incredibly frustrated even thinking about having to do the assignments and I often couldn't bring myself to start any of the programs in a timely manner. As a result, I never had enough time to complete any of the assignments and received a low F (30-40%) on all but two of them. I managed to get a C+ in the class by doing well on the tests, but I of course, could have done much better had I forced myself to do the assignments. The odd thing was that I otherwise enjoyed programming. Even sitting down with the assignments when I did finally start wasn't all that bad, but something about getting started was a huge challenge. I think I have since overcame that mental block and am actually eager to take CSII and some computational courses later on because aside from wanting to prove to myself that I can do it, they are incredibly useful courses and I'd even go as far to as to say necessary.
  5. Apr 15, 2016 #4


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    The description is very familiar. TOO familiar. You are getting an A, so maybe you worry too much and should spend more time studying so you will be more relaxed. The term of the course is short. You do not have time to waste. You are trying to earn a grade.
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