Overcoming the fear of the blank page

by Ruth (Student Blogger: BA Hons History)

Luckily, there hasn’t been many learning ‘challenges’ for me yet… unless you count learning the dirty dishes do not disappear overnight. But I think the main one is the renewed sense of hope I have now. Coming from A levels, which we all can agree are hell, there was very little motivation left in me, as I have been told non-stop for four years that I will never be able to improve myself past a certain grade due to my dyslexia. That mindset is not ideal, starting an essay with this knowledge that I can’t surpass a certain point. It adds a mental block to difficulties already there. Staring at the blank, white page, waiting for some inspiration to hit is so hard, so having this mindset of negativity becomes a real challenge.


But how do you overcome it? Mental disabilities and challenges are not easy to overcome, not only are they often ignored or brushed off, but they can’t be seen. They’re not constantly on show to other people and can be hidden often easier, but that doesn’t mean they should just be silenced. As a result it is hard to overcome mental learning challenges especially a negative mind set…. So how do you?

Since going to Lancaster my mindset has most definitely improved, this is because of a few reasons.

  1. Surrounding yourself with Positive people.This may seem obvious, but having a supportive, helpful group of people who want you to succeed and want to give you assistance is key . This could be your flat, learning support team, friends, family or tutor. As long as there is some sort of anchor who can rad through your essays or give you grammar or spelling help ( which is what use my family for), it can make you feel like the tasks ahead seem less daunting because you are not now doing them on your own.
  2. Seek specific feedback. There is nothing worse than getting an essay back and the person marking it has just written the most vague and nonsensical notes all over like ‘improve grammar’. This drive me up the wall. In order to get over this negative mindset I wanted to have specific points so I know exactly what to do to improve. Therefore going to lecturers or those marking your essays or writing support in order to know key reasons to improve. This was such a big help for me in overcoming the idea of my personal ‘glass ceiling’ as it gave me a list of things to do in order to break it.
  3. This one may seem slightly ridiculous, but quotes. I found surrounding myself with positive quotes and improving my workspace helped me overcome this learning challenge. I know its cheesy but ‘tidy desk, tidy mind’ is true. Having a space that’s tidy and clean and full of positivity counteracts that annoying voice that tells you, that you cannot improve and helps you overcome that learning challenge.