Learned Helplessness

There’s a lot of learned helplessness. I’m trying to give an award to a student. $500, nothing to sneeze at. But he needs to follow a link and enter his info into the system. I’ve been trying for two weeks to get him to do it. He can’t find the place to sign in, doesn’t know how to fill out the questionnaire, etc.

How about putting in a bit of effort? Finding a way to figure it out? No, that’s too hard.

Professors are the same. How am I going to teach in a mask? Poor little me, I’m so helpless.

Have you explored facial shields? Got together with other colleagues, reached out to the biology lab and the engineering lab to see what they can manufacture onsite? Petitioned the administration? Sought COVID funding (of which there’s a lot)?

I got on this back in June. And as a result, it’s my second semester teaching in a facial shield that’s specifically manufactured for me, following the CDC guidelines and my fashion preferences. For real.

We need SEO but obviously have no money. I went to the marketing department, said, “look I really need this but we’ve got zero dollars zero cents. Can you help?” They said,”sure, we have a special grant to do this for free but nobody is asking. Thanks for thinking of us!”

I could have sat there weeping that we are losing out to schools that can pay for SEO. As we’ve been doing for years. Or I could do something about it.

It’s like people don’t see themselves as adults and don’t believe that the world belongs to them.

2 thoughts on “Learned Helplessness

  1. I hate that I recognize myself in this. I’m not this bad (I hope), but I’m not as far from it as I’d like to be. Any advice? I think this is a very common problem in my generation (in a symbiotic relationship with high rates of depression.)


    1. People have a difficulty coming into their own as adults when they didn’t get to be a child the way they needed to. So they display their childishness as adults hoping to get that support and caring and nurture that they didn’t get in their childhood. They are trying to provoke the others to be their “good mommy.” It never works because you can’t really get it from others once you grow up.

      The way out is to be your own “good mommy.” Give yourself the care and the nurture you lacked growing up. Give yourself days when you treat yourself like a very precious child. Once you feed that hunger, you won’t have to involve people around you in this and the adult side of you will be able to come out.

      If none of this speaks to you, this means it’s not your situation. It’s one of the common causes of this kind of thing but there can be something else at the root.


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