Getting used to self-guided study

Furthering your education or training after secondary school can also be a really exciting time.

This period of transition from being in the school system to becoming more independent can take some adjustment. Self-motivation is often needed to engage with this way of learning.

In this article, you will find:

Ask Jigsaw: Online learning has been so hard

I get good grades in school but I can’t bring myself to continue schoolwork at home. Online learning has been so hard and unmotivating and I’ve stopped going to most classes, lying about my internet cutting out or my camera not working or my headphones breaking. I don’t want to do it and I want to be as good as I know I can be if I put my mind to it but I just don’t have the motivation to do anything related to school anymore.

Hi there,

Thank you for reaching out today. It might be helpful to know that you are not on your own with this. Many of the young people we speak with are having a similar experience with online learning and schoolwork.

Webinar: Supporting young people struggling with mental health at school

We held the first instalment of a new series of webinars for parents on Monday, 19th October.

The theme of this webinar was supporting young people struggling with mental health at school. Jigsaw clinicians Jen and Linda gave a 20 minute presentation, followed by questions and answers from parents.

This webinar covers the following topics:

You can view the full recording below.


School avoidance

The majority of young people face challenges at some point throughout their schooling.

Common difficulties can occur in the following areas: learning and curriculum, social and peer related and/or the physical environment.

For the most part, young people overcome these challenges and school provides positive, enjoyable experiences. However, for a number of young people, school can cause a significant amount of distress. This leads to difficulty attending school.

If your young person is currently experiencing difficulty attending school, this article covers the following:

Ask Jigsaw: Anxious and nervous at school

I want to know why i can’t bring myself to want to go to school. i am a very social person at times and i don’t have any problems besides the few subjects but everyone has that problem. i feel very unmotivated, uncomfortable, anxious and extremely nervous at school. i was just brought home from school due to the fact i got sick because of the nervousness and anxiety. I want to be able to enjoy school but i don’t know how

-emily k

Hi emily k,

You are not on your own with this. We have heard from many young people who have started to experience anxiety as they start back to things like school and socialising. It’s great that you want to get back to enjoying school, and are looking for ways to do that.

Fitting in at school

It can seem like everyone else has found their group and is fitting in at school. We can end up feeling very lonely and isolated when we don’t feel we fit in. 

If you feel like you don’t fit in, you’re not on your own. According to My World Survey 2, over one in five young people considered friends to be a source of stress. 39% of adolescents reported that they had experienced bullying at some point in their lives.

As we get older, we tend to spend much less time with family and more time with friends. For many young people, fitting in is really important. It seems that everybody wants to be popular. This can lead to social rivalry, competition and bullying, particularly in school.

When you feel like you don’t fit in, it can be an extremely tough experience. There are no easy answers, but some of the following may help.

Ask Jigsaw: Won’t get into course

Hi,  today we received our calculated grades and unfortunately I think I won’t be getting into the course that I wanted to. So College might be out of the options. I live with my parents. I’m 18 and I don’t know the first thing about getting a job nor’ what it is that I would like. I don’t think I can just jump into something that I’ll end up hating everyday. I don’t have anywhere to share my thoughts and I don’t want to rely on my parents, because it’s my own life I want to get started. It takes a lot more time, doesn’t it?



Hi TryAndBeKind,

I am sorry to hear that you didn’t get the grades that you wanted. It sounds like you are both disappointed and confused about your next steps, which is understandable.

Ask Jigsaw: Worried about back to school

I’m worried about going back to school I’m going into leaving cert but I keep getting really spaced out and cant focus on what’s around me. I’m worried that it will happen in class or exams.


Hi Anonymous,

It’s been a really difficult few months school-wise. It can’t have been easy doing 5th year from home. It’s totally understandable that you’ve been finding it hard to focus on what’s around you. With normal routines out the window, it can be especially hard to concentrate or be productive  in your home environment. It’s a space we’d usually use to switch off, but suddenly have to use it to study also.

Ask Jigsaw: Constantly feeling anxious

Constantly feeling anxious in busy areas , school becoming a problem I can’t go to canteen by myself I have to meet friends first , a constant anxious feeling over me . 

– Layla104xx 

Hi Layla104xx,  

Feeling constantly anxious is exhausting. The physical sensations and spiraling thoughts, that often accompany anxiety, can be so strong that we avoid everyday things like school, or social events.