What can’t you get over? A bad grade? A bad semester or year? A breakup? The person you were in high school? Mistakes you’ve made? What’s between you and success?
There’s no question about it: moving on after a painful period can be tough. Sometimes, it can seem almost impossible. And in some circumstances, you might not even want to move on entirely. For example, losing a loved one can be painful, but you probably don’t want to forget that person. In other cases, replacing negative thoughts with positive ones can be difficult.
But feeling frustrated and discouraged doesn’t just mean a series of bad moods: it can interfere with your ability to do well in college and meet your goals. So if you can’t move on, keep moving! Here are some ways to keep going even when you find yourself in a rut:
1.) Take care of yourself. This means eating a healthy diet, getting enough sleep, exercising, and getting regular check-ups. It also means taking time to do the things you love: reading, watching a favorite film or television program, practicing a hobby, or getting together with friends and family. Start thinking of yourself as a person with physical, mental, and emotional needs. If you’re healthy and well rested, you’ll be far better equipped to deal with any problems that may arise.
2.) Get out of yourself. Do something nice for someone else. This can be as involved as volunteering for a charity or as simple as really listening to a friend or family member. Hearing about others’ problems will make your own seem less overwhelming. And for a few hours or minutes, you won’t be thinking about your own pain or frustration.
3.) Try something new. Have you always wanted to eat Thai food, tap dance or go on a particular hike? Now is the time to do it. Even listening to a new genre of music or reading a different kind of book is energizing. You won’t like everything you try, and don’t feel you have to the finish the book or continue with tap if you don’t enjoy it. But you’ll never know until you try.
4.) Figure out what you have to do. If you’re a college student, this means attending class, completing assignments, and submitting them on time. Some students also have jobs, bills, and family obligations.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try reevaluating what you really do have to do. Could you take that class another semester? Reduce your hours at work? Cut your expenses? What changes would make your life less stressful? Figure out what you have to do. And do it.
5.) Get Help. Remember: you are not alone. There are lots of resources available right on campus. Here at Academic Support, we can help you find a tutor, understand your bill, manage time, and improve your study skills. If you need to talk to someone about personal issues, meet with a counselor at the Wellness Center. And if you’re not quite sure who can help you, ask anyone at Residence Life, Wellness, or Academic Support. We can point you in the right direction.
If you find yourself dwelling on the past and feeling unable to move forward, know you’re not alone. Most people, including professors and university staff members, have been through rough periods. Get help if you need it – and realize that you don’t have to solve all your problems at once. Sometimes, we don’t leap forward: we take baby steps. And that’s okay.
-Dorothy A. Dahm