Dealing with Difficulty

At some point in your college career, you will be faced with difficulty of some sort. It may be family or friend problems, a death in the family, struggling to pass a class, or if you’re me, you’ll find yourself unexpectedly diagnosed with a serious, severe chronic illness. It knocked me off my feet and I found myself unable to focus in class and missing class constantly due to doctors visits and hospital stays. But, I still managed to keep up with my classes and make it through the next two semesters! Here are some tips I’ve found helpful for when you hit rough patches during college:

  1. Communicate with your professors! Tell them what is going on and let them know how it is affecting you. Professors are people too and they understand that life happens, so most are very understanding and willing to work with you.
  2. Be flexible. Not everything is going to go according to plan and you make have to make academic and personal adjustments. That’s ok, you’ll have to find your new normal, but be willing to work with others to accomplish what you want.
  3. Know what is going on in your classes and continue to do all the work, if possible. Read the syllabus and keep up with the homework and assignments that you can. When you work with professors and show that you care about their class and are still putting work into it, they are much more willing to work with you around your difficulties.
  4. Seek help. Difficulties are traumatizing, perhaps both physically and mentally. There are many resources on campus to help get you through these times, such as the Disability Resource Center, CAPS therapists, support groups, and CARE services.
  5. Don’t try to deal with it alone. Difficulties often feel isolating and like you are the only person experiencing your problem. But talking to friends and family can help alleviate stress and frustration, and you may find that people have gone through similar experiences.
  6. Don’t feel guilty about missing out. I’m a 21-year-old college senior, and instead of finding myself at the bar with friends, catching a basketball game, or attending an Environmental Science Club meeting, I found myself hooked up to machines in hospital rooms. For a long time I felt guilty and sad about missing events, and oftentimes still do. But your physical and mental health is more important than college experiences and should be treated as such.

If you have any more suggestions, feel free to comment below!


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