The image of college is that it’s the best time of your life. While that’s true in many cases, many students face personal challenges that a young person should never have to face. These include family problems, relationship challenges, financial difficulties, and personal health problems.
There are especially difficult challenges to face. What you want to do is to “steal” blocks of time when these personal issues aren’t in your mind. Here are some things you can do.
■ Seek out someone you can talk to. This person could be a counselor in a campus counseling center, a supportive professor or advisor, a faith-based professional, a friend, or a family member. Sometimes just talking out your issues can be a way of putting aside your problems long enough for you to focus on your academic work.
■ Write down your thoughts. Often just putting down on paper what you are thinking can be a catharsis. This may allow you to return your focus to what you need to do.
■ In some cases, distance yourself from the personal challenge. What you don’t want to do is to get sucked into issues involving others. (e.g. parents divorcing)
■ When your focus is challenged by something serious involving a loved one (e.g. death of a family member, loved one, or close friend, serious illness of someone close to you), you need to realize that the best way for you to support them is to do your best in college. This is a time to dedicate yourself to making them proud. Most people who have gone through a tough life challenge will tell you it helped strengthen their resolve and made them more focused.
■ If you are struggling with your personal health, let your teachers know. In most cases, they will be supportive. You may need to adjust your schedule and develop a new routine for studying. What you don’t want to do is to ignore the health issue. Also you need to keep the health issue from becoming a crutch that you use as an excuse for lack of focus.
No mater what the challenge is think about the lessons you will learn about yourself in working through the challenges. Keeping focus when under immense pressure is a leadership skill no matter what career field you select. .