Failing College? A Healthy Break Can Be of Lifelong Value


College can be both an exciting and stressful time in your life. You are successful in graduating high school and decide to pursue higher education full time in hopes of obtaining a college degree. Beginning your college career is your first extended time away from home and first taste of independence. You likely experience a wide array of emotions from navigating new academic responsibilities and social situations.

College failure happens for many different reasons. It is common for college students to struggle balancing the demands of classes, living away from home, being financially independent, making new friends, and finding direction. In addition to these challenges, some students arrive at college with pre-existing mental health issues or experience stressors during college that trigger mental health issues, both exacerbating difficulty.

When students aren’t able to work through their challenges, it naturally impacts academic performance. Throughout the school year, you may take advantage of your professor’s office hours and meet with your academic adviser, but you may still struggle. Failing grades often lead to failing a class, academic probation, and the possibility of academic dismissal.

It is hard to be a student who fails college. Whether you decide to take a semester or two off then try community college or leave college entirely, be encouraged by Winston Churchill who said: “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” So how do you shake off the shame of failure and find the courage to continue?

Below are some simple steps to help you move forward.

Step #1: Take a deep breath: practice self-care and mindfulness to protect your health and well-being

You may feel like you’re giving up. Acknowledge those feelings, then take a deep breath and know that a healthy break is valuable. Pause and ask yourself where you feel safe and secure. What activities allow you to seek refuge when the responsibilities of life become overwhelming? Do you turn your attention inward and hibernate from the world? Do you spend time with friends, family and loved ones? Create a list of self-care practices that help you feel safe, nourished and rejuvenated. Then plan time to practice at least one activity each week.

Mindfulness can be both a self-care activity as well as a way of managing stressful thoughts and feelings. Anxious or depressive thoughts and feelings may arise when you spend the majority of your time reflecting on the past or jumping ahead to the future. Practicing mindfulness means paying attention to what’s happening in the present moment and can be done through yoga, meditation, or even walking in the woods with awareness of your thoughts, breath, and the way your feet make contact with the ground.

Step #2: Reach out: seek help and support from trusted family and friends

An important part of taking a healthy break is seeking help and support from people you trust. If you need help managing any mental health challenges, reach out. You are not alone.

Identify adults whom you trust and can talk to about your concerns. Many challenges that lead to college failure can be managed or solved with help and support from counseling and trusted family or friends.

Your family and friends may not think to ask about how you’re doing mentally and emotionally. The more you talk with them about your challenges, the easier it will be to receive the care and support you need. Utilizing your support system is important, especially because loved ones will help celebrate your progress and remind you to treat yourself with kindness.

Step #3: Commit: dedicate yourself to improvement

For the break to be healthy and advantageous, you’ll need to determine the areas of your life that need improvement. A therapist/counselor and trusted family/friends can be great resources as you work to identify areas that need improvement. During your break, improvement may come from getting a job, traveling, volunteering, or a mixture of the three. Depending on the areas of your life that you determine to need improvement, you may need a creative solution like a therapeutic program.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do you have a hard time properly caring for and nourishing your whole self, body and soul?
  • Do you need to build awareness, resilience, confidence, self-worth, clarity, or deeper connections with yourself and others?

If you answered “yes” to either question, you may benefit from Skyterra Young Adult.

Whether you decide to spend your healthy break traveling, volunteering, working, or at Skyterra, practice self-care and mindfulness, utilize your support system, and commit to improvement.

For more information about Skyterra Young Adult, click here.

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