Nobody ever said college would be easy! There are times you will feel stressed, lost, and overwhelmed. Here’s the good news: You’re not the first student to have these feelings. And even more important, you can get through anything if you embrace the right mindset. Here are six tips on how to push through hard times in college, refocus, and renew your motivation:

Set long-term goals.

There’s a reason you’re in college. Perhaps you want to complete your education at FRCC and transfer to a four-year college. Maybe you want to go to law school one day. Think about what you want your future to look like, write it down, and keep reminding yourself what you’re working toward. Having a big goal in mind can inspire and motivate you.

Set smaller goals.

While long-term goals are great, short-term goal setting helps you stay focused and on track day to day. It also helps you lay out the steps you must take to achieve your bigger objectives. Take your classes, for example. What do you want to get out of each? Think about everything that’s in your day planner and on your week’s to-do list. Set daily goals and cross tasks off as you complete them.

Embrace failure.

Guess what? Everybody fails. Sometimes miserably. But ask any of the world’s greatest leaders and public figures, any person you admire, any boss you want to be more like, and they’re sure to tell you they’ve messed up before. When you fail, you have the amazing opportunity to learn from your mistakes and think about how you will approach a situation differently next time to achieve a better result. Think about failure this way and you will be more willing to take risks and embrace new challenges throughout your life.

Get help when you need it.

You don’t have to go it alone—and really, you shouldn’t. When you need help, take advantage of the many resources available to you at your college. Here at FRCC, we have academic support centers for tutoring, writing assistance, supplemental instruction, and disability services. Take advantage of advising and counseling, financial aid, and much more. Stop by to see how these offices can help you through hard times and get around those road blocks when you encounter them.

Take a break.

Sometimes, the stresses of college and its many varying responsibilities take a toll. In these moments, it’s important to shut that laptop/book and step away from the work. Give yourself permission to do something fun, whether that’s going for a hike or spending time with friends. If you have been keeping up, the studying can wait for a little while. Better yet, plan your time effectively so that you incorporate “you” time into your schedule at least a few days a week—for exercise, relationships, and taking care of your personal life.

Establish a support system.

Going through college side by side with peers and friends can make all the difference. Get to know your classmates and teachers. Cultivate friendships. You will find that it is comforting to have people to talk to who are going through the same things as you. And remember to maintain connections with family as well, as they can be your cheerleaders as you navigate this sometimes-hectic journey that is college.

Like many major life milestones, getting through college takes determination, hard work, and a good attitude. If you stumble, just pick yourself back up and keep going. In the end, you will be glad you persisted through those difficult times—and you will have a hard-earned degree to show for all that effort.

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