How to Stay Confident in College

College is hard. We are all struggling. In this struggle, one of the most effective coping mechanisms is to remain confident, even when everything seems to be falling apart. You think that’s hard, right? Realize you’re not alone. Yeah, you’re struggling, but so is everyone else. College is a time for us to figure things out- who we are, how society works, etc. A recent study by U.S. News concludes one-third of college students feel inadequate after the very first semester. This is an unacceptable statistic, and I pose it as a challenge for our generation to change it. From personal experience and observation, I have come up with three major tricks to help us all stay confident in college.

First, stop taking things personally. Manipulate your mind to take teacher comments and peer reviews constructively as opposed to critically. Realize most people are truly just trying to guide you, advise you, and help you. That being said, it is also imperative to avoid comparing yourself to others. If you are doing your best that is all that matters- even if someone else’s grade was better or that other girl seems happier. Self-comparison increases negative self-attitude, so don’t fall victim to that bad habit. With all that in mind, I ask you to be patient with yourself.  Your homework will get done, that grade will improve, you’ll memorize the equation, and eventually, no matter how hard it is to believe right now, it will be okay.

Secondly, have reasonable expectations. Realize learning is a process. If you expect to master a topic right away or earn five majors in four years, you’re just setting yourself up for failure and letdown. Take intro classes first, get extra help, and realize you’re still figuring this all out. Don’t over commit. We all hear stories of the freshman that joined every club, is in a sorority and taking on a research project. There is no feasible way to do all that while being a full-time student, especially if it is your first year. While you should definitely join some organizations, limit yourself only to what you can handle. Time manage- start writing important notes and assignments in a daily planner. Doing so will allow you to narrow in on what is important, and provide you with a more reasonable schedule by which to get those things done. This way, you can stop feeling overwhelmed before you even start.

 Lastly, you must reward your achievements, and know that doing so is not selfish. Try dividing big assignments and tasks into smaller ones, and realize that each step is a separate accomplishment. Celebrate each one accordingly. Take a risk every day, and reward yourself for it. Start small and define risk in your own terms. Whether it be participating in a class discussion or making a new friend, do something new and something different that can brighten your day, every single day. You could also try literally get rewarded for your accomplishments. Apply for an internship or a scholarship. Not only is it a confidence booster, but it can help you out financially. Lastly, do not be afraid to treat yourself. Every once in a while, it’s okay to go get a mani-pedi, or to eat that ice cream sundae you have been craving. Being confident and feeling confident are intertwined, and sometimes you have to focus on the feeling before the being.