When the Tough Gets Going

You’re a few weeks into the semester and your head is already spinning. Whether you’re a senior already applying to grad schools or a freshman just figuring out how to map campus, the end of September for a college students is not only the transition into fall, but a little thing I like to call ‘mental breakdown season.’ You’ve finally gotten your planner under wraps and have begun adjusting to a new schedule and new professors. It feels like you finally have the chance to catch your breath in the midst of all the madness… until you don’t.

Suddenly, your first set of exams have crept up on you and the pile of homework on your to do list keeps on growing. You are overwhelmed with career fairs and the pressure to find an internship for next summer before this summer is even over. Involvement in leadership activities, academic coursework, and working part-time as a student while trying to maintain a social life quickly turns your day to day routine into one big balancing act. It seems like things never stop. During times like these, it is easy to question yourself. Is this really for me? Is this worth it? Am I wasting my time? Will I ever be successful?

As Napoleon Hill once said, “Within every problem or setback lies the seed of an equal or greater opportunity or benefit.” Each time you are sitting in the library with your face in a book at midnight, or typing your research paper filling space with anything you can think of to meet the 10-page requirement, remember that these moments serve a purpose. Allow the moments of extreme stress to remind you why you are doing what you’re doing. You’re doing this for your future self, someone who is invaluable. You will leave college with a degree, but you will ultimately leave this world a better place. Remind yourself that your degree is not just for you, it is for those whose lives you will change in the future.

One can only grow through pressure and change. Your college years will provide plenty of it. In these few years, you will overcome things you never thought you could. You will leave graduation day a completely different person than the one who was terrified on freshman move-in day. Pride yourself in that. Every exam you stress over and every bad exam grade you get, remind yourself of why you are chasing this dream. Whether it be to educate youth, save lives, do someone’s taxes, or find the cure to cancer; your dreams matter and that is why you are here.

None of this is meant to be easy. If it was easy everyone would be a successful scientist, salesperson, artist, athlete or entrepreneur. But, if you have a passion, a mission, or a dream, it is never going to be easy. So, in the times of madness, do not become discouraged. As the old saying goes, “When the tough gets going, the going gets tough.” Anything of meaning or value to you is not going to be a walk in the park. However, no one will be able to replicate who you become or what you create in the future because there is never a loss in trying, but leverage towards success. Every time the going gets tough, let it be your reminder to want it that much more.