By Matthew B. Mitchell
Is adversity ever a good experience? Why can’t college and life be simple? Before arriving, you think it is easy to make the dean’s list, join different social organizations on campus, attend parties, complete an internship, and upon graduation, have several job offers that pay a great salary. Sounds like the initial plan in your mind? Does it ever go that smoothly? Of course not. Why? Adversity hits. You do not end your freshmen year with a 3.0, you may have lost your scholarship, you may struggle to find your place socially on campus, and you have difficulty finding an internship and a full time job. Besides that you may face strife from parents, dating, and friends. Beside those difficulties, financial problems may enter the picture. The chances of you experiencing adversity through your undergraduate years are very likely.
I had classmates in college repeat courses ($$$$), drop to part-time status or dropout completely and work full time at low wage job. I experienced my share of self-caused adversity in college. You will feel at your lowest point and no one can help you. Where do you go? Who do you turn to? Here are several ideas:
1. Embrace adversity, do not run from it: We all realize at a young age, adversity will be part of our lives. College will not be any different. You will have ups and downs during these years. College is a time of independence and self-discovery. It can also be a time of struggle and pain. If you embrace (accepting something willing/enthusiastically) adversity, it is easier to begin a plan of action (How do I overcome? Who can help me?).
2. Develop a support system: You may not always want to ask your family for help. Find a close friend, fraternity/sorority member, roommate, professor, or counselor with whom you feel comfortable enough to express your feelings. Talking to people helps release tension. We all need encouragement and support in difficult times.
3. How do others respond? Ask people you value how they deal with adversity? Often times you will realize that the struggles you may encounter during your college are nothing new. Others have at times faced a similar dilemma, some much worse. Find inspiration by researching people who persevered through rough times (Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Jim Carrey, Albert Einstein, Franklin Roosevelt). These icons accomplished great achievements during their lives. Many speak of the good times but, they will tell people that adversity allowed them to form a plan, remain steadfast, and overcome their fears. Many times I self-motivated myself after hearing about other people’s struggles. That was just me. Find what works for you!
Often times we look at others and say, “How did they reach that position?” Often times, their story will mention adversity. Problems will come your way throughout your college years. How you respond is totally up you! See you on the winner’s side! Be Blessed.
By Matthew B. Mitchell