Often we find ourselves with challenges relating to many different aspects. As a student, you may experience problems regarding how you relate to your studies. It is normal to feel overwhelmed when challenges arise, but as the problem persists, we may start to feel helpless and want to give up. Panic may set in and we start to doubt our own capabilities to resolve the issue.

As challenges arise, we often find ourselves spending a lot of time focusing on what we cannot control. Instead, we could shift our focus to appreciating the things we can control. For example, if you have a carryover/backlog on a course or you have a regular conflict with a lecturer or coursemate.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed, frustrated and anxious when you encounter challenges, especially if you have not planned for them

When a conflict situation arises, it may be due to your perceptions and assumptions about others, or a clash of values or unresolved issues from the past that keep on re-surfacing. It may be helpful to take time to react to the situation to avoid a perpetual cycle of trying to solve what you think is a problem (but may no longer be a problem). When a challenge arises, use the following questions to react to the situation

  • What is the problem/issue you’d like to solve
  • Where are you at present
  • Where are you stuck
  • How are you feeling about the issue
  • What is influencing how you feel about the problem
  • What are you hoping for
  • How do you see things changing
  • What have you accomplished so far to help you resolve this problem
  • What can you control about this situation
  • What can’t you control about this situation
  • How can you use what you can control towards resolving the issue
  • What resources do you need
  • How can you access these
  • Who do you need for support
  • What is your next step


Thinking differently about challenges

Your perception towards a problems

  • How you view a situation determines your actions and how you feel.
  • People have different ways of viewing situations. Two people might see one situation differently.

How do you think about your problems

  • How do you normally react to changes
  • When do you perceive a situation as a challenge

When you encounter problems…
Do you:

  • Withdraw from your goals
  • Feel helpless and hopeless
  • Become doubtful about your future
  • Lack of motivation
  • Feel vulnerable
  • Lack of self-confidence

The negative view of a problems

  • Take a challenge as punishment.
  • Taking a challenge as a downfall.
  • Thinking that you are a failure.
  • Blame others for your challenge.
  • Making excuses.
  • Anger towards yourself and others.
  • View yourself as a victim of circumstances


Taking risks

  • When you decide not to take healthy risks because of the challenge, you are robbing yourself an opportunity to learn.
  • Taking necessary risks could help you to test your perception about reality.

An effective way of viewing problems

  • Acknowledge that you have a challenge.
  • Identify things you are in control of and things you cannot change.
  • Focus on what you can control.
  • Identify relevant support

Let’s reflect

  • Write down your challenge on a piece of paper.
  • Think about one thing that you can manage and how it can impact on your challenge.

How will you manage your problems

  • List specific steps you will take to manage your challenges
  • Your steps need to be realistic and manageable.

Seek Counsel
The last resort is to seek counsel –  But you should tread on this path carefully. I do advise students to seek online counsel that is an online counsellor. It is better to have someone you can’t see but with psychological experience to counsel you than someone who can see you and tries to interpret things based on your environment, lifestyle and other external factors

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