Overcome Academic Setbacks: Self-Care Tips for Students

Without planning and preparation, students can encounter setbacks, from academic challenges during their qualifications to professional hurdles after graduation. These setbacks are a shared experience among learners and can be overcome without neglecting physical or mental well-being.

In this article, we discuss effective strategies for facing these challenges, which often have a simple solution. From self-care to being proactive, these strategies will help you get the most from your studies and future career.

The Possible Setbacks

The best way to prepare for setbacks is by understanding what they could be, not all those plans that you have to deploy. The point is to have a strategy that might give you peace of mind in case something goes south.

Some possible setbacks are when you score lower than you had hoped to, feel like everybody else is scoring way better than you, or have completed your qualification and find it hard to get work thereafter. All of them are easier to fix than you think.

For example, lower scores can be improved if you talk to your tutor and other students to pinpoint where you are struggling. You can then devote more time to that particular area. You may also benefit from looking at tough subjects differently. Break complex subjects down into manageable timeframes, ask questions and get clarifications, and look to see whether the information is available in other formats. Some students may find it easier to learn through video than written content, or vice versa.

By talking to other students, you will often dispel the misconception that everyone is doing better than you. Some may be struggling in different areas, but very few are going to excel at everything, at least not straight away. The whole point of taking a qualification is to improve your existing skills and develop new ones.

As for struggling to find relevant work, there are also ways around this. There are quite a number of newsletters through email that a person can subscribe to. They would usually send opportunities based on the particular career one may be willing to enter, whether contracted or freelance. Not only this but also the students of other years are there to tell you about the openings that will be tailor-made for you. Other than this, you can also work on your LinkedIn profile and follow professionals from whom you get to learn how you can enhance your employability.

You can retrain or gain more knowledge and build your skill set with further education, even if you can’t attend college in person. By enrolling in an online Master’s in Journalism at a well-reputed university like St Bonaventure, you will have the flexibility to fit learning with your schedule. However, you can still benefit from expert advice and support from your tutor and other students, making valuable connections in the process. The coursework will empower you with the needed skills and confidence to build your personal brand as a journalist.

The Psychological Impact of Setbacks and Overcoming Them

The tedious study process and the start of a new career are by no means easy. Without mindful attention to both your body and mind, this adventure can start to wear you down, affecting your overall health and happiness. But fear not, there’s a roadmap to navigate these challenges gracefully.

Physiological symptoms such as sleeplessness, tiredness, headaches, or other pain could be representative of stress, the body does not acquire the resting period it needs for revival from tiredness. This is where planning ahead comes in handy. You can allow a little more time in your studies and parcel this time out regularly to allow for relaxing the pressure when something will take longer to understand or complete than you felt it should.

You can similarly plan your time in your career. Although in most busy organizations, it feels like you have limited time to complete tasks, you can cut out things that waste time unnecessarily. For example, if a task doesn’t need to take place in person, you can use the phone or set up a video meeting. With tools such as screen sharing, social media, and presentation software, many tasks can be done partially or fully remotely while still delivering a personal touch.

Some students graduate and pursue a freelance career in their chosen area, which gives them some flexibility. However, this is not for everyone. The process of always looking for work, uncertainty, and taking on work you would rather not do because you’re unsure of when you might be offered anything else is not helpful for your well-being. This doesn’t mean that freelancing is bad, but it can be a good idea to work in an employed position first. You will then be more aware of the role and which aspects you prefer. This is also an opportunity to make contacts and take the time to plan how you would build up a successful freelancing career.

We cannot cover every eventuality that may give rise to stress or set you back; however, these are some of the things that you might consider to help manage your studying or working life. For example, in industries where development happens rapidly, new changes are introduced a lot, and the ability to keep pace is very important. Otherwise, meditation might give you a clear head to think about the questions you want to raise at the end of the day when the pressure and expectations, like those deadlines, are starting to build—or when it’s time to tackle a particularly thorny topic.

This helps you switch off from work and enjoy your valuable leisure or family time. There are also friends, family, and co-workers who will share your professional interests, while others will provide either moral or practical support when it is needed.

Strategies to Overcome Setbacks

Most of the goal-setting strategies and plans to rebound from academic setbacks: Prior joining can at least free up some time, if not get the most urgent things done first. All these things, as well, would be things which more of your concentration was able to stay on and be dealt with first. Not that the lower-priority things don’t matter, but you have to figure out what you can delegate or do later.

Having a balanced schedule is helpful for many people. An overdose is quite hard, despite the surge of energy from doing your favorite job. Take several short breaks: walk, prepare something healthy in the kitchen, or talk on the phone for a couple of minutes. If you are working, then organize some kind of a time frame for doing other stuff. You will have to work hours other than normal ones, but make use of free hours. You may even take a novel or decide to run something that you find fun, other than work.

Your learning applied in a real-life situation will prove to be one of the helpful moves for most people who are struggling in academics. Work placement experience often comes with your qualification, but if you would like to gain further practical experience that might help you move forward in this area, then volunteering might be worth considering. Volunteers who lend a hand from local charities and causes will appreciate both the time and skills given. It also works well on your resume, and you get a chance to better your skills while helping the community.

Regular study sessions with other students, or regular catch-ups after graduation, can be an effective strategy for overcoming challenges. These can be remote, provided that everyone has a reliable internet connection. You will likely see that others in your group have similar issues, and some will have suggestions and examples of what works for them.

Overcoming Career Setbacks

Everyone faces setbacks in their career at one time or another, and it’s not difficult to prepare for most of them. Having a strategy and never having to use it is better than not having one and being unprepared.

By staying informed about industry trends, you can see where your career might go and plan how you adapt and pivot to meet demand. For example, public demand can decrease or change, and the products that your organization sells may no longer be needed. You could lose your job or see your hours reduced. Yet you might pivot into a career that requires some of the skills you used in your work and those that you’ve developed in your personal life. Having a backup plan helps you prepare for this type of scenario.

Another strategy is to always learn and adapt so that you can increase your options if one niche within your industry decreases in popularity. This doesn’t have to be particularly time-consuming. Once you have your degree, other learning can be anything from a short top-up course over several months to a one-day intensive course. There are lots of places to gain knowledge and skills that can benefit you, and it doesn’t have to be costly.

Networking can lead to opportunities for learning and expanding career options. The people you meet will share their experiences and may be generous enough to answer questions that help you uncover options that you hadn’t considered. You can also sign up for workshops and online courses that interest you but are different from the role you already have. Then, if you have to look at different career paths in the industry, you already have a head start on others who haven’t planned for possible setbacks.

Besides LinkedIn, which is a great place to start networking and looking for learning resources and opportunities, there are other places to look. X (formerly Twitter) is still a useful resource, with hashtags making it easier to find what you’re looking for. Also, you can join professional associations that cater to the job you currently do or plan to switch to if you have a career setback. Meanwhile, another faculty member may be asked about the workshops or seminars she has given or facilitated. Of course, there may come a time in your life when you need to rely on your backup plan, but who knows?

Overcome Academic Setbacks

Maintaining Mental and Physical Wellbeing

In most careers, there are times when the work is intense and varied. Some tasks can take a few minutes, while others take months and involve completely immersing yourself in the project to ensure that you don’t miss anything important. Both have their pros and cons. It’s good to vary the work, but this means that you need to adapt quickly.

Stress management techniques are useful for not letting particular subjects get to you. It’s hard not to care and feel involved with long-term projects. This will spill over into your personal life, becoming the first and last thing you think about each day, if you let it. However, you need to find healthy ways to switch your mind to concentrate on other things. This can include deep breathing exercises where you focus on letting go, or you might prefer to release physical tension through yoga.

Besides this, activities like team sports or running would be quite helpful. Both are good means of getting stress out, bettering your general health and can be social. Although your colleagues provide a tremendous amount of support, sometimes you just have to be around folks who will take your mind off your professional life.

In addition, the other key areas for taking care of the body and mind among the discussed measures are physical exercise, diversity of social relationships, and a work-life balance.

Facing Setbacks in Career Paths Such as Journalism

We briefly mentioned journalism as one option to choose for further education and eventually pursue as a career. This field has adapted to readers’ changing habits, such as how they prefer to read news, entertainment stories and much more. With the increase in social media use of smartphones, people scroll through Facebook and other platforms on public transport, and during spare moments throughout the day. This allows them to discover more stories that interest them.

As print media decreases in popularity, students and fully-fledged journalists can prepare by embracing digital media. This involves creating a combination of intriguing images and headlines to stop readers scrolling and make them click on and read the full article.

Many journalism courses prepare students for technological advancements by helping them adapt to new tools and platforms. You can also learn which ones to avoid. Because there are so many, it’s impossible to use them all effectively. Some may be better for different forms of digital journalism. For instance, Instagram and visual media work well together. Alternatively, some may be fads, where everyone initially joins up, but quickly loses interest. It makes sense not to spend too much time or valuable resources on establishing yourself as a journalist on these types of platforms.

Also, tools such as Al are the current topic of discussion, but using them for journalism can lead to sharing inaccurate and outdated information while losing the human connection that readers value. It helps to create a strategy that covers how you will adapt to new technology, and plan how to use it directly, or to differentiate yourself from competitors.

Students are encouraged to experiment with different formats and storytelling methods to create a culture of innovation. This creative resilience helps to overcome setbacks, even those that are harder to anticipate and prepare for. It opens up new ways of problem-solving and engaging with your audience.

Aside from freelancing, there are some roles that can be carried out without ever having to sit in a physical office. Reporting roles will always mean that at least some in-person work is required – for example, at the scene of a crime or accident, or to cover an event. So, you don’t always have to wait until you can sit down with a laptop. Often, breaking news is shared online using video and images. The written story may appear on a website later. This meets the demand for instant information.

In certain areas of journalism, you may rarely need to work away from your home office. You could test and review new tech, have a virtual meeting with an entrepreneur who has created the next big thing, or email several experts for quotes that will back up the points in your article.

If you can adapt to the different methods of working, then you open up your options as a journalist if you experience setbacks with one of them. It pays to have several topics that you can report on and confidently write (or talk) about.

Final Thoughts

Strategies such as setting realistic goals and networking will help during your learning and career, and protect your mental and physical wellbeing. These approaches will help you to overcome setbacks and have a balanced life. Adaptability and resilience are useful tools for transforming challenges into opportunities.

Viewing setbacks as opportunities can lead to a long and varied career where transferable skills act as stepping stones and continuous learning opens up new opportunities.

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