As college students, we often find ourselves striving for perfection and consistently pushing ourselves to the limit in order to achieve our goals. It can sometimes look like constant studying, turning our backs to our social lives, and sleepless night after sleepless night. And then, even after all of that hard work, we are still left with feelings of inadequacy. Many, including myself, have struggled with these feelings since we were children. It is so important that we students learn how to take pride in our accomplishments, no matter how small they may seem to us at the time. During my time in college, I’ve learned small ways to be prouder of my efforts.
Stop Setting Unrealistic Expectations
I’ve realized that one of the main reasons that we may feel like our accomplishments are not enough is because we set unrealistic expectations for ourselves. Slowly, I learned that I could break down my long-term goals into smaller ones. In my personal journey, I am working towards being accepted into vet school. This is a huge goal and can sometimes seem overwhelming. By breaking this down into smaller goals (example: gaining experience by working under a trained veterinarian), I can make my goals more achievable in the present day and feel much more accomplished when I am able to achieve them.
The next important thing I learned to practice was having self-compassion. While everyone may have 24 hours in each day, every hour comes with different circumstances depending on the responsibilities you have. Taking a step back and realizing that we are all on our own paths that are going to have twists, turns, and bumps along the way makes for a much happier pursuit of our dreams. Replace those self-criticizing negative thoughts with positive words of affirmations! The hard work that you’re putting in IS enough! Some students may even find that written words of affirmation help them. This could look like a gratitude journal, in which students can design and decorate a journal full of their accomplishments!
Surround Yourself with Support
The last set of advice I have for students is to find a support system that will help you through these negative feelings. This can be in the form of friends, family, or a significant other. You can seek out communities or clubs that are full of individuals that understand your situation. These support systems will be there for you if you need someone to lean on about your struggles or even if you just need a laugh after some negative thoughts. I am so grateful for my support system, as I know they will fill my self-doubts with positivity.
Feeling like you aren’t enough is never easy, but there are ways to help lighten your mental load. Remembering to set attainable goals, speak positively to yourself, and surround yourself with support will launch you toward your dreams. Remember, you are enough!
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