Life is full of surprises. Sometimes we receive wonderful news that we never expected, and other times we hope that the bad news is a blessing in disguise. Earlier this week I received some relatively bad news. I say relatively because in the big scheme of things it could be worse. However, considering the circumstances I felt cheated and heartbroken.
Ever since last semester, I had been sharing with my audience that I was on track to graduate once the fall semester was complete. I don't like jinxing myself so I would always add, "If all goes well,” but this declaration wasn’t enough to shield me from the bad news. On Tuesday, I went to a graduation workshop to learn how to properly apply for graduation and to triple check that all my requirements were fulfilled. That’s when I learned that I was short 11 units. Some of you may be wondering, “How did you not know that?!” Well, I met with two professors for advising last semester, one of which being the department chair for my major, and both professors told me that I was on track to graduate the following semester.
So, you can imagine the horror I felt when I learned that both of these professors were in fact wrong. I couldn’t hold the tears back and suddenly found myself mourning the future I had been planning. Everything I had in store is now going to be held back by at least five months. Five months may not seem like long time, but I am 28 years old. At this point, I am beyond ready to start my life outside of college, which is why this news came like a punch to the gut. I wanted to take this negative experience and share how I deal when life throws me a curveball.
1. Feel the Feels
Although I am a very sensitive person, there are times that I set my emotions aside in order to put on a straight face- especially in a professional setting. However, when something big happens in my personal life, I believe in releasing the emotions. The first thing I recommend doing when life surprises you with negative news is to let the feelings out. Once the emotions have been released you will be one step closer to moving on.
After the graduation workshop, I had class. I was so upset and heartbroken that I couldn’t hold it in as much as I tried. I sat and listened to the lecture with tears running down my face for a few minutes because I had to let myself release the anger and frustration. I gave myself a few minutes to quietly cry in the corner then I was able to suck it up until I got home later that day.
Once you release the emotions and understand the gravity of the situation the second step is to accept the circumstances. Although I feel it is important to feel the feels, I do not believe in dwelling in a negative space. Once you accept the position you are in, you will be able to start thinking about how to move forward.
When I got the news, I frantically texted my loved ones and shared the bad news because I needed some comfort. When I got home later that day, I cried in my boyfriend’s arms. Once I was done feeling sorry for myself, I was ready to accept the situation for what it was.
3. Make a Plan
Once you reach acceptance it is time to transform your pain into power and begin planning the next steps. Although we cannot predict when life will surprise us, we do have control over how we handle the situation once we receive the news. Do not remain stagnant, instead create a plan.
For my situation, the add/drop deadline ends on 9/17 so I began searching for any last minute classes I could add, sending out emails, and scheduling meetings. I am currently in conversation with several resources to try and solve this problem as best I can before the deadline.
4. Move forward
Once the emotions have passed and you create a plan it is time to move forward and execute the plan. Regardless of what life throws your way, you always have the capability to move forward. Moving on will look different for each scenario, but pushing yourself to do so will be empowering.
Right now, I am still in the process of moving on. I am still researching and exploring different plans. I want to find the best way to right this wrong and regain some of the time and money I have lost. I hope to be in this phase by early next week.
5. Don't Be Surprised When it Happens Again
The last step is to realize that it wont be the last time life throws you a curveball. No matter how much planning you do, or how good of a person you are, it is inevitable that life will continue to surprise you. As I mentioned in the beginning, life is full of surprises, and the best way we can prepare is to be emotionally ready to repeat these steps when the next one hits.
Change is the only predictable thing about life. Although I hope there will be no additional surprises when it comes to completing my degree, I am also aware that there will be many more times when unpredictable scenarios are thrown my way. The fact that I have been able to move forward in the past, allows me to feel more prepared regardless of what the next situation will be.
I hope that sharing my experience and tips can help you deal a little better the next time you are surprised with news you didn't expect. How do you deal when life throws you a curveball?