Going through a breakup in college is almost never easy. You have to read three chapters of that novel for English, study for your math test and still get out of bed for that 8 a.m. class. While the day drags and your thoughts are seemingly consumed by everything about your past relationship, here are some steps you can take to focus on what really matters — and make sure you graduate on time:
1. Write It Out
It turns out that a majority of college students refer to a romantic breakup as a major loss because they feel like they lost a form of emotional support. Studies done for the Journal of College Counseling have found that when students going through a breakup are asked to write about it, it actually helps. Students display more cognitive changes in their thinking about the experience and a deeper understanding of it. So break out that pen and paper and start writing!
2. Acknowledge Your Pain
It’s okay to grieve the loss of your relationship, says Susie Novak, Ph.D., a psychological counselor at SUNY New Paltz. It can be harmful down the line if you’re constantly pushing all of your feelings aside. Give yourself a healthy amount of time to talk to your friends and family about how difficult this breakup is for you. Acknowledge that it’s difficult and that it’s okay to be sad about it.
“Don’t feel like, ‘Oh, I’m an idiot to be sad,’” Novak says.
3. Look From A Different Perspective
Think about how much you can grow without being in that relationship. Some people are a lot more successful outside of a relationship, Novak says. Now you have time to focus on you, get to know yourself, get to know different people and focus on class. Realize that down the line, if you let this breakup destroy you for too long, you can only really blame yourself.
4. Seek Counseling
A study conducted by the Journal of Counseling Psychology suggests that love is an addiction and a breakup can be a form of drug withdrawal. In fact, a report by the American Counseling Association says romantic breakups are the main reason students visit a counseling center on a university campus. Seek counseling and spend that time specifically talking about why you feel the way that you do. When you leave your session, it’s time to focus on school.
5. Set Goals For Class
Set really specific academic goals and career goals for yourself and really focus on that. Turn your focus on school into your new relationship. It’s okay to eat that pint of ice cream one night, but the next day you have to get up and focus on moving in a better direction. When you’re successful despite this, “it’s kind of like, look at me go, with or without you,” Novak says. “If that person didn’t deserve you, it’s kind of nice to look back and see them and say, ‘Hey, look at me! I graduated and I’m doing great.’”