college, life, student

Balancing Studies with a Family Crisis

Today’s post is short, but I wanted to tell you a story:

In the spring semester of 2016, February 4, I got a message from my parents that my mom was at the hospital because of abdominal pain. A few days later, I got another message as I was packing to go see my fiance that my mom was at the hospital. I’m not sure of the exact timeline, but eventually, my mom ended up in a big hospital further away from the college I was attending.

The worst part about it all was not that I wouldn’t get to see my fiance, nor was it that I had so much going on in my educational life, but that I had no idea how my mom was doing. No one would tell me anything, nor could they really tell me anything. I was basically stuck, far away from my best friend without any way of getting to her.

There were a couple of things I could do in that situation: allow myself to sink into depression (more so than I already was, mind you) or use it as an opportunity to focus your worries and turn your anxiety into something quantifiable. While the second option isn’t the best for everyone, that’s what I had to do.

I threw myself into my studies. I had my hardest classes, World Art and Astronomy, to really study for so I pushed my heartbreak and depression to the back of my mind and studied at every chance I got.

I realize that it may not be the healthiest way of coping with a family crisis but that is how I did it. Here are some ways you can balance your studies with a family crisis:

  • Take a break when you need to take one: Family crises are hard to handle. If it becomes too much to try and work on your course work, take a moment to regain composure and to relax your mind.
  • Take extra steps toward self love: Never forget to treat yourself with kindness and love, even when you feel like you should put others first.
  • Spend time with your loved ones when you can: Even though it seems kind of contradictory to the other points so far, but spending time with your family in a family crisis can be a great thing for your mental health. Whether it be taking your siblings out for burgers or going on a walk with your parents, or anything like that. It’ll be helpful for you as well as your family.
  • Put yourself into a routine: I say this a lot in my posts, but making yourself stick to a routine when things are chaotic is perfect for maintaining control for a couple of reasons: 1) it allows you to have control in a chaotic situation and 2) it allows you to get away from the situation in a sense.

Now, my mom is now fine and healthy (as of writing this, on 12/12, she’s having a colonoscopy performed to continue to assess her health) but the methods I used to get through that crisis helped me to develop the study habits that I have now as a junior in college. In order to survive not only a college semester but also a family crisis, you have to have a plan for when those things happen.

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