Dear Ilana and Jess: I’m 21 years old and in the middle of my second spring semester. When it comes to managing all of my adult responsibilities – from school to work to my social life – I feel like I’m constantly struggling. I know everyone my age has got a lot going on, but it’s seriously starting to feel impossible. I love my major, but my classes are so demanding. I rarely have time to see my friends anymore. How do I know if what I’m trying to do is unrealistic? And if it is too hard, what do I even do about it? - Robin
Dear Robin: Here’s an easy way to look at it: If a situation or responsibility places demand on you that exceeds your physical, emotional, or practical ability to manage it, then it’s, “too hard.” Unfortunately, this doesn’t make it avoidable or escapable. As you know, the going gets tough in adult life. That means it’s time to get going.
First, find your Achilles heel. The best way to compensate for your areas of weakness is to acquaint yourself with them. It can be hard to confront your biggest difficulties and frustrations, but it’s the only way to be truly prepared for anything. You may know what your hardest course is, but think bigger than that. Do you have a hard time getting organized? Are you a procrastinator? Do you feel uncomfortable introducing yourself when you need to? Figure out which skills need more work and you can win, even when you can’t play to your strengths. Plus, if you know your own weaknesses, you won’t be phased or surprised if someone else points them out.
Fight back. Just because something feels insurmountable, doesn’t mean that it has to be. Don’t settle on struggling; set a standard for your experience. Figure out what it is you need to be successful — whether that’s information, clarity, tutoring, or time — then take the necessary steps to get it. Even steep learning curves can be trekked.
Finally, don’t be afraid to say you don’t know. Pretending you’ve got it all together when you don’t is no better than quitting. If you tell everyone you’re fine, they’ll mistake your difficulties for disinterest. Have the courage to say you’re stuck and ask the questions you need to.
Say This (To your professors): “I found myself confused by the material presented in class today and wanted to reach out to you. I’m going to stop by your office hours this week, but in the meantime, could you point me to some helpful resources or practice problems? Thank you in advance.”
Not That: “It shouldn’t be this hard.”
Say This, Not That is based on the work of Cognition Builders: a global, educational company headed by Ilana Kukoff (Founder & CEO) and Jessica Yuppa Huddy (Chief Learning Officer). Everywhere from New York City to California to Shanghai to Zurich, the Cognition Builders team is called upon by A-list entertainers, politicians, CEOs, and CFOs to resolve the conflicts that upend everyday life. When their work is done, the families they serve are stronger than ever. With their new book, Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter Kukoff and Yuppa Huddy have selected the most common conversational mistakes parents make, and fixed them. For more information, please visit: https://cognitionbuilders.com. To purchase Say This, Not That To Your Teenage Daughter visit: http://publishing.andrewsmcmeel.com/books/detail?sku=9781449488055.
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