In college, a crisis can have a big impact and ultimately change the course of your plans drastically. In a week where there were not many events happening on campus and everyone went their separate ways to enjoy their spring break, I personally hit a huge wall. My parents abruptly left to Chile for my grandmother who was getting ill very quickly. She now rests in a better place. My older sister went with them, leaving me and my two brothers to take care of our beautiful dog and home 40 minutes away. However, I live in Greensboro.
Slowly, things began to shift in a direction I could not have foreseen. Coordination and organization of tasks began to tighten as the first week back to the university grew closer. I, previously immune for a while to emotional instability, began to crack from external pressures: women, school and money. This was more than stress. It felt as though I was the captain of the Titanic and I just hit the iceberg or Taylor Swift’s facial expression after Kanye West snatched the mic: stunned and a little broken inside.
In the midst of all this culminating into one overarching crisis, I began to ponder: how do other college students handle unexpected crises? The added fact that all of this was happening during the week I was supposed to relax and enjoy time away from school was irritating. But what happens when poop hits the fan on, say, a hard work week? How do people manage their time between their responsibilities and crying?
For 20-year-old UNCG student, Caitlin Foltz, her eyes were focused on the future, not on tears. When she was not able to make it to an event for the UNCG pep band, she became upset and had to see to it that she stay busy in another form.
“I wrote it in my journal and made other plans,” she said. For Foltz, her main focus is energy. “When something like that happens…I just redirect my energy to other things.” Even though she was not able to go, she now had time for other things, like friends and not missing school days.
Nineteen-year-old Hannah Karlick, was on the same track. She said that keeping herself busy is her main goal. “Go to the gym, go to the barn, I work or hang out with friends,” she said, reiterating that keeping herself occupied put certain negative thoughts in the corner. Another big aspect of dealing and managing with crisis for her are outlets, and she recommended that for anyone else who was struggling. “Keep trying new things until something works. Always trying new things helps one keep busy.” Trying new things, she said, also helped with building oneself during a crisis, as that is when one is at their most vulnerable.
Having problems at home herself, crisis seemed to be a constant. Karlick would dwell on it and get angry very quickly. The way she coped with this anger, she said, is with the realization that there are forces outside of her control. In certain occasions, Karlick wishes she reacted differently to sudden shifts of events that caused her emotional and mental strife. “Changing my perspective really helped during that time…I do wish I reacted differently.”
There are things one as a student at UNCG can do to keep oneself occupied and avoid focusing energy on the negatives: painting, making music, listening to music, writing or going to the gym at the Wellness Kaplan Center. When it came to managing time, both concluded that dealing with the crisis in a healthy way is needed for one’s heart and mind to come out the other end with their sanity.
So go to an event on UNCG campus or downtown Greensboro, ease your mind and manage the crisis in a healthy way. I, for one, will walk through the Tanger Outlets Bicentennial Garden and remind myself that there are sometimes things outside of our grasp that we cannot control and that blame helps no one.