Dear Diana: Dealing with a Bad Semester

Dear Diana,

At the end of a difficult semester,
these are words to live by.

This definitely wasn’t my hottest semester. Despite everything, I’ve slowly come to accept my less-than-stellar performance this semester and have learned more about where I want to go in life. Though I’m still a little concerned, I think I’m comfortable with the fact that, while everything might not be going exactly as planned, it’s going to be OK.

Breaking this news to my parents, however, is a completely different story. They’ve invested so much into my education and expect so much from me. When I think about them, I get that sick, guilty feeling in my stomach. I feel like I haven’t been trying hard enough, I’m not good enough, I’m not making them proud, and I’m letting everyone — including myself — down.

What can I do? I’ve always been honest with my parents in the past, but I can’t see them coming around to how this semester went.

Stressed and Guilt-ridden

Dear Stressed,

First off, I want to say congratulations! Discovering that things don’t always go according to plan and that that’s still okay is a huge accomplishment that can take years to learn. You might not have done as well this semester, but you’ve learned something invaluable about yourself, and that’s a really great thing.

As for your parents, I know it can be difficult to think about disappointing them, but I don’t think they’ll be that upset, really. Though it’s said often enough, it can be difficult to really grasp that parents just want us to be happy at the end of the day. Many parents pile on the pressure to be successful in college, because they think that getting a good education will lead your happiness. I think though, that if you talk to them about what you’ve realized this year, and help them to realize it too, you’ll find that they’ll be just as proud of you as they always are. I would definitely suggest that you remain open with them. Communicate to them what you’ve learned, share eye-opening experiences, tell them you understand what they’re saying, and tell them you think about how everything is going. They want you to be happy; so once you’ve found a way to be happy, they’ll be happy, too.

On the other-hand, if they give you a hard time, that’s okay too. Sometimes it’s hard for parents to change their minds or their visions for you. But you have to remember that your parents’ path is not the only path out there for you. That’s one of the wonderful things about college — you learn that there are other ways to live your life! Maybe you’ll make a change while your here, and maybe you won’t, but the important thing is that you do what you feel is right for you. Because at the end of the day, it’s your life, and only you’re going to live it out until the end, right?

Good luck with finals, study hard, and don’t worry! You’re here at Barnard for a reason, trust that.



Image courtesy of Kentucky Sports Radio.

Have a question for Dear Diana? Click Here.


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