How to Deal with Disappointing News

College is full of so many unexpected adventures. There’s a lot available, right at your fingertips, and there are opportunities whizzing by you and at you throughout your time at school.

There’s a lot to celebrate in college: new internships, acing a test, Christmas break. But there can also be a lot of disappointments that come along the way as well. Maybe you applied for a job you really wanted but didn’t even get a call back for an interview. Maybe you studied all night long to pass your math final, only to get a terrible grade. Whatever the disappointment is that comes your way, it can be confusing and challenging to learn how to handle it.

The thing is, you’re probably going to face disappointments for the rest of your life. These experiences can be tricky to bounce back from, but there are few things to keep in mind as you face discouraging times.

1. Failure can be a good thing

We often face disappointment because we get disappointed in ourselves. Whether it was a failure to write the right kind of paper for your history class or failure to follow through with plans with your roommate, it can be easy to get really down on yourself and let your self-esteem take a massive dive.

An important thing to remember is that everyone fails at one time or another. We all mess up, and the key to working through that is taking some time to reflect, share your feelings with someone, understand that you can learn from what happened, and then take a deep breath and let your failures go. Resilience is an incredibly important strength to practice as you brush yourself off and head back out into the world after a massive failure. Grit is indispensable, and it will serve you well for years to come.

2. Pray about it

God wants to hear about your disappointments. Whatever you’re feeling, it’s important to be honest about it with the Lord and seek wisdom from the Bible. Take some time to journal out what happened and why you’re feeling disappointed. Look at Scripture and see if there’s anything to be gleaned about disappointment and how to handle it. You are human, and God knows that, and He wants to care for you in the midst of whatever disappointment you’re facing.

3. Talk with someone

Disappointments can be small or very large. Sometimes it’s easy to brush it off and move on, and other times, it can feel like the world is crushing you beneath its weight. Whatever happens, it’s important to make sure you have a community of people you can work through your disappointments with. Having friends or roommates to process through the disappointments of life can be life-changing.

It’s also important to consider professional help when you’re dealing with a disappointment that is completely overwhelming you. Most colleges have free counseling services that will allow you to get the emotional and mental help you need if you’re feeling like you’re drowning in your emotions.

4. Look into the past

While we don’t need to dwell on the past, it’s a good idea to take a look at your past experiences and think about how far you’ve come. You’re actually quite incredible! You’ve gone through so much in your life, and look what you’ve accomplished. When you’re feeling down about a certain situation, don’t forget to remember how far you’ve journeyed in life and the wonderful things you’ve experienced.

5. Know that you’re not alone

Everyone deals with disappointment. We live in a broken world, and there is a lot that can feel heartbreaking. The thing we have to figure out is how to live in this world and find joy, despite the hard times. A lot of it depends on our focus, and there can be a lot of joy found in connecting with other people, empathizing, and sharing our hurts with one another. Being vulnerable about what pains you can be challenging, but there is such a depth of connection to be gained from sharing your hurts. Who knows? You might actually make room for someone else to share about what they’re struggling with, and you’ll be able to step in and encourage them as they work through it.