Learning to be Okay with Uncertainty

November 29, 2021

Andrea Wittekind

Being a student is hard enough when studying for exams, balancing extracurriculars, and finding time to recharge. But in addition to these demands, students may be pressured to meet high expectations set by family members – or even by themselves. These expectations can leave students feeling the need to be certain of their future. That’s a lot of pressure, especially when no one can predict the future!

Qualitative research reveals that “the idea of irreversibility of choices once made causes anxiety, particularly among younger students.” In particular, because of high levels of environmental uncertainty, students worry about making wrong choices, especially regarding their career or future in general.

Louis Tay

While no one can make an uncertain future certain, there are some ways to cope with uncertainty about your future:

  • Change your focus: Instead of fixating on things that may be out of your control, try to look at the things in life you do have control over. One exercise you can do is write down everything that you are worried about, then cross out the items that are out of your control.
  • Invest yourself: Make time to do things that are good for your soul. Invest in forming connections with those around you, invest in your body and mind, invest in things that will make you happy.
  • Be present: Be aware of where you are at mentally and physically. Notice how you are feeling and acknowledge those thoughts. You can control what you pay attention to, so fuel the good thoughts as hard as it may be.

Be well,

Andrea Wittekind and Louis Tay

Andrea is an undergraduate student at Purdue University in her senior year with a passion for both mental and global health. She is pursuing a degree in Health and Disease along with a minor in Anthropology.

Tay is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychological Sciences. He has expertise in well-being, assessments, and data science. Be sure to check back each week for another wellness tip of the week! 

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