Scottsdale Community College (SCC), Maricopa County Community College District (MCCCD) and colleges across the nation have had to switch to an online course format and cancel commencement ceremonies in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
In an open letter to students, MCCCD Interim Chancellor Dr. Steven R. Gonzales said, “We are as disappointed as you with this development. Commencements and the surrounding celebrations are the best events of our year, so it was not an easy decision to make, but we must put health and safety first, adhering to the direction state and local governments have given.”
Graduating from college is a major milestone on the life path to adulthood, career and life fulfillment. The world’s population is approximately 7 billion, but according to research from Harvard University, less than 7% of the population has a college degree.
Attaining higher education is an honor and privilege that many do not have and we encourage students to recognize the achievement in completing coursework and degree programs and acquiring the ability to take this developmental step toward actualizing your life dreams.
The faculty and staff of SCC strive to be an anchor of support and encouragement for the community and our students. All students and graduates should be proud and are encouraged not to allow the temporary disappointment and change to cast a shadow on your higher education or achievement by following these five steps to overcoming disappointment.
Process Your Emotions
Allow yourself to feel and process the emotions you are experiencing. Students of all ages around the world are missing out on the practices, celebrations and ceremonies we have all grown accustomed to. Disappointment is being felt but it does not have to remain or prevent you from feeling contentment, peace, excitement or joy. It can be helpful at this stage to write your thoughts down in a daily journal, paint your feelings, take a break or enjoy music -- whatever creative outlet helps you be in good spirits, do that.
Know that you are in good company and it is okay to feel. Talk to friends and family or a professional to help you process negative feelings. SCC Counseling Services Department is offering online workshops and counseling sessions to help during this process.
Developing an “attitude of gratitude” is one of the simplest ways to improve satisfaction in life. Practicing gratitude has been scientifically proven to benefit us in various ways in our everyday life. In a Forbes article written by Amy Morin, the benefits of gratitude include improved physical and psychological health, reduction in stress, aggression and enhanced empathy, better sleep, higher self-esteem, and increased mental strength. Being grateful helps you see the world and life’s circumstances in a more positive light and feel better. Find at least three things to be grateful each day. This will help you overcome any change or challenge.
Change your self-talk
Instead of talking to yourself as if this was the worst thing that could happen to you, change your self-talk to something more positive. For example, think, “This is not happening, but I can still do that!” or say, “I am proud of myself for finishing and completing my goal!”
Give yourself a pat yourself on the back and be encouraged. According to an article written for Healthline Media, “Self-talk can enhance your performance and general well-being. For example, research shows self-talk can help athletes with performance. It may help them with endurance or to power through a set.”
Ignore all the Productivity Pressure
Everyone in the world is experiencing a shift in how we do life. With any shift, there must be a period of adjustment and relearning. We are learning and relearning how to communicate, educate and share information. Instructors, faculty and staff are all experiencing the same shift. Remember we are learning together, we are in this together and we will make it through these times together.
Do not feel pressure to live up to any perceived expectations. Simply do your best and keep going. Please communicate with your instructors or the staff at SCC. They are here to support you and resources are in place to assist you. Stay connected and access assistance of any kind.
Make a new plan
In the new norm of social distancing, many are planning alternative celebrations, from drive-up weddings to online birthday parties. Using apps like Zoom and House Party can help. Plan an alternative. Have fun with the new possibilities of celebration where all your loved ones can attend -- even those out-of-state. Decorate your place with streamers and enjoy the acknowledgment and support of your family and friends.
Life is filled with challenges but no matter the challenge, it can be overcome. Remember, you have a support system at SCC and we are all in this together. For additional information, please reach out to the SCC Counseling Services Department to make an appointment.