Heartbreak in the Classroom

How to keep a focused mind as a college student while dealing with emotional heartache

Image credit: Divan Soyeb

Image credit: Divan Soyeb

What impedes a student’s performance? Stress? Frustration? Procrastination? These are all valid explanations for why a college student may struggle with their responsibilities, but one is often not talked about and treated as a taboo topic.


Going through a breakup in the midst of a semester can be excruciating. It can sap you of all energy to motivate yourself in your studies. It’s especially detrimental when you still deeply love the person you no longer belong to, left in a state of limbo, unsure of how to proceed with the simplest of daily activities. Moving on can seem an impossible task, so desirable yet always out of reach. Yet we must continue our lives as dedicated college students.

You are entitled to your feelings. We all express our emotions in various ways. How you experience something will likely be different from your peers, others may hurry along with something that takes you a great deal of time.

Heartbreak is no different. Walking down the hallway with a smile on your face directed at your classmates, while you listen to music full of melancholy.

Memories of the times with that person crop up in familiar places, times you shared are now forever etched into your being and can trigger intense feelings. You will learn to deal with these things, but they will not go away completely. When you love someone, it is not something that you can take back.

You deal with your feelings and emotions in subtle ways, always trying to appear strong and unaffected. Do not waver, it does get better. We all handle it in our own way, in our own time. Oftentimes students may need to seek counseling or therapy, to make sense of the flurry of emotions being hurled at them.

There are several resources that students can take advantage of. Some students may seek solitude, attempting to deal with it in their own way, there is nothing wrong with that. In more extreme cases students may take a break from college, taking a sabbatical to recover from whatever they may be feeling. Students going through emotional pain should take care to utilize these resources.

On campus counseling services can be a good first step to cope with emotional and personal difficulties, these services can be reached by appointment at the information desk or by phone at 763-433-1240. Students experiencing exceptional cases may have these services expedited. If you are having difficulty deciding if you need counseling services, this Mental Health Screening can assist you in making that decision.

Friends and family can be a good source of support and encouragement. They can be a person to vent your emotions to, an opportunity to express what you’re feeling with no expectation that the person will solve your problems. The most difficult part of this is handling all of your studies, homework and expectations while going through this experience. It is not easy, you may struggle from time to time, that is okay. The process of healing is not overnight, you cannot force it to come faster, and there is no universal answer that I can give you that will instantaneously make you feel better. Take your time, focus on understanding how you feel, work on your studies and ask professors for any assistance.

The most important thing to remember is that what you are feeling is common, it’s something we all experience in our lives at one time or another. There is no shame in seeking help or a shoulder to cry on, what you are feeling is something we all can relate to. We all need to express these feelings, holding them deep down and neglecting them can do considerable harm. So cry, cry hard and cry often. This is especially important for men. You are not less of a man for these feelings. Acknowledgment is the first step to moving forward, it does get better.