Niche Resources

How to Keep Your Grades Up Amid a Breakup

This post is from a student, parent, or professional contributor. The opinions expressed by the author are their own and do not necessarily reflect the positions, viewpoints, or policies of Niche.

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Processing a break-up can be hard, especially when it’s unexpected.

Perhaps the hardest part is accepting that life must go on, even when you may want to crawl into bed and grieve indefinitely.

While it is important to grant yourself the space to feel, the true healing occurs when you make intentional changes to your action and mindset.

The pain you currently feel isn’t perpetual. Nonetheless, it can have a real impact on your ability to focus and be motivated to succeed in your classes.

Here are some tips to help you prevail academically and mentally amid a breakup:

Organize your space, clear your mind.

Our space is our sanctuary.

Whether this be your room, a dorm or anything in between, it’s important to keep it in a state that is conducive to thinking clearly. The nature of your space is even more important given how COVID-19 has prompted a shift to online learning.

Breakups can make us feel like we’re losing control of our emotions, but making the conscious decision to orchestrate your room in a way that brings you peace is a foolproof method to help you regain a sense of control.

With a clear space, you can feel a sense of control over your situation. You may not be able to control your feelings all the time, but I can assure you that clearing your space will help to declutter your mind and instigate your creative juices.

Avoid compulsively checking their social media at all costs.

To keep it completely real, anytime you check their social media, you are setting yourself up to be disappointed.

Either you feel some type of way because they’re happy and living life without you, you get a false sense of hope that things could work out again in the future, or you get an aching pain in your chest because they’ve moved on.

All are potentially recipes for disaster that you should avoid at all costs.

Your peace of mind is worth more than satisfying that insatiable itch to know what they’re up to.

You want to know what’s going on in their life? Not you.

That’s why your stuck wondering if you should lurk on their page just one more time. Don’t.

Instead, ask yourself what you’re looking for and why. What do you actually have to gain by doing this?

Not much.

But, we can turn that nagging desire to check up on them into something beneficial for you; every time you notice yourself thinking about lurking, pause and dedicate five minutes to yourself.

This could be reading a book, meditating, going for a walk, or even writing down some things you’re grateful to have in your life right now. Not only will this help to abate these feels, but this practice will ultimately help you by diverting all of that energy you would have spent dwelling on someone else back into you.

You’re the main character of this movie, and it’s about time that you started treating yourself as such.

Get an emotional accountabili-buddy.

When you’re going through a breakup, it can feel incredibly lonely.

Sometimes you want to engage with friends and family, but you just can’t seem to bring yourself to do it. Other times you just want to process and conquer this feat alone. I’m here to tell you that you shouldn’t.

No matter how much you want to shut yourself off from those who love you, don’t.

The reason that the breakup hurts so much is because you’ve been cut off from a large source of love in your life. Surrounding yourself with other people in your life who genuinely care about you is a great way to stop that void from feeling so profound. 

These people care about you a lot and don’t want to see you fail.

It can be difficult to find the intrinsic motivation to do your work and fulfill your obligations while getting over a breakup. But the truth is, you have to.

You don’t just get over it, you have to get through it.

But this is so much easier when you have other people around you encouraging you to answer these emails, study for that test, and continue pursuing your goals.

It’s way too easy to procrastinate and give ourselves excuses when we don’t have to report our progress to anyone else. Find someone you trust and periodically update them on the things you have to do. This can be on a weekly or daily basis, choose something that works for both of your schedules.

List three things that you absolutely have to get done today. (You don’t want to give an exhaustive list because then you’ll get overwhelmed and won’t achieve anything.) Ask them to check up on you periodically to both motivate you and remind you not only of the things you have to do, but the fact that they believe in you.

Having this sense of community while you do your work is key. You don’t have to champion this alone.

Ask professors for deadline extensions. Seriously.

One of my mantras is “Closed mouths don’t get fed.” And it’s true!

I used to be the person who simply suffered in silence because I thought I could handle everything.

The truth is, you’re human, not a machine. Sometimes we get sad, distracted, or life just runs its course.

This is one of those times.

Don’t feel pressured to perform with the same clarity and pace as when you weren’t going through a breakup. This is by no means an excuse to ignore all of your responsibilities and be inconsiderate of the deadlines you have at the end of the day.

Rather, this is encouragement to be transparent. If you know that you’re spending too much time thinking or could benefit from having some extra time to gather your thoughts, ask for it. You never know the type of grace and support you can get from your teachers until you ask.

If you are going to ask for an extension, do so ASAP. Don’t be inconsiderate and ask right before the deadline. Send your teacher an email explaining that you’re going through a difficult time (you don’t have to announce that it’s a breakup, but being sincere about your emotional state could evoke more empathy from them) and would really appreciate the opportunity to have extra time to produce quality work.

I have found that it is best to suggest a deadline that you can meet yourself to avoid getting an extension that still doesn’t work for you. Anywhere from 48-72 hours is reasonable in my opinion, but use your intuition to gauge how much extra time you would need and how much you are likely to be given. Oftentimes, my professors would grant me an extension longer than I had asked for.

If they are gracious enough to give you the extension, be sure to turn in your work before the deadline. This communicates that you have used the extra time wisely, and I hope you do. Pace yourself, work on the assignment(s) strategically, and also use the extra time to care for yourself.

Take care of your skin, journal, cry if you need to. This breakup does not have to ruin your academic performance!

Honesty—with yourself—is the best policy.

Navigating a breakup is tough.

Know what you need to do to heal.

Have an honest heart to heart with yourself; is it in your best interest to keep all of those pictures and videos in your snapchat memories? Can you handle seeing them randomly appear on your timeline when you least expect it? Do you need to block them to have the most peace of mind you can?

You can’t let this consume you.

Push yourself to do things like showering, eating, and sleeping. When you look and feel good, you perform better.

Celebrate the little wins you have throughout the day so you can stay motivated to excel academically.

Have faith that each day brings you closer to getting through this. <3


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