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iConquer: Silencing the bully within ourselves

February 18, 2013

iConquer logoNo one likes to be bullied. We have been learning about bullying since we were very young. We all know it is wrong.

Although it might not be intentional, critical behavior that we internalize toward ourselves can often be categorized as bullying.

It is good to be self-aware, but sometimes we do not know where to draw the line.

With the stress of schoolwork, work and social activities, we cannot always remember to be our own best friends. If you are ever having thoughts that seem out of line, just think to yourself, “Would I say this to my best friend? Would they feel good about it?” If your answer is no, then you should probably not be feeding yourself the negative thoughts either.

Luckily, Northern Illinois University has the resources to help us deal with these issues.

At the Office of Student Academic Success, Mandy Wescott and her colleagues can help guide us through the barriers of every day life, including self-bullying. The office is there for students that struggle with the negative self-talk, which Wescott says she believes everyone experiences at some point.

“Even if you plan ahead, things will always pop up, and we will always have those days,” Wescott says. “What we do when it happens is what really matters.”

Instead of constantly tearing yourself down, try to learn from it. If you did not have the time to physically present yourself the way you wanted today, go to bed earlier the next night. Or if you do not have time to do that, find a way to make getting ready in the morning more efficient such as laying your clothes out before bed. There are a number of ways that you could accomplish efficiency, and the Office of Student Academic Success can help people establish it.

Mandy Wescott

Mandy Wescott

“This office is here to help students with these issues,” Wescott says. “We direct toward access services, sometimes tutoring, and we help with time-management and work strategies. Most students just do not know we exist.”

If you are working late nights and starting early mornings and cannot find efficiency, give yourself a break. Not having the extra time does not make you lazy or uncaring. It simply means you are busy!

The important thing that we gain through these “bad day” experiences is figuring out what does and does not work. “Don’t let the emotional take over with the negative self-talk,” Wescott says. “Re-assess. The task is not the enemy.”

Being a college student is demanding. There is a lot expected from us. What is more, we expect a lot from ourselves. College is possibly the busiest time of our lives (up until we have kids). This is the time in our lives where we have to make alliances in the right places, starting with ourselves.

If it is a Sunday night and you know you are going to have an early morning, it is probably not wise to lounge around until 10 pm watching television. Meanwhile, there are small things that we can do to prepare ourselves for the next day. Go over your syllabus, mark down important assignments or even start assignments!

If you want to learn something, you will. Instead of looking over your lists day to day making note of what you did not accomplish, make a small list of what you did accomplish.

Office of Student Academic SuccessIf you bully yourself, you become discouraged so far into the future that you do not believe you are capable of doing certain things. At this point in our lives, we should be trying to prove things to ourselves before anyone else.

Take a job interview, for example. Think about the infamous question: “Why would you be right for this job?”

Well? If you do not believe you are the right person to accomplish certain tasks, how are you ever going to convince anyone else that you are?

Improving ourselves mentally and physically is one of the many resolutions people wake up with every day. Although it is important to make sure we are not bullying ourselves, it is equally as important to be “hemming” our behaviors. Hemming means building and learning, not name-calling or berating.

Life is a learning experience, tested constantly through trial and error. If we did everything completely right the first time around, wouldn’t we get bored?

“If everything is just a breeze, there is no opportunity for human growth. Although most people do not look at challenges this way, that is what they really are. Everyone has them. No one will ever give me a harder time than I will give to myself,” Wescott says. “It is important that we keep these things in check.”

We have plenty of people out there already waiting to judge our actions. If we cannot be our own best friends first, who can?

by Jeanette Gaudio

Note: The Office of Student Academic Success building is located at 633 W. Locust St.,  between the library and the parking garage. Walk-ins are accepted; calling the advising center is also helpful. The phone number is (815) 753-5721.

Editor’s note: Jeanette Gaudio’s “iConquer” column will appear frequently in NIU Today this semester, offering tips from campus professionals to help students keep their academic resolutions and achieve their educational goals. Gaudio is a communication major and student intern in NIU Media and Public Relations.