How to survive an end of semester breakup

January 28, 2016
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Breakups are always shitty. Breakups the week before major exams and assessments are even shittier. This year, I had the misfortune of being in two relationships that each lasted a semester and both ended right when life was already insanely stressful. Yay me. As such, I am now an expert on how to keep caring about your studies when your personal life is imploding in a white-hot mess. Here’s how to deal: 

Don’t be tempted by self-destruction

After a stressful day of revision and/or wallowing in self-pity, that bottle of wine in the kitchen can start to look mighty tempting. After all, wine never told you it loved you and then changed its mind the next day, did it? No, it did not. But when looking back on past relationships, we tend to only remember the good times and forget the bad. Just like your ex, wine has probably hurt you and left you sick and bedridden. One glass is okay; one bottle is not going to make you feel better.  

Watch Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey in its entirety

Nothing puts the devastation of your shitty breakup in perspective quite like being reminded that the sun is going to swallow the earth one day, thus burning away any evidence of your failed relationship. Let the velvety tones of Neil deGrasse Tyson’s narration remind you that the billions of atoms in your body were forged inside collapsing stars long ago. You’re literally made of starstuff, which means you’re too goddamn awesome to let a little heartbreak keep you down for long.

Take lots of naps

The world sucks way less when you’re sleeping. Plus, once you wake up, you can track your breakup recovery by taking note of how long you’re conscious without thinking about your ex. They’ll gradually go from being the first thing you think of to maybe the third thing you think of, until, eventually, that hot skewer that jabs your heart every time they cross your mind won’t pain you more than 60 seconds. Progress!

Spotify and jogging are your new best friends

Normally I’m not a huge fan of Adele and Taylor Swift, but after a breakup their songs start to sound terrifyingly relatable. Give in to temptation. Search “breakup” on Spotify, find a suitably angry playlist and then go jogging until you’ve sweated out some of your rage. Repeat daily. Not only is exercise fantastic for stress (exercise gives you endorphins, endorphins make you happy, happy people just don’t fail their exams) but you’ll look smoking hot next time you see your ex.

NB: Try to avoid yelling “Who hurt you, Taylor?!” when you’re out in public. People will stare.

Remember that the best revenge is massive success

Fuck them. They don’t want you? That’s their problem. Just think how miserable they’ll be in like five years when you’re killing it as a world famous lawyer/engineer/writer/sculptor/whatever it is that you study. Do you really want to throw away your future because some mole ditched you just before finals? Hell no you don’t.

Smash those exams. Use the acid and hatred burning in your gut as fuel to push you through that late night cramming sesh. You’ll show them. Get your revenge, baby. Be extraordinary.

Get special consideration if you need it

Sometimes all of the feels can be too much to handle. This is totally a-okay. When Emily* broke up with her boyfriend at the end of her first year of medicine, the impact was catastrophic. “We’d been together since high school and then suddenly this huge part of my life was gone,” she said. “It was devastating. I tried to keep my shit together, but ultimately it was too hard.”

So what did she do? “I asked for help. The uni was really good to me. They helped me get through my exams so I could pass the year.” Make sure you seek the help you need before your deadlines start passing you by, otherwise you could end up in all sorts of strife. No partner is worth that much hassle.

Now my little heartbroken cherubs, go mutter “when you see my face, hope it gives you hell, hope it gives you hell” while you study. I promise you’ll feel better soon.

Krystal Sutherland

Krystal Sutherland is a Worcestershire sauce addict and pyjama pant enthusiast. She studies English and creative writing at UNSW.

*name changed for privacy reasons