When Planning Doesn’t Go to Plan

Academic Advocacy is a professional service of QUT Guild committed to supporting and representing the interests and needs of students in academic matters, navigating university policies and advocating for better quality of education. This year the Advocacy Team are collaborating with Glass on a Kindness Campaign to promote the values of empathy, compassion, and kindness among members of the community. The campaign will consist of a series of articles that will encourage people to engage in acts of kindness towards each other and themselves. Supporting you with kindness and guiding you with knowledge.

This article was written by Student Assist Manager, Emma Surman.

When you’re a university student, you have to be prepared for the fact that not everything will go according to plan. You might have meticulously planned out your semester, only to find that you’re struggling to keep up with your workload or that unexpected personal issues have arisen.

It can be frustrating and overwhelming when your plans don’t go to plan. You might feel like you’ve failed or that you’re not cut out for university. But it’s important to remember that setbacks are a natural part of any learning journey, and that it’s how you respond to them that really matters. Instead of giving up or becoming discouraged, try to re-evaluate your situation and come up with a new plan of action. Maybe you need to adjust your study schedule or seek out additional support from your unit coordinators or tutors. Perhaps you need to prioritize self-care and take some time to focus on your mental health.

Here are some strategies to help you deal with unexpected changes:

Reframe your thinking: Instead of seeing the setback as a failure, try to reframe it as an opportunity to learn and grow. This shift in mindset can help you approach the situation with a more positive attitude.

Seek support: Don’t be afraid to reach out to friends, family, or come see the Guild’s Academic Advocacy Team. Having a support system can make all the difference in getting through a tough time.

Take action: Rather than dwelling on what went wrong, focus on what you can do to move forward. Break down your goals into smaller, more manageable tasks and take action towards them.

It’s also important to remember that setbacks and challenges can actually help you grow and develop as a student and as a person. By facing and overcoming obstacles, you can build resilience, improve your problem-solving skills, and become more confident in your abilities.

So, if your plans don’t go to plan, don’t give up hope. Take a step back, reassess your situation, and come up with a new plan. Remember that setbacks are a natural part of the learning process, and that with perseverance and resilience, you can overcome any challenge that comes your way.

About the author, Emma Surman, Student Assist Manager at QUT Student Guild Advocacy:

Emma (she/her) is the dedicated Student Assist Manager for the Guild, leading a team of passionate Advocacy Officers at both Gardens Point and Kelvin Grove Campuses. With a Bachelor’s degree in Education from QUT and over a decade of experience in student services, Emma brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to her role. She is committed to providing top-notch support to students and ensuring their voices are heard. Don’t hesitate to explore the range of Advocacy support services available here and tap into the team’s expertise to make the most of your university journey.


Academic Advocacy is a professional service of QUT Guild committed to supporting and representing the interests and needs of students in academic matters, navigating university policies and advocating for better quality of education.

Articles: 10

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