So you’ve made a few mistakes this semester. It happens. But now, you’re starting to sweat your chances of getting into the right college… or even getting into college at all.

Well, the first thing you need to do is take a deep breath. You can’t change the stuff that’s already happened. What you can do is shift focus, collect yourself, and move forward. 

Even if you’ve made some missteps, or some things have gone wrong, you can still get back on track and achieve great things before graduation time comes around. Here’s how to get the process started.

1. Don’t Dwell on Mistakes

Okay, so things happen. No one is perfect, and life does tend to get in the way sometimes. The key to moving past it is not to obsess over what went wrong. Rather, you need to focus on the steps you need to take to improve your situation and move on. 

Dwelling on negative situations and outcomes won’t help you change them. Concentrating on positive habits, behaviors, and actions will help you get where you want to be faster. Not only that, but it can also drastically improve your mental health

Try to think of mistakes as learning tools rather than hindrances. Take the lessons learned, but never beat yourself up for having a hard time.

2. Address Underlying Issues

Another very important thing to consider here is how easy it is to trip over the same stone over and over again. Avoiding the issues that get you into trouble (think scrolling endlessly to avoid anxiety over assignments, etc.) in the first place is almost a guarantee that they’ll pop up again and again. 

Listen: adults also spiral into loops of negative behaviors. You’re definitely not alone here. That said, if you want to move past these troubles and get a good job in the future… you gotta deal with the anxiety you’re feeling. That means exploring why you feel that way in the first place. 

If you find yourself procrastinating or avoiding assignments on a regular basis, there could be an underlying reason. Talk to your parents and speak with a counselor about tips and strategies to combat this issue responsibly. It may even be helpful to seek a little help from a therapist to help you move forward to where you need to be.

3. Learn to Manage Your Time

Maybe you have a lot going on at home. You might be juggling a part-time job, or have other factors making your time difficult to manage. If that’s the case, you are going to have to get creative.

“Cram” studying is not a sustainable practice. Neither is putting things off for as long as you can, then trying to get a week’s worth of work done in a few hours. Approach it like grinding in a video game: a little activity every single day adds up. 

To tackle tasks and assignments successfully when there are time or privacy constraints in your home life, it’s best to pick a set time, every single day, that is locked-in as your designated “grind” time.

The next time you have a big paper to write or a project to work on, think of it like this: no great work of art was made in a single day. Rather, the piece was crafted day after day, a little at a time. In this case, your assignment is the tool that is helping to craft your work of art (the life you want to create for yourself).

4. Don’t Go it Alone

Don’t try to manage everything on your own. Ask someone (parents, siblings, friends, counselors) for help to get you there. These people are all available to strategize with, and your parents can help you get back on track by supporting your efforts. 

If friends and outside activities tend to lead you away from your studies (and the life you actually want), decide you’re only going to make plans after you meet your daily goals. Better yet, maybe even invite friends to study with you. This can help you collaborate and learn together, while still socializing.

Whatever the case may be, remember that you are in control of your own destiny. If you want to sail over the graduation line and get into college, you have to take these beginning steps to get there. Mistakes happen. Things don’t always work the way they should, and not everything is going to be easy. That’s okay. Just don’t give up.