How to handle criticism in college and beyond

Are you bad at dealing with criticism and find that instead of taking it as something constructive, that it just stimulates your tear ducts? Then this article is for you! Hopefully, this will help you realize that criticism can help you improve on certain aspects of life or on your work and is not always meant to be hurtful.

Listen to the criticism

Before taking criticism as a personal attack on yourself, first try to understand what is being said to you. Once you feel attacked or offended, you will focus on how you are feeling instead of trying to understand what is being said. Your educators or boss might just be giving you honest feedback on your work and it might not be meant to offend you. When you are working, you are providing a service so of course your boss will have certain expectations and will ask you to change aspects of your work they do not agree with. Try to understand that you are representing a company or product oftentimes and that this has to be up to scratch.

How to handle criticism in college and beyond

Take a break

If you feel criticized, especially unfairly, it is important to take a break and the more upset you are, the longer the break should be. You cannot internalize the criticism and fix your mistakes if you are feeling upset emotionally. So, put it on the shelf. What is the shelf? It is a space in your mind where you put things for a while and try not to think about it until you are ready to deal with it. Do not leave it on the shelf too long, eventually you will have to face it, especially if you have a deadline.

Develop a plan of action

Instead of focusing on the criticism, focus on specific questions you want to ask the person in order to discover what they have a problem with. Is it the layout, or the wording perhaps? Focus on a specific task and see it as an opportunity to improve rather than feeling judged.
Focus on the content, not the delivery

Some people are horrible at providing constructive criticism and really do end up insulting or being rude to people. Try to separate the way in which the criticism was delivered and focus instead on what the actual problem is. Unfortunately, you cannot always control the people you have to deal with in life and some of it comes with having a job.

Give it time

Eventually, you will see that you become stronger in dealing with criticism. Your boss and the way he or she delivers criticism will seem to faze you less. Humans are brilliant at adapting and even though this seems exceptionally challenging at the moment, soon it will become easier to deal with.

How to handle criticism in college and beyond

It is better than receiving no feedback

The alternative could also be difficult to deal with. How do you improve something if you do not know what the problem is? If your boss or lecturer does not provide you with good feedback, it will limit your growth during the project. It will also make you feel like you are fluttering around a bit and unsure of how to proceed.

Lastly, respond calmly

If you are dealing with a superior, like a boss for instance, it is important to not lose your cool in front of them. They are also watching you and seeing what you can deal with and the last thing you want to do is hurt your chances of a potential promotion. It also shows that you are mature, and maturity will take you a long way in life.