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Stuck-in-a-RutBy Patrick Hanson

Over the past four years of working in the Student Outreach department at Bryan University, I have heard the same saying from students on multiple occasions: “I am just in a rut and can’t get out.” They have said this to me in a depressive voice with slouched shoulders, giving me the impression that this is a very negative, emotional time for them.

Since I am very visual, when I hear they are in a rut, it makes me picture a person  in a cavern on a steep hillside; they are safe and not in danger, just standing there. This really makes me wonder about what the person in this cavern is thinking, especially, why is it that they see this as a negative?

I know for myself, when I have a long climb, it is always nice to have a break. So, I like to remind students that staying in one place isn’t necessarily bad. It allows you to recharge, refocus, and remove obstacles–all of which can lead to very positive outcomes.

Why is it that they are not looking back and saying, “Wow! I have climbed a long way. Look at all that I have accomplished!”

A rut, if you want to call it that, is not a bad place to be. It’s a place to catch a breath before you climb again. It’s an opportunity to reflect on how far you have come, taking inventory of all you’ve accomplished. Look at the rut as a place to regain your momentum to achieve the task at hand. Take a look at what you were doing when you made the strongest strides and repeat that, letting experience guide you to greater success.

In closing, I encourage you to never let a “rut” serve as an excuse for giving up. You have made it this far. Keep climbing.

Bryan CollegeAs the Associate Director of Student and Alumni Outreach at Bryan University, Patrick Hanson has served hundreds of students on their paths to professional success. He may be contacted via email at

Bryan University offers degrees in personal training and exercise science, court reporting, healthcare informatics and the legal e-discovery process. More information is available at

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