Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Back to School Tips for Staying Balanced

If you are juggling multiple responsibilities and demands in the midst of returning to school, as most students are, lightening the stress load early can best prepare you for achieving academic success while finding time for the social and personal time that you need to stay balanced.   Below are some tips for keeping a low stress level while you strive to do your best to meet your academic goals:

• Avoid taking too many courses.  Don’t overload yourself by taking the maximum amount of credits; instead, look at your schedule and assess your job and family responsibilities to determine a realistic courseload so that you don’t get too overwhelmed.  It is important that you have enough time to take breaks to keep you feeling focused. If necessary, speak to an ELI Counselor (elicounselors@nvc.edu), if you need further guidance with this.

• Take regular breaks in between study periods to avoid burnout.  Use the time to go on a relaxing walk and take in all of the fall scenery surrounding you.  As you are walking, renew your senses as you take in the bright colors of the changing leaves and the crisp fall air.   Or, use that time to take a short nap or relax and imagine a relaxing place so that when you return to your coursework, it’s like you are coming back feeling rejuvenated from a relaxing mental vacation.

• Participate in community groups or college clubs.  Identify an interest that you are wanting to learn more about and join a club related to it.  Additionally, check out volunteer opportunities or consider a Meetup Group as a way of staying connected to the larger community - you can easily get caught up in your day to day responsibilities and forget how necessary it is to socialize with others.

• For courses required for general education requirements or those related to your major, take the ones that interest you the least first to get them out of the way.  If it is a subject that you frequently struggle with, taking it early is a good idea as it will give you the incentive that once those courses are behind you, you will have the ones that interest and energize you to look forward to.  (If you need help developing such a schedule, please contact the ELI Counselors at elicounselors@nvcc.edu.  They will be happy to assist you.)

• Enjoy the learning process as it relates to your overall time management skills and creating optimum social-personal-academic balance in your life.  Once you master a routine that works in juggling academic, family and social responsibilities, it will empower you to approach future semesters and/or situations that require extensive multi-tasking and planning.  In addition, seek to integrate your social experiences and those related to personal growth into your academic goals in terms of what activities energize you and provide motivation as well as life balance.  For example, if exercising with a group energizes you, plan a walking group and coordinate a time to walk a few hours before you attack your homework. 

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