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De-Stress for Finals Week

Urban Dictionary defines finals week as the following: “The worst week of a college or high school student’s life. Finals week involves pulling an all nighter to reverse the months of slacking… Finals week involves a lot of stress and very little sleep, the college or high school student will be on edge the entire time…”

Yes, it’s true, Finals Week can definitely be one of the most stressful weeks of the quarter. But, we are determined to help you get through it and create the perfect recipe of success instead of stress! We created this guide to help you prepare for the busy weeks ahead to hopefully help you stay calm, organized and feeling well. While it is important to get good grades and pass your finals, it is also vital to take care of yourself. This self-care guide will help you balance finals week by providing you with practical wellness tips that will help you conquer your exams while staying healthy and happy!

How to use the Self-Care Tips list:

While it is important to maintain a balance in all of these areas, we know how difficult it can be to be to juggle work, school and personal life as a student. We suggest you pick 2-3 areas from the self-care tip list that you would like to incorporate into your schedule during week 10 and finals week. If you find yourself able to tackle and incorporate 2-3 tips in your everyday routine and to-do list, you can slowly start adding more!

Self-Care Tips List:

Sleep

Sleep is usually a low priority during finals week but staying well-rested is important in helping your body stay balanced and going through finals week without getting sick or being exhausted. It is also important in maintaining all the information you just memorized in long-term memory.

  • Stop studying 30-40 minutes before bed: Try to clear your mind and take a break from the material you have been studying all day. Do something that you find relaxing instead like catching up on your favorite book, taking a shower, or listening to music. Try unplugging from social media if you can.
  • Sleep environment: Evaluate your sleep environment to see if the temperature, noise and comfort levels are conducive to getting a full night’s rest. Blocking out the light and avoiding screen time (such as cell phones or laptops) before bedtime are other ways prepare your body for sleep.
  • Napping: 20-30 minute naps have been shown to be beneficial as a supplement to getting your 7-9 hours of sleep while boosting your energy and increasing your memory. For more information on our student ranked nap location on campus visit our Nap map.

Nutrition

During finals it may be hard to find the budget or enough time to cook or eat a balanced meal, but proper nutrition can help you function better and stay alert. Avoid stressing about what to eat during finals week by meal prepping healthy meals before finals week. Find more information about meal prepping and quick and easy recipes on the UC Davis Teaching Kitchen Pinterest.

  • Avoid Caffeine: Caffeine, a chemical in coffee, colas, tea, and chocolate, causes hyperactivity and wakefulness which can be appealing during finals week in order to try and stay awake. It’s best to consume caffeine in the morning or early afternoon to avoid staying up too late and disrupting your sleep schedule.
  • Cut down on alcohol: Alcohol is a depressant and can actually increase anxiety and induce stress. This means if you drink alcohol it can cause you to become more tired or cranky while studying/taking exams.
  • Healthy Snacks: #PackASnack, a balanced snack can help you stay alert during long study sessions and boost your mood. Try bringing a balanced snack to your next study group or review session.
  • Locations and Hours: Check out the new Food Access Map for more information about microwave locations, hours and food resources.

Hydration

Did you know that regularly drinking water improves brain function, helps prevent headaches and increases energy? Drinking the recommended daily eight 8-ounce glasses of water can be difficult for some. Try splitting the amount amongst your “to-do” list, or try setting an alarm on your phone as reminders! Here are some more hydration hacks as the temperatures start to rise in Davis. For more hydration tips visit our hydration blog.

  • Start every day with water: Try making drinking water the first thing you do each day and before you know it you have incorporated it into your daily routine and created a healthy habit!
  • Chase juice and caffeine with water: An easy way to stay hydrated and add in your recommended intake is to chase your juice, coffee, or any non-water drink, with water! This can also help dilute the added sugars and extra caffeine to help keep your body in a balance.
  • Infuse your water: Mixing fruits or flavor to your water can help you reach your daily water intake goal by new flavors to your water. Also a great alternative to sugary drinks.
  • Locations and Hours: Check out our H2O Hydration Map for hydration station locations on campus!

Movement

With so much going on, we understand that finding time for physical activity may seem like an impossible task. It is recommended to get about 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity a week. While that may seem like a lot, it breaks down to only 30 minutes of movement a day. Here are some ways to get in your daily 30 minutes of physical activity! For more information on how to include movement breaks while studying visit our active aggie blog.

  • Stretching: Include 2-5 minutes of stretch breaks in between your studies to help you stay awake and alert. Your posture at a desk, on the floor or bed may be hurting your back and making you tense and stiff so this can also help blood circulation and aches.
  • Walking: It has been shown that walking helps stimulate the brain and activate certain regions that help you do well on tests! Try adding walking breaks in your checklists as easy self-care study breaks.
  • Leaving study environment: Whether it is walking, taking the stairs, stretching, biking or playing a game of sports, it is important to try and leave your study environment every once in a while as a study break. This change in environment can be refreshing and help you refocus while studying.

Stress Relief

College is a time that can be notoriously stressful especially during finals week. Along with studying rigorous material, we simultaneously juggle many other commitments such as jobs, relationships, newfound independence and more. Here are quick self-care tips to help alleviate some stress during finals week! For more tips on how to manage stress as a college student visit our stress blog.

  • 50/10 Rule: Work in 50 minute chunks and use the last 10 minutes to give your body a break from the material that you have been studying.
  • Meditation, music, and having fun: Make sure you are not spreading yourself too thin with your study schedule. Incorporate time for relaxation breaks whether that be yoga, walking, listening to music, or playing a board game with friends!
  • Asking for help: Never be afraid to ask for help! Attend tutoring sessions, office hours and ask colleagues who have already taken the class or are doing well in the class for some help.
  • Locations and Hours: Visit our Mental Health Map for self-care location and hours on campus.

Time management

Learning to balance your time is a tricky art – many students are juggling school, work, and extra-curriculars. On top of all that, students have to find time to get a healthy amount of sleep and physical activity, as well as maintain a balanced diet. Learning to master time management can be difficult, but with some tips and practice, it can be achieved by anyone! For more information about how to master time management visit our time management blog.

  • Creating a checklist: Whether you have a day by day checklist or hour by hour checklist, try planning out what you want to study each day. Try to schedule some of the above self-care tips into your checklist to find time to create a balance between studying and taking self-care breaks. Here is an example of a weekly checklist:
  • Prioritizing: Try prioritizing the easy and quick tasks first so you can feel accomplished, gain a momentum and motivation to tackle the more difficult and longer tasks. Keep in mind deadlines when doing this. You may want to set up your own personal deadline versus the actual deadline to give some cushion.
  • Location and Hours: Here is a compiled list of great Studying Spaces on campus during finals week (it is updated at the end of each quarter).

11 Time Management Habits Worth Starting

Now that it’s the end of the semester, everyone is scrambling around trying to get everything done and studying for finals. If you are a college student who struggles to manage their time, this post is for you because I’ve spent years making mistakes in order to master the skill. I hope you enjoy.

1.//Have A Morning And Evening Routine

I’ve written about my college morning and evening routine before. It’s a lifesaver. Having a routine helps me wake up and get ready efficiently or wind down and get ready to rest. Another great thing about having a routine is that I don’t have to waste much time on deciding what to do next.

Related:

2.//Plan Out Your Week And Follow It

I’ve been creating weekly to-do lists in a cheap spiral notebook this semester, and it’s been a game changer. Using my assignment list based on all the syllabi, I’ve been able to organize myself in an efficient way. Crossing things off a list is very satisfying to me, so having one page with every blog post, homework assignment, and due date for the week is quite motivating.

3.//Study In Different Places (Leave Your Dorm)

I don’t know about you, but I can’t get any work done in my room. I just can’t. My laptop and my bed is just a recipe for procrastination. Even when I work at my desk, my bed is just too tempting.

I personally study most efficiently at the library or a study lounge, but even just moving to the dining table at home makes me work harder and faster.

4.//Sleep 6-8 Hours Every Night

If you aren’t sleeping enough, you are breaking time-management rule #1, but if it’s completely impossible for you to sleep a full eight hours, aim for at least six. I personally cannot function if I don’t sleep, so it’s a top priority for me. I’m not one of those people who can bounce back after 3 hours of sleep.

*Update 9/15/18: My dad watched a TED Talk recently about sleep. The speaker said something like this: “When we wake up in the morning and see that our phones are 50% charged, we feel agitated and that sets a tone for the rest of the day. We put so much priority in making sure our phones are fully charged, but we go about our days 50 or 60% charged all the time without thinking about it.” You can’t manage your time properly if you aren’t rested for the day. You’ll be much more productive and comfortable if you get enough sleep.

5.//Make Time To Go To The Gym

I remember in my first semester of Freshman year, a trainer at the gym said that most students stop coming to the gym during midterms. She said,

“I wish that more students understood that going to the gym makes their days more productive, not less.”

That resonated with me. It’s also the reason I always went to the gym, even when I had exams. It’s really easy to make excuses in college, so you need to be very mindful of your health. Working out was 100% worth it when it came to me managing my time, because it motivated me to eat healthier, gave me more energy, and helped me fall asleep faster. It also gives me a productive break in between homework and studying.

6.//Know Your Daily Rhythms

I mentioned this before, but I’ll talk about it again. You know your body and mind best. You know which times you are most energetic and which times you’re most lethargic. I’m not hungry first thing in the morning, so I don’t eat breakfast immediately. I get ready, make my bed, pack my bags, etc.

I’m also good at self-motivation in the mornings. I can get a lot of studying and work done without procrastinating too much. I lose that self-motivation after lunch, which is why I’ve scheduled all my classes in the afternoon. Having some structure at that time makes me more productive.

Schedule your time with your daily rhythms. It’ll make you much more productive and will help you get through your day by saving you energy.

7.//Set A Timer

This works so well. It’s kind of crazy. What would take me an hour without a timer takes 30 minutes with one. I think the hardest part of getting work done is starting. Once I sit down and make a decision to start working, I can work nonstop. Just set a timer for 15 minutes. Once those 15 minutes are up, you’ll probably be in the groove of things and won’t stop what you’re doing.

8.//Block Out Times In Your Schedule For Certain Tasks

Block out a certain time for classes, a certain time for work, a certain time to eat, etc. Batch similar tasks together so that you won’t waste time going from one project to the next. If your daily schedule is blocked off into different sections, you won’t have to waste energy on deciding what to do next. You also won’t waste ten minutes every time you’re “getting ready” to study by organizing all your notes.

9.//Schedule Breaks

I don’t mean procrastination breaks. I mean actual breaks. Procrastinating by watching YouTube videos isn’t a break because you’re mentally draining yourself through guilt. If you are going to take a break, don’t guilt yourself about it and don’t waste an hour.

If you are intentional about your break time, you’ll waste less time and will have more energy because you won’t be wasting any of it on guilt.

Related – How To Take Intentional Breaks In College

10.//Pay Attention In Class

This is literally the ultimate time saver. If you’re going to class every day, the least you can do is pay attention. This will honestly save you when it comes to studying for the test because you’ll know the important information and what to go over. You won’t have to waste too much time on looking through the textbook. (Of course, this only works if you have good professors.)

11.//Don’t Be A  Perfectionist

“Perfectionism is the mother of procrastination.”

This quote rings true to many people. I’ve learned not to be a perfectionist when it comes to a lot of things, but this blog isn’t one of them. When you want something to turn out perfect, you’ll waste a lot of time working around the project. This happens to me all the time. I’ll spend time outlining and creating blog post images, but I won’t actually flesh out the post until the day before. (Today is a bad example because I’m writing this five days in advance, but that’s not a norm for me.)

This can also be about moods. If I’m not in the mood to write an essay, I won’t write it. I need the perfect amount of motivation and the perfect amount of time (Example – “Oh, it’s 2:03. I’ll start my homework at 3:00.” Don’t lie. You’ve done this at least once.)

I’ve taught myself to stop this because it is SUCH A TIME WASTER. I need you to know that not everything has to be perfect to be good. Most great things aren’t perfect.  I mean, have you seen the impressionist paintings from a few centuries ago? They’re great paintings, but there’s no such thing as perfect when it comes to those.

Sorry for that digression. The point is to be less of a perfectionist. You’ll be happier for it in the end.

Tips on Writing A College Essay

I’ve mentioned before that I went to a college level high school, so I’ve done my fair share of academic papers. Remember that Anthropology paper I told you about that was worth 25% of my grade? Guess what? I got 100 on it! I’m not joking. Obviously, my high school prepared me well for my college career.

This got me thinking. I’ve been using the same essay writing process for years. I’ve tweaked it over time, but overall it’s been the same. I decided to share that process with you. I hope it helps.

1.//Choose A Topic

Sometimes, you’ll be assigned a topic. If so, you can skip this part. If you have to choose a topic out of a list of questions, go with the one you are more interested in. Doing the easy one isn’t as fun and your professor can tell when you are taking the easy way out.

When you write about a topic you are interested in, you are more motivated to do research and write the actual essay. It’s much easier to write about something you are interested in.

2.// Research And Take Notes

Spend a few hours at the library just doing research. As a student, you have easy access to thousands of scholarly articles at your fingertips. Usually for free. Make sure to take advantage of that.

First, find your sources. Go through a bunch of articles to find what you’re looking for. Choose four or five articles, maybe more depending on how much you have to write, and start reading. Don’t read the whole article before making your choice. You can get the gist of it by just reading the abstract.

Once you choose, make sure you read the article. It’s pretty obvious when a student only uses the abstract to write a paper. It can be tempting to use the abstract because the authors some up the information in a perfect paragraph, but don’t do it. If you are short on time, read the introduction, conclusion, and the first and last sentence of the paragraphs in between. Good writers keep their important information there,

Take detailed notes on each article and make sure to take note of how you’re going to use it in your paper. If you take thorough notes, you’ll only have to read the article once. This will help a lot with your outline.

On that note….

3.//Create An Outline

I love outlines. I can’t write an essay (or blog post) without one. They calm me down and make me feel like I know what I’m going to do next. Here is how I usually format my outlines.

I. Introduction
   A. Thesis Statement
II. Idea 1
   A. Subpoint 1
   B. Subpoint 2
III. Idea 2
   A. Subpoint 1
   B. Sbpoint 2
   C. Subpoint 3
   D. Subpoint 4
IV. Idea 3
   A. Subpoint 1
   B. Subpoint 2
   C. Subpoint 3
V. Idea 4
   A. Subpoint 1
   B. Subpoint 2
VI. Conclusion

How long it is depends on the essay. Don’t make it too detailed. Just get a broad idea of what you’re going for. That way, it’ll make sense later on.

4.//Fill Out Outline With Bullet Points Beneath Them

Remember all those notes I made you take. Those will come in handy right now. The initial outline is also based on that, too, but it’s most important when you fill out the outline. Organize your notes into all the categories and subpoints you made. Do more research if necessary. Here’s an example of how I do it.

I. Introduction
   A. Thesis Statement - blah blah blah

II. Idea 1
       - Intro sentence idea
   A. Subpoint 1 
       -Information from previous research
       -Information from previous research
   B. Subpoint 2
       -Information from previous research
       -Information from previous research
       -Information from previous research       

III. Idea 2
      -Intro sentence idea
   A. Subpoint 1
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
   B. Sbpoint 2
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
   C. Subpoint 3
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
   D. Subpoint 4
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research

IV. Idea 3
      -Intro sentence Idea
   A. Subpoint 1 
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
   B. Subpoint 2
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
   C. Subpoint 3
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research

V. Idea 4
   A. Subpoint 1
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
   B. Subpoint 2
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research
      -Information from previous research

VI. Conclusion
    -Point 1
    -Point 2

5.//Write The Essay

I like to do this the next day as long as it’s not last minute. It helps me get into the right mindset after a long day of research and outlining. Using the outline, I write the entire essay at once. I personally don’t schedule different parts for different days because I’m less productive if I do that. I’m much faster and more efficient when I write everything at once.

If dividing things up works for you, that’s fine. I just work better when I write the entire paper in one sitting.

  • DON’T PLAGIARIZE! Laziness is not worth getting expelled.

6.//Don’t The Bibliography

Ah…yet. The dreaded bibliography. This is my least favorite parts of writing essays. I tend to do them last minute. They are either the first or last thing I do. Make sure you cite all your sources correctly and use the correct format. You can get penalized if you don’t.

If you have trouble with this, visit Purdue Owl. It has a lot of helpful information on citing sources correctly.

7.//Revise Your Essay

I hate revising essays. By the end of writing the paper, I’m just so done with it that I never want to think about it again. I’ve always been like this. I am sad to report that I have turned in essays without revising them first. Before, I wouldn’t even let others revise them for me because I was embarrassed about them criticizing my writing (ironic because I write all the time now, though I will admit I have pressed the publish button before revising posts)

This is why I was so excited to get an email from Analyze Academic Help about sponsoring a post. They are a company that revises and grades college papers like professors. The give a lot of comments and fix errors that you may not have noticed. It’s a great company.

Everything they do is completely legal and confidential. They do not release any of your papers and everything stays between you and your Analyzer. Professionals don’t just analyze your paper. They give advice on how to improve your writing overall. Here are some quotes from other users:

"Before I used this service, I had no idea I had to improve so much in my writing. I was shown literally everything I need to work on and what to do about it. It is like a one-stop place to learn how to write better."

"With the help of the analysis from Nicholas Klacsanzky, my grade on my paper dramatically improved from draft to final draft. Thanks for all the help!"

"This was better than meeting a tutor. My analyzer new his stuff--he made me see things wrong in my writing that I didn;t even realize were there.

Even if you don’t use this service, revising your paper before turning it in is a MUST.

8.//Make Necessary Corrections

After revising your paper, make corrections. There is always something to make better. No written piece is perfect. It’s fine if there are errors.

9.//Turn In Paper On Time

It’s not worth losing extra points. Always turn everything in on time. Put the date in your planner and look at it every day.  There’s nothing worse than realizing you’ve missed an assignment.

This is the great thing about Analyze Academic Help. You can give it to them the day before your due date, and you’ll still be able to turn it in on time!

10 Habits of Highly Effective Students

The key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder. This becomes more and more true as you advance in your education. An hour or two of studying a day is usually sufficient to make it through high school with satisfactory grades, but when college arrives, there aren’t enough hours in the day to get all your studying in if you don’t know how to study smarter.

While some students are able to breeze through school with minimal effort, this is the exception. The vast majority of successful students achieve their success by developing and applying effective study habits. The following are the top 10 study habits employed by highly successful students. So if you want to become a successful student, don’t get discouraged, don’t give up, just work to develop each of the study habits below and you’ll see your grades go up, your knowledge increase, and your ability to learn and assimilate information improve.

1. Don’t attempt to cram all your studying into one session.

Ever find yourself up late at night expending more energy trying to keep your eyelids open than you are studying? If so, it’s time for a change. Successful students typically space their work out over shorter periods of time and rarely try to cram all of their studying into just one or two sessions. If you want to become a successful student then you need to learn to be consistent in your studies and to have regular, yet shorter, study periods.

Successful students schedule specific times throughout the week when they are going to study — and then they stick with their schedule. Students who study sporadically and whimsically typically do not perform as well as students who have a set study schedule. Even if you’re all caught up with your studies, creating a weekly routine, where you set aside a period of time a few days a week, to review your courses will ensure you develop habits that will enable you to succeed in your education long term.

3. Study at the same time.

Not only is it important that you plan when you’re going to study, it’s important you create a consistent, daily study routine. When you study at the same time each day and each week, you’re studying will become a regular part of your life. You’ll be mentally and emotionally more prepared for each study session and each study session will become more productive. If you have to change your schedule from time to time due to unexpected events, that’s okay, but get back on your routine as soon as the event has passed.

4. Each study time should have a specific goal.

Simply studying without direction is not effective. You need to know exactly what you need to accomplish during each study session. Before you start studying, set a study session goal that supports your overall academic goal (i.e. memorize 30 vocabulary words in order to ace the vocabulary section on an upcoming Spanish test.)

5. Never procrastinate your planned study session.

It’s very easy, and common, to put off your study session because of lack of interest in the subject, because you have other things you need to get done, or just because the assignment is hard. Successful students DO NOT procrastinate studying. If you procrastinate your study session, your studying will become much less effective and you may not get everything accomplished that you need to. Procrastination also leads to rushing, and rushing is the number one cause of errors.

6. Start with the most difficult subject first.

As your most difficult assignment or subject will require the most effort and mental energy, you should start with it first. Once you’ve completed the most difficult work, it will be much easier to complete the rest of your work. Believe it or not, starting with the most difficult subject will greatly improve the effectiveness of your study sessions, and your academic performance.

7. Always review your notes before starting an assignment.

Obviously, before you can review your notes you must first have notes to review. Always make sure to take good notes in class. Before you start each study session, and before you start a particular assignment, review your notes thoroughly to make sure you know how to complete the assignment correctly. Reviewing your notes before each study session will help you remember important subject matter learned during the day, and make sure your studying is targeted and effective.

8. Make sure you’re not distracted while you’re studying.

Everyone gets distracted by something. Maybe it’s the TV. Or maybe it’s your family. Or maybe it’s just too quiet. Some people actually study better with a little background noise. When you’re distracted while studying you (1) lose your train of thought and (2) are unable to focus — both of which will lead to very ineffective studying. Before you start studying, find a place where you won’t be disturbed or distracted. For some people this is a quiet cubicle in the recesses of the library. For others it is in a common area where there is a little background noise.28

9. Use study groups effectively.

Ever heard the phrase “two heads are better than one?” Well this can be especially true when it comes to studying. Working in groups enables you to (1) get help from others when you’re struggling to understand a concept, (2) complete assignments more quickly, and (3) teach others, whereby helping both the other students and yourself to internalize the subject matter. However, study groups can become very ineffective if they’re not structured and if group members come unprepared. Effective students use study groups effectively.

10. Review your notes, schoolwork and other class materials over the weekend.

Successful students review what they’ve learned during the week over the weekend. This way they’re well prepared to continue learning new concepts that build upon previous coursework and knowledge acquired the previous week.

We’re confident that if you’ll develop the habits outlined above that you’ll see a major improvement in your academic success.

Advice for Students: Start Planning Now for Life After College

At the end of every school year, the media is stuffed with advice for soon-to-be graduates looking forward with excitement — and not a little fear – to setting out on their careers. I’ve althinways felt that this was just a little bit too late – by the time June rolls around, you’re competing with literally millions of recent grads, all frantic to find some kind of handhold in this thing called “real life”.

No, the time to start thinking about life after graduation is now – no matter where you are in your education process. The earlier you stop thinking about college as a break from “real life” and start thinking about it as a stage of real life, the better. That doesn’t mean you have to start sending out resumes the first day of your freshman year, but rather that you should always be thinking about the arc you’re following in college and where it’s likely to take you – and how you can shape it to take you where you’ll be happiest.

Lindsey Pollak, the author of Getting from College to Career: 90 Things to Do Before You Join the Real World, offers a ton of advice for job-seeking grads – and future job-seeking grades – on her blog. Some of the more important tips she offers include:

1. Network.

College students, in my experience, suffer from an inferiority complex. They assume that nobody on “the real world” would be interested in their thoughts, talents, or problems, one consequence of which is that they do very little to reach out to people in fields they’re interested in until they’re “finished”, which usually means when they’re actively looking for work – and by then, it’s too late.

Start making connections as early as you can. Email people in fields you’re interested in, even if only to say “I read your book and it really had an impact on me” or “I really like what your company is doing with X”. Join professional organizations – most offer low-priced student memberships – and attend conferences. Join or create groups on campus devoted to topics that interest you.

In most cases, you’ll find that people are more than willing to lend a hand to a bright student. It’s flattering to be recognized for what you’re accomplishing, no matter what the source, and it feels good to know you’re helping someone set out on the right path. There are exceptions, of course, but few enough that you can always move on to the next person.

2. Do your research.

Visit and use the career services office on your campus.Virtually nobody else does, so you’ll be received with open arms. Keep an eye out for unusual job titles, and research them – maybe Corporate Happiness Officer (a real job title!) is something you’d be good at? How about Vice President of Environmental Sustainability?

Look up companies that interest you and see where you might fit – there are thousands of tasks that have to get done in a typical company regardless of whether they make tractor parts or iPod accessories. Pay attention to media stories about new fields opening up, or about skills that are experiencing a growing demand – these are the career paths of tomorrow.

 

3. Use your summers wisely.

A great internship or summer job can be a huge help, but there are other things you can do in the summer, too. Start your own business, or create a website. Temp to get experience working in a wide range of companies. Take summer courses through your school’s adult extension, or at a local community college, to build up non-academic skills like bookkeeping, business networking, leadership, or computer programming. Read widely and wisely – forego your usual beach reading for recent publications in fields that interest you. If you can afford it, travel – learn to adapt readily to strange and unusual circumstances.

4. Craft your online persona.

In today’s world, one of the worst ways students damage their future careers is by sharing too much of the wrong kind of information online. Assume that everything you post online is going to be available to prospective employers, clients, or investors, all of whom increasingly turn to the Internet to research potential employees or partners. Keep the drunken stories either anonymous/pseudonymous, or marked as “private”, and be sure to build out public-ready profiles, under your own name if at all possible.

5. Look at small companies.

Although going from college to Google might seem like a real coup, a small company offers a lot of benefits early on in your career. At Google (or another mega-company) you’ll be an insignificant fish in a huge sea, whereas small companies may well give you the chance to shine. According to Pollak, small companies allow students:

  • Opportunities to take on responsibility beyond your job description.
  • Less strict policies about working hours and days off.
  • The possibility of making a real difference in the company’s success.
  • The ability to work closely with high-level people.

6. Pay attention!

Whether you end up at a big company or a little company, consider your summer jobs and first jobs out of college as a training ground – an extension of your education. Listen more than you talk, and learn as much as you can from the “old hands” – and from their critics. “Give colleagues and clients the opportunity to share their advice, guidance and tricks of the trade,” Pollak writes. Stay on the lookout for opportunities to grow your skills, by taking on new responsibilities, joining projects, or getting yourself attached to the teams of company visionaries.

7. Become a great writer.

No matter what field you hope to go into, and no matter what job you hope to have in that field, writing skills will get you further than almost any other competency. “Written communication skills are ESSENTIAL for most careers today,” writes Pollak. Look at every written assignment as a chance to develop better writing and editing skills. Ask for feedback from your professors. Take writing classes, either for credit or through adult extension. Join a writing group, or form one. Read writing books (Stephen King’s On Writing is a great one and highly readable). In short, do whatever you can to become a better writer – you’ll be putting yourself two or three steps ahead of the rest of your graduating class.

None of these things should be the only thing you do in college. Go to classes, of course, but have fun, take adequate time to relax and blow off steam, take a risk or two, and make friends. But make sure you spend at least a little bit of time – an hour every week or so is plenty – to think about what you want to do when college is over. If you’re anything like I was, and like most of my students are, you honestly have no idea what you want to do when you graduate – so take some time now, with graduation still over the horizon, to get some ideas and lay some groundwork, so you don’t join the ranks of terrified recent grads groping blindly around the job market and grasping at the first thing that comes along.

How To Prevent College Burn Out | Motivation, Productivity, Self-Care, Etc.

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post on the glorification of being busy and how people pride themselves on how full their schedules are. It was also my one month into sophomore year update. The beginning of the fall semester was crazy, I have a lot more things to do this semester in terms of my job, classes, this blog, and my personal goals. My workload has practically doubled compared to last semester.

The moment the first week was over, I knew that I was going to burn out if I didn’t make a change.

I wish I could say that I took initiative on my own, but that’s not the case. After that was Labor Day weekend, so I had four days (I don’t have classes on Friday) to recoup. I didn’t feel as exhausted the next week, but I knew it was because it was a shorter week.

And then Hurricane Irma happened. While we didn’t get hit in Georgia, about half the state lost power. Classes were canceled for me that Monday and Tuesday, so I had a five day weekend. (A lot of schools didn’t open on Wednesday and Thursday either because they had lost power or flooded).

Normally, I would’ve done work or blogged during that time, trying to be productive, but my house lost wifi. Thankfully we didn’t lose power like a lot of houses nearby did, but I couldn’t do any blogging or much of school work. I was forced into taking a break.

I read books and watched T.V without any guilt. It was great! But I also really thought about what the hell I was going to do about my full schedule and how to organize my time.

Thankfully, I’ve worked out a system that has really been working. Here’s a breakdown.

Related – The Glorification Of Busy | One Month Into Sophomore Year Update

//Motivation//

At this point of the year, I was plenty motivated, but I knew that burnout came with a sense or lethargy. In order to keep going at the pace I need to go at, I need motivation.

//Look At The Big Picture

This can mean thinking about all the priorities you have, but looking at the big picture also means to not take things as seriously.

I think we’re all guilty of feeling like we’re not doing enough. I feel this constantly, but in the last month, I’ve really given myself some leeway. If I don’t go to the gym for a few days, I don’t bat an eyelash because I know there is a reason for that. A few weeks ago, I didn’t publish a blog post on a Thursday and I didn’t feel bad at all. If I had done that just a few months ago, I would’ve beaten myself up for not being consistent. That’s a huge change for.

I didn’t consciously do this. It sort of happened on its own. There’s power in not giving a crap. I’ve learned not to be a perfectionist over the years and it’s really paid off.

Related – On Living For The Future | The Collegiate Life Crisis

//Make A List Of All Your Responsibilities And Why You Do Them

Why are you doing all this? What goals are you trying to achieve? Having a really good reason to do something is the best motivation. You don’t need to write it down. It can be a mental list but make sure you have a good reason for every item on your to-do list. Otherwise, scratch it off.

//Change Your Work Environment

Staring out the same window and sitting in the same seat can become mundane and boring. Doing my work in a different environment always motivates me to get more work done. I’ve recently started doing work in the dining room (I’m doing that right now), which has really helped me get more done. I can only do this at night because I live with six other people and it gets loud.

Related – 10 Ways I Refocus Myself During The Day

//Cross The Easiest Thing Off Your To-Do List

Nothing motivates me more than crossing things off my to-do list. I know that most people say to “eat the frog,” meaning “get your hardest task done first,” but I think it’s better to do the opposite. Don’t work completely backward, but I think it’s discouraging to spend two hours doing the longest task first. Spend the first-hour crossing three or four things off your to-do list before diving into the big project for the day because you’ll feel great about getting so much done already. This’ll give you some drive.

//Productivity & Organization//

//Make A Weekly To-Do List

I have a planner, but in the last few weeks, I’ve been using a notebook. My planner contains all the test dates and due dates for the semester. I use that to create a comprehensive weekly (Mon-Thurs) and weekend (Fri-Sun) to-do lists. This has helped me so much! Aside from class times and appointments, I control the rest of my schedule. I don’t need to do anything at a specific time. My planner didn’t have enough room for my extensive to-do lists, so I write out all my academic, blogging, and personal to-dos in the notebook.

//Know When You’re Doing What

It doesn’t have to be concrete, but you need to organize your time in a productive way. Know your appointments, when you have class, work, etc.

//Know When You’re Most Productive And How You Work

I work so much faster the day before things are due. I know many people preach to get things done early, but that doesn’t always work for me. I start early when it comes to big projects, but there are some assignments where my time is spent more productively the night before. For example, I research and outline my essays early, but I can never get myself to write the entire essay until the day before it’s due. Whenever I try, I end up staring at a word document for an hour, procrastinating by reading blog posts.

This doesn’t help you. You know yourself better than anyone. If waiting till the last minute works for you and you still get a good grade, go for it.

Other Productivity Posts – This isn’t a post on productivity. These are just things that have specifically helped me prevent burnout. Here are some of my other posts on this topic.

//Self-Care//

This part is IMPERATIVE if you want to prevent burnout. You can’t spend all your time working. It’s unhealthy. I wrote a whole post on my Self-Care Routine last year, so I won’t go too much into it. A huge reason why I haven’t felt so burnt out is that I’ve done the following things:

  • Sleeping 7-8 hours every night
  • Eating 3 Meals A Day
  • Exercising
  • Getting Ready Every Morning/Showering Regularly
  • Reading Books That Have Nothing To Do With School
  • Watching T.V, Netflix, Or YouTube Videos For Fun (Not To Procrastinate)
  • Etc.12

Make sure to read the post I’m linking below for more detail

Related – How To Create A College Self-Care Plan (Plus A Look At Mine)

//Socialization & Fun//

This is the category I was completely lagging in at the beginning. I still sort of am. I’m good at making time for work and self-care, but I can go days at a time without deep personal conversation without noticing. Don’t get me wrong, I talk to people, but there’s a difference between talking to newer friends and people you’ve known for years.

It’s so important to plan for fun events because it’s nice to get away from your daily routine. It doesn’t necessarily need to be big, but you should have something to look forward to every week or so.

  • Spend Time With Friends And Family – Vague, but true. I’m close with my family and live with them, but it’s easy to lock myself in my room to do work.
  • Call A Friend – I am the person who will call you up after months to check how you’re doing. I haven’t done this enough recently, but it feels great when I do.
  • Go To A Show, Concert, Or Festival – These are fun things to look forward to. I recently bought tickets to watch the Broadway Show Of Lion King. My friends from middle school and I look forward to going to the Renaissance Festival every summer and plan monthly meetups. Experiences like those are worth investing in.
  • Grab Lunch Or Coffee With A Friend – Scheduling such a small thing is a great way to prevent burning out. It’s my policy not to do work while I’m eating lunch, so I usually end up watching something on Netflix. Meeting up with a friend is a nice alternative.
  • Go To A Party Or Gathering – The fact that I had to go to family/friend gatherings for Eid a few weekends kept me from working all the time. Having a place you have to be at a specific time will get you off your laptop.
  • Go To A Museum/Zoo/Aquarium  – Or to a pumpkin patch now that its fall, but you get the picture. Plan something fun in your own city.
  • Travel – I have quite a few trips planned for the next few months and I am incredibly excited. Just planning for a trip amps me up. It’s great to have something to look forward to.

//Take Aways//

The big takeaway here is to not surpass your limits and not guilt yourself over not being perfect. One thing I’ve noticed in the last few weeks of doing all these things is that I don’t procrastinate as much. Sure, I take breaks, but they don’t come with the guilt of thinking I need to do more. I don’t think I’ve surpassed my limits yet, but it’s easy to overextend yourself. In the last few weeks, I’ve said no to some work opportunities and social events because I don’t want to put too much on my plate. That’s the biggest secret to preventing burnout.


I hope this post helps you get through a busy season.

45 Tips for Staying Organized in College

I love being in college. And, though my room may not always show it, I also love being organized and productive. One of my most popular posts on this blog is my Ultimate Guide to College Organization, and since it’s been read and shared so many times, I thought I’d make an updated, expanded guide on staying organized in college. Here are my top 45 tips for staying organized in college!

It may seem like a lot, but you definitely don’t need to implement all these tips. Just read them over and see which ones fit you and your lifestyle. Above all, remember that caring for yourself is the most important. Having an organized life on the outside means nothing if you are not happy with yourself and your life.

The Right Attitude for Staying Organized in College

Check Out: The Ultimate Guide to College Motivation to stay motivated

1. Be motivated. I can’t stress enough how important it is that you are motivated to tackle the mess in your life. Otherwise, when the going gets tough, you will get sloppy. My advice is to make a list – yes, with real pen and paper – of why you want a clean, organized, and manageable life. Tack it up somewhere where you will see it when you start to feel unmotivated.

Using Planning to Stay Organized in College

2. Keep a planner, or a planner app. During the school year, I use my planner religiously to track my classes, assignments, and social plans. My favorite planner for college students is the Panda Planner, which is great for boosting both productivity and a positive outlook on life. It helps me stay focused and optimistic! You can check out the planner here.

3. Use only one planner. Just as important as using a planner is only keeping one. If you have both a paper planner and an app, or multiple planners, the odds are that something will eventually slip between the cracks when you forget to write down your plans in both. Also, having more than one will take up a lot of your time.

Check out: The Ultimate Guide to College Organization for how I use my planner

4. Keep it with you. During the school year, I always have my planner on-hand. That way, if I get a new assignment, make plans with friends, or have to schedule a doctor’s appointment, I can write it down immediately before I forget.

5. Stick to your plans. Have a rule: if you write it down, get it done. That way, your planner is more than a helpful reminder of what you could have accomplished today: it’s an actual guide to what you will be doing.

6. Plan at the beginning of every week or month. At the beginning of every new week, sit down and write in your activities, classes, and any reminders (call Mom!) for the coming days. I don’t have the time to do this all at once at the beginning of my semester, so doing it on a weekly basis works for me.

7. Use the days-before-it’s-due system. I learned this trick over at Organize My College Life. In your planner, use red pen to mark the day an assignment is due. Write it out in blue pen in the two days ahead; black for three to five days ahead; and green for six to nine days ahead. That way, you will always see assignments coming up on the horizon, and won’t ever be surprised by an essay that’s due tomorrow.

8. Schedule chores. Doing laundry, taking out the trash, you name it. Planning to do this every Sunday will keep your laundry from piling up on the floor, or your bin from overflowing.

Syllabus Tips for Staying Organized in College

9. Save all your syllabi. This is so important. If your professor gives you a guide to what your entire semester is going to look like, don’t lose it.

10. Annotate your syllabi. Mark your syllabus with everything you need to remember. I have a guide to this in my Ultimate Guide to College Organization, so to learn how, click here!

11. Make an assignment list. When I was taking five classes, keeping an assignment list saved my tail quite a few times. Gather all your syllabi together and make one long sheet of every day that an assignment is due. You can see how I do it here, or learn Organized Charm’s great method over at her blog.

Using Daily Tasks to Stay Organized in College

12. Keep to-do lists. I keep a to do list every day. Do it in your planner, on your phone, or over email – the point is, it will help you stay on-track. The Panda Planner has some great to do list features in its daily view.

13. Wake up at the same time every day. Whether you’re a morning glory or a late riser, pick a time to wake up every day and stick to it. Often I find that when I oversleep, I feel that my morning has been “wasted” and I don’t do much work. Waking up at the same time every day will help you avoid this and get into a set schedule.

14. Make your bed when you get up. Making your bed will keep your room clean, and will keep you from crawling back in if you’re sleepy.

15. Have a consistent schedule. Try to keep a daily or weekly schedule that you’ll stick to. I find that I’m a lot less productive when my schedule is all over the place.

16. Figure out your most productive time. Figure out what time of the day you are the most productive. For some people, it’s in the early morning before breakfast; for others, mid-afternoon, or late at night. Find when you get the most work done and try to optimize that time for productivity and work.

17. Stock your backpack. I have a friend who spends 15 minutes a day filling their backpack with what they need to work that day. I find that a great time-saver is to have my backpack always stocked with pens, my planner, and a water bottle. In the mornings, you can slip in your laptop and a notebook and you’re ready to go!

18. Plan your outfit ahead of time. I used to spend forever in the mornings picking my outfit. Now I go to bed with a vague idea of what I’ll wear the next day. It helps me save time in the mornings to know what I want.

19. Clean-desk policy. I admit that I consistently fail at this, but I know that my boyfriend finds it very useful. At the end of every night, try to have a clear desk, with just your computer, lamp, or books on it, and no clutter. It will keep your room tidy and make it easier to find what you need in the morning.

Check out: My College Room Tour to see how I organize my desk

20. Clean-floor policy. Ditto with the floor. Again, this is a weak spot for me, but I try not to have any clutter on my floor during the week so that it is easier to get and find what I need.

21. Spend 5 minutes a day cleaning. Seriously, you will be amazed at what you can do in five minutes a day. When I’m having a hard time staying motivated to keep organized, these few minutes at a time save me from total chaos.

Work Tips for Staying Organized in College

22. Have a system for taking notes. It doesn’t matter what kind you use – Cornell notes, color-coded scribbles, or Word Notebook – just make sure that you have a system and stick to it. It will make it easier to review notes later on.

23. Don’t question and don’t stop yourself while writing. This is how I get my essays done so quickly – don’t worry too much about the quality of your writing while you’re at work. I find that I can hold myself back endlessly by worrying about a single word or sentence. Instead, let go of your inhibitions and don’t be afraid to write a terrible first draft. You can always edit later.

24. Use a timer. Work in bursts of time. Some people swear by 25 minutes; I prefer to work for an hour at a time, and then take a longer break. Either way, using a timer will keep you accountable and prevent you from wandering over to Facebook or Pinterest while you should be working.

25. Work and play in different areas. I heard the following from a nurse: bed should be for the three S’s: sleep, sickness, and sex – not work. Work at a desk or in a library, and reserve your room or bed for hanging out and sleep.

26. Use the 8/8/8 method for balancing your life. I heard this tip from the same nurse. It’s a way to divide your time to be responsible and still relax. Try to sleep for eight hours a day, spend eight working, and eight hours for the rest of your life – time with friends, eating, etc.

27. Set your own deadlines. This has saved me countless times when it comes to writing essays. If you have two essays due on the same day, vow to finish one of them on a different date; for example, a week or three days before it’s due. This will mean that you have to get started earlier, but it also means you will not have to scramble to finish all your work at the same time when your actual due dates come around.

Digital Organization for Staying Organized in College

28. Make yourself a schedule. Making yourself a schedule, even by using Google Calendar and screenshotting it, can be really useful. You get to have a copy of your permanent schedule on hand.

29. Set up email filters. I use Gmail, and I find email filters and tags a great way to organize my emails so that they stay organized without too much work. I use one tab for personal and one for academic, with different tags for different activities and classes. It helps make my inbox feel more manageable.

30. Use SelfControl, or actual self-control, to limit time spent on websites. This app keeps you from accessing websites like Facebook, Tumblr, or Twitter when you should be working. It is free and highly customizable – you can block any website you like.

31. Back up your computer using a hard drive. That way, if it crashes, you won’t lose all your hard work.

32. Disconnect from the internet for a few hours a day. Unplugging is a healthy way to curb stress and keep yourself from wasting too much time on the internet.

Supplies for Staying Organized in College

Check out: The Ultimate Guide to College Organization

33. Give each class a color. Each of my classes gets a distinct and separate color like blue, red, or green. I then match all my binders and notebooks for that class to that color, so that they are easier to find and grab when I am on the go.

34. Keep binders, folders, and/or notebooks for each of your classes. Everyone is different, but I find binders the easiest for most of my classes. Find out which one(s) work best for you and then do your best to keep them organized.

35. Have system for organizing your binders. I love this one by the Holladay Life.

Tips for Keeping Your Room and Desk Organized in College

36. “If you take it out, put it back” rule. This is the easiest way to keep a desk clear.

37. Toss duplicates. You don’t need two staplers, or three rolls of tape. Give one away put it in storage for when your first one breaks or runs out.

38. Keep any “might needs” in your desk drawer, rather than on your desktop. Keep staplers, hole-punchers, etc., in your drawers rather than on the top of your desk. This will help keep your desk neat and organized.

39. Label loose cords. Use masking tape to label your cords with words like “camera,” “iPhone,” etc. This will help you identify them after you forget what they’re for.

40. Label your chargers ends with the same washi tape. I saw this tip on Pinterest and loved it. Using the same washi tape on your cord ends will help you know what to unplug when you’re in a rush. Bonus: it helps when untangling, too!

41.Use a binder clip at the edge of your desk to store your charger ends. I learned this trick over at Instructables and I’ve found it really helpful for not losing my cord ends.

42. Keep a white board with reminders to yourself. I love using my whiteboard as a place for reminders and notes to myself. You can find them pretty inexpensively at your local supply store, or even CVS.

Self-Care Tips for Staying Organized in College

43. Sleep enough. I can’t emphasize this enough. Sleep is so important! Try to get between seven and nine hours of sleep a day, depending on your age and preferences, which will help you stay alert and happy during the day.

44. Meditation/yoga/mindfulness/prayer. Find something that makes you feel connected to yourself or your spirituality. Mental health is so incredibly important, not just for being organized, but for being a balanced and happy person. Take care of yourself!

45. Go easy on yourself. No one is perfect, and it can be incredibly difficult to stay on top of everything in your life. Do your best, but remember if you mess up that it is okay to make mistakes. All that matters is that you are tryin

Study Habits for College Students

It can be difficult to settle into the routine of higher education for the first time or even if you are returning to school, especially when you choose an accelerated curriculum or balance classes with a full-time job. Luckily, old habits and new distractions don’t have to stand in the way of your college degree. Incorporate these top ten effective study habits for college students into your daily routine, and watch yourself blossom into a capable, disciplined college student. They are easy to follow and implement and require only a commitment on your part to follow through.

1. Take & review thorough notes while in class

Whether you’re sitting through a lecture or doing an assigned reading, always take notes. You’ll absorb key terms and ideas more quickly by writing them down immediately. Don’t be afraid to ask classmates for a refresher if you miss a lecture.

2. Eliminate lifestyle distractions

Technology offers unprecedented ways to access new information. However, it also creates distractions that prevent you from concentrating on your research. Stick to academic websites, silence your phone, and turn off your wireless connection as soon as you have enough information to write.

3. Schedule your study time

Instead of squeezing study sessions in between classes, naps, and other responsibilities, treat studying like any other class or commitment. Pick a specific location that’s quiet, peaceful, and will give you plenty of room to work. Then set a specific appointment with yourself each week, and stick to it.

4. Organize your class materials

Instead of keeping one bulky binder or a backpack of loose paper, organize your notes and handouts into separate folders. This makes it easier to find what you need for each exam, keep your homework together, and prevent overwhelming clutter. Color-coding can also help you keep different topics separate.

5. Take every extra opportunity to study

If a professor or TA offers an after-class study session or extra credit opportunity, try to fit it into your schedule. This doesn’t just give you a stronger safety net in case you make a mistake in the future; it also shows your initiative as a student.

6. Take care of yourself first – Get plenty of rest!

Your brain needs to recharge regularly in order to process and absorb new information. Sometimes all-nighters are inevitable, but don’t let it become a habit, because sleep-deprivation can prevent you from learning or thinking critically. Give yourself permission to make up for lost sleep, too.

7. Study with a group or partner

Study groups usually meet before big tests, but many ECPI University students have realized how helpful it is to help one another throughout the school year. You can exchange notes, quiz each other, and most importantly, hold each other responsible for showing up to each session.

8. Exercise to release stress

Instead of succumbing to anxiety or pressure until studying seems impossible, find a productive outlet to express your frustration. Physical activity releases endorphins that reduce stress and depression, and it’s completely free.

9. Take care of yourself first – Eat well

Nutrition plays a huge role in your ability to learn. Instead of depending on sugar and caffeine — and weathering the crashes that follow — drink plenty of water and make sure you get enough fruits and vegetables. A well-rested, well-nourished, hydrated body is capable of staying awake and alert without help from chemicals.

10. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Don’t be afraid to reach out to tutors, professors, and classmates if you think you’re falling behind. Whether you have trouble understanding a new concept or just need help managing your time, college is full of people who know exactly what you’re going through.

ECPI University is a flexible, stimulating learning environment for students of all ages and backgrounds. Take advantage of the support systems and academic resources that we offer, and always look for new ways to improve your time management skills. If you If you are interested in learning more about ECPI University and our accelerated degree programs, contact us TODAY! You can go from Zero to Bachelors in 2.5 years and that could be the Best Decision You Ever Made!

The 4 Reasons You Need a Mental Health Day– And How You Should Spend It!

Ever heard of taking a mental health day? While it seems to be an unfamiliar concept in American culture, it’s gaining more traction as Millennials and Gen-Z, or your generation, enters adulthood.  Since it’s no secret that college students face a significant amount of stress from their day-to-day routine, you – yes, you! – should consider taking a mental health day.

Defined as a day specifically geared toward stress relief and burnout prevention, a mental health day is one of the most foolproof ways to save your sanity before anxiety fully takes over, inevitably destroying everything in its path, including your academic progress. The ideal mental health day will not only give you the space you need to rest up and recharge, but it will also encourage you to re-evaluate your current perspective and refocus your objectives. Plus, it can include a fun activity, too!

How can you tell when you’re in need of a mental health day, and once you’ve got one scheduled, how should you spend that uninterrupted 24-hour block of time? Well, we’re glad you asked. uCribs is here with all the answers to your burning questions, starting with 4 reasons why you should take a mental health day and how to spend it once you’re in the clear.

Reason #1: You’re burnt out.

Burnout poses a real threat to college students. Although it’s become normal – praised, even – to spend endless hours on assignments, serve on multiple club leadership committees, and commit to a demanding off-campus job, moving at the speed of light for months on end will only lead to the dreaded burnout. It may not seem like a big deal now, but burnout goes hand-in-hand with anxiety and depression, which can wreak havoc on your health, your grades, and even your personal relationships. Once you’ve officially reached the point of no return – as in, burnout – it’s crucial that you commit a day, or even a long weekend, to your recovery.

Reason #2: You want to avoid burnout.

You know these feelings all too well: you’re extra tired all the time, but you still force yourself to commit to your strict, and often cramped, daily routine. You’re feeling overwhelmed by your assignments, but you haven’t yet missed a deadline. You’re still clocking in to your college internship three days a week, despite having a million other things on your mind. On the surface, you seem fine – however, deep down, you know that you may not be able to keep up the pace much longer. If you resonate with these words, it’s safe to say that burnout might be just around the corner, and you should probably take a mental health day in order to avoid its aftermath.

Reason #3: You keep getting physically sick.

It’s safe to say that college students are some of the most stressed out people around – and there is a huge body of evidence linking stress and illness. In fact, The American Institute of Stress reports that 77 percent of Americans regularly experience physical symptoms incited by stress. Stress weakens your immune system, robbing your body of its ability to defend against even the most minor of illnesses. Stress can also worsen any of the health conditions you already struggle from, whether it’d be diabetes, depression, or asthma. It just bad news for your health, so if you’ve been fighting the same sinus infection for weeks on end, or you can’t seem to kick that cough once and for all, you might want to consider how much stress you’ve been under lately and schedule a mental health day to relieve this common culprit—stat.

Reason #4: You have personal issues that need attention.

As a college student, it’s easy to feel like your day-to-day life involves enough drama as it is – until a very real personal issue, affecting your health, academic or internship status, or relationship(s) with peers, mentors, friends, or family, surfaces. There are all kinds of personal events that can call for a mental health day, from the illness of a pet to a rough breakup, and everything in between. In these cases, it’s imperative that you address your mental health before it derails your academic experience. Hey, college might be ultra-important, but it’s not as important as your well-being – so, don’t feel bad about taking a day when something personal pops up.

You’re in the Clear – Now, Spend Your Mental Health Day Wisely!

After being cleared for a mental health day, it can be tempting to spend your entire day off shamelessly giving in to your guiltiest pleasures. You know the ones we’re talking about: binge-watching your latest Netflix obsession, scrolling endlessly on social media platforms, or devouring an entire cheese pizza in one sitting. But, hold it right there!  Since you took time away from your regularly scheduled program, it’s important to spend your mental health day wisely and get the most out of your sacrifice. After all, it’s not like you can take mental health days too often, given that you’re a busy college student. So, why not make your day-off really count?

While we’re not suggesting that you stringently schedule your mental health day, you will want to consider what you hope to gain from this day off and decide how you plan to accomplish it. Are you simply exhausted, and in need of an extra day to sleep? Or, are you seriously overdue for “you time,” spent with no one else but yourself? You might even be feeling so overwhelmed that you have no idea what you should do to remedy the situation.

If you have no clear plan for your mental health day, don’t stress yourself out further by overanalyzing what you “should” be doing to make the most of it. Here are a few activities that can ease your restless spirit, no matter what you may be going through:

  • Spend the morning or afternoon at a museum.
  • Squeeze in some exercise – whether you hit the gym or get moving elsewhere.
  • Call an old friend or a family member.
  • Catch up on some sleep.
  • Attend a yoga or meditation class.
  • Complete a DIY project.
  • Go see a movie you’ve been wanting to see in theatres.
  • Soak up the great outdoors at your local park.
  • Journal your thoughts and feelings.
  • Take a short trip – even if you’re heading one town over!
  • Whip up a delicious, nutritious recipe.

Stress is often unavoidable when you’re in college and are expected to keep up with challenging assignments, graduation requirements, extracurriculars, and your own personal life. That being said, it’s extremely likely that you can benefit from your very own mental health day. Instead of suffering in silence, speak up for your personal needs and request a day to break from your busy college life. Trust us, once you realize the power of a good mental health day, you’ll probably want to take them more often – within reason, of course!

8 Alternative Activities To Make The Best Of An Uneventful Spring Break

If Cabo San Lucas isn’t on your spring break agenda, these eight things can be.

Spring has sprung and it is time for that weeklong break from college. But what about the students who will not be traveling to a beach in another state?

Here are eight suggestions for those who plan to have an uneventful spring break.

1. Study, Study, Study

Spring break is a great time to review previous content from class or preview new material that will be covered. Most college students either just completed midterm exams or will be taking them after spring break.

Either way, refreshing yourself on course material will help with retaining information, which is incredibly useful for the final exam season.

Also, for students who are taking full course loads and working part-time jobs or internships, spring break is an opportunity to brush up what you did not have time for during a regular school week. Studying will most likely boost your sense of achievement and your confidence as well. After all, a happy GPA equals a happy(ish) life!

2. Execute Those Backburner Ideas

Whether you’ve got a website you want to launch, a book you want to write or an innovative idea you want to realize, there’s no better time to execute them then spring break. Spring is the season of rebirth and newness, so developing an action plan and hatch your ideas are just the perfect activities if your plan is still empty. 

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If your goal is to develop a sock collection, start sketching and patternmaking. If you’ve been meaning to crack open that self-help book on your shelf, dust it off and read it.

Turning ideas into action and action into manifestation is a very productive way to spend a spring break because it’s highly unlikely that there will be time to do so afterward, and summer is for swimming.

3. Work

College can be the four best years of your life and certainly among the four most expensive ones. Students across the nation sometimes work two jobs just to live comfortably during this financially challenging time.

Of course, that isn’t the case for all students, but everyone can agree that a little extra cash never hurt anyone’s pocket. It comes in handy. If you have a job, there’s plenty of money you could make.

But if not, consider cutting grass, tutoring or helping your roommate revise their resume (they may not pay you, but it’s worth a shot). A week’s worth of work could help out in many smalls ways, such as covering gas or booze at the next tailgate. Also, parents tend to appreciate one less money call or transfer.

4. Have a Staycation

Staycations are underrated but often appreciated once taken. Consider going back to your hometown or exploring new territory in your college city.

Oftentimes, in college, students immerse themselves in on-campus activities and rarely get to explore the actual town. More than likely, there’s an event, festival or celebration of some sort happening near your college campus.

There’s also probably a lot going on in your hometown, especially if you reside in a big city. Websites such as Eventbrite or Ticketfly can help you find different activities to participate in.

Choosing a staycation over a vacation will save a ton of money and travel time as well as allows you to discover new things to do in the place you live.

5. Declutter

The saying “out with the old, in with the new” fits no season better than spring. Flowers are blossoming, dead leaves are gone and everything is simply fresh. For many people, it’s a time to reform themselves mentally, physically and sartorially, and the best way to start is by decluttering. 

If you haven’t worn or used something in the past six months, get rid of it. There’s no room for the new and improved thing if you hang onto every old and tattered thing, including your mentality.

Mental decluttering has the same effects as physical decluttering does, particularly stress and anxiety. Taking the time to write things down and checking tasks off makes a difference in the way you live and process your thoughts. Do yourself a favor this spring break and declutter.

6. Plan and Prepare

Similar to “executing those backburner ideas,” planning and preparing for what’s next is a great way to prepare for the future. With graduate season peeking around the corner, those planning to attend grad school should use spring break for preparations, such as finalizing application materials.

If you have already had an idea of which industry you want to work in, use spring break to reach out to companies for a shadowing or internship opportunities.

Or if you don’t have a plan yet, this break is the time to form one. Planning and preparing ahead of time is extremely beneficial since it provides you with a sense of direction, turning much of our fear of the unknown into excitement and anticipation.

7. Create Original Work

If you aren’t an art or English major, creating original content is probably not an integral part of your course curriculum. Sometimes drawing a stick figure in your notes during an 8 a.m. lecture is as creative as it gets, but expression through art is powerful and extremely therapeutic.

Creating original work is a great start to a very relaxing spring break. The focus and attention that it takes to create something tend to help students cope with the challenges of a collegiate environment.

Additionally, when someone creates an original work, it provides a sense of achievement and ownership. Knowing that your painting, writing, abstract drawing or design is completely yours is empowering and definitely worthy of a part of your spring break schedule.

8. Netflix Your Way Through It

Catching up on a show you’ve been meaning to watch is another good way to spend your spring break. Immersing yourself in a different world provides a sense of escapism that, at this point in the semester, could be much needed yet hard to find.

Healthy binging is totally socially acceptable, so feel free to browse Netflix’s binge-worthy category. For those staying in their college towns for spring break, Netflix has plenty of educational documentaries and original series that will easily ease your feeling of guilty for not studying.

Good luck trying to Netflix your way through spring break without developing too many para-social relationships.