2013 has arrived, and along with that, so has the second semester of college…cue the sighs and groans. I know how you all are feeling; I would love to soak up a little more relaxation time as well. But reality is going to hit with a thud this week because my schedule this semester is pretty unforgiving. Not only is it the start of new classes but dance team practice and multiple sorority events have crammed every minute of my first weeks back at school. While I’m really excited to get back into the swing of things and be reunited with great friends, I know that black cloud of stress is looming overhead, just waiting to devour me.
Every year I make a resolution to keep things on an even keel so that I don’t get so stressed (those who know me well know that “stressed” becomes one of my go-to moods during busy weeks). This year I want to actually achieve this goal. So I’ve developed an acronym, which will be my motto for the upcoming semester: P.A.S.S., which stands for Plan, Activate, Socialize, Succeed. While my new motto might not bring about a totally “stress free” semester, it’s sure to alleviate some of the craziness and lead to a more balanced semester.
Here’s how to PASS:
Plan: If you’re like me, your planner is your life. I would lose my mind if I lost my planner! Employing a well-organized planner has helped me tremendously throughout my college career. If you don’t already have a planner, I highly suggest getting one, and this is a great time to do so with the start of the New Year! I use a monthly/weekly planner, so that each day has it’s own separate area, but I can also plan for several weeks in advance. When something comes up – an event, a test, even just a reminder – write it down! To start the semester on the right track, transfer everything from your syllabi – the tests, papers and reading assignments – directly into your planner. Carry your planner everywhere you go so that you can always write in it. Now, I may be a bit of an organizational nerd but one thing I’ve learned so far in my brief college career is that proactive planning is key to a successful semester!
Activate: Staying active is important to not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. Physical activity not only relieves stress, but it also helps you sleep better and keep your weight in check. Find something at your school that you love to do, whether it’s a team or club sport, or even just going to the campus recreation center. I have been a dancer since I was three so I “activate” through my college dance team, the Texas State Strutters. Multiple weekly practices and workouts have helped me stay healthy and in shape, and I’ve made wonderful friends along the way. We also have an awesome campus rec center, which I’m bound and determined to use more of this semester (and yes, it’s in my planner). Bottom line is that any physical activity at all is better than nothing, because as my mom always says, “When you’re moving, you’re improving!”
Socialize: Great friends can truly get you through anything, even the stresses of a busy semester. Make time in your busy schedule for quality time with your friends, whether it’s a movie night or going out on the town. However, this is where balance and moderation come into play. You need to balance the time spent having fun with the time spent working hard. There will be plenty of nights out that you’ll miss because you need to stay in and study. But once that test has been taken or that paper has been written, reward yourself with some fun time and enjoy the social activities that college life has to offer. You’ll look back on those fun times fondly, and even more so if you’ve balanced your time successfully!
Succeed: Speaking of success, I believe that all of the above will lead to a successful semester for anyone who truly follows through with it. I’ll be going on this adventure right along with you. So let’s make it a goal to PASS this semester and eliminate as much stress as we can. Happy 2013 and good luck to us all!