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Tuesday, October 19, 2010

singing the mid-semester blues (or blahs)

challenges come and go constantly in the course of the semester.  things get moving and everyone is finding their rhythm, academically & socially.  it's exciting, even for the non-first year students.  but then, about four weeks into the semester (or sooner) students inevitably realize they will have to "buckle down" and do their work.  by the middle of the semester (six to seven weeks in a 13-week semester), they're [hopefully] into their routine.  

academically, there are consequences to blowing off class and/or assignments.  socially, there can be costs associated with decisions to skip or attend a party.  within the involvement and student employee world (where i meet students most often), the outcome of a bad decision can have an equally large impact.  the cost for missing a shift can be as extreme as losing one's job.  
as we find ourselves in the middle of the fall semester, feeling burdened by commitments (and over-commitment in some cases) we have a choice to make: keep on plugging through or throw our hands up and admit we're in over our heads.  i am speaking to myself as an administrator as much as i am speaking to students, we are likely over-committed, so what should we do?  i've never been good at saying no, which is why i struggle with the overly committed issue repeatedly, but i have learned a few things.

  1. breathe. take a step back from what's overwhelming you and take a few deep breaths.
  2. take a walk. get away from where you often hang out and spend some time outside.
  3. make a list...make multiple lists if needed. list the assignments/projects you have to do. list the commitments to clubs/groups you're a part of. list other things that are stressing you out.
  4. determine priorities. review the list(s) made & decide on what's most important and tackle those things first.
  5. keep moving. don't feel paralyzed by seeing everything spelled out. when you start to feel overwhelmed repeat steps 1 & 2.
if all else fails, start singing!  find your favorite tune(s) of the moment and blast it out if necessary.  yes, i said sing & dance it out!  

happy mid-terms, friends!


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