3 Ways Students Can Be Stress-Free and Successful in 2023

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Article By: Dr. Mona Mallery

There is no doubt that stress is a part of life. Stress can either be good or bad. Good stress prepares your mind and body for life’s challenges, while bad stress taxes your mind and body in negative, often harmful ways which may attribute to anxiety.

Both stress and anxiety can make the college experience unpleasant and difficult if not addressed appropriately. Most college students have many responsibilities, such as taking multiple classes, caring for family members, their own children, volunteering and/or working, pursuing hobbies, maintaining a social life and so much more. Therefore, going to college can add an additional layer of responsibility, and possibly, additional stress towards your success if not handled correctly.

Personally, I can recall experiencing stress while attending college full-time and working. I worked as a public high school teacher at a huge, comprehensive campus in Los Angeles. While pursing my graduate degree, I attended college at a small satellite campus with a cohort of other students once per week. Ultimately, my stress level increased as the workload from school and my responsibilities at work had an impact it had on both my mind and body. I often had difficulty breathing, difficulty sleeping and weight gain.

I was able to successfully complete my degree and maintain a productive career. So, how can this blog post help you? Well, after researching successful strategies to manage stress and reflecting upon my college experience, these are the 3 ways (A, B, C) in which you can ring in the new year by being successful and stress-free in 2023.

A. Don’t Wait Too Late, Do Work Beginning Week 1

Stanton University has 10-week quarter courses. Unlike the semester system or trimester system in college, the quarter system goes by much faster and generally requires more work as the weeks are shorter than the semester and  trimester systems. It may seem like 10 weeks (roughly two months) may not go as fast, but do not be fooled! Think about it (and be honest), have you ever delayed school work until the last minute? For instance, you realize it is now Week 5, and Midterms are just around the corner! Then, the panic sets in (also a sign of stress and anxiety). You hastily begin to try and catch-up with Weeks 1 thru 4; maybe you’ve emailed your professor hoping they would understand your dilemma or, unfortunately, you may have just decided to quit altogether because you realized it isn’t too realistic to complete weeks and weeks of work within a few days. Would any of these scenarios apply to you or maybe to someone you know? Talk about stressing out!

To be successful and stress-free in 2023, start with understanding the University’s schedule and system. The quarter system does require discipline and determination to successfully complete a course, without overwhelming or stressing oneself out. Therefore, to be stress free in 2023, begin working on your class schedule Week 1. You can do it and I know you can! So, begin working on Week 1 as soon as you can. Professors want to help you and they really want you to succeed. By the way, I always get a warm, fuzzy feeling deep inside my heart (not to mention a few happy tears) when I see my students prepare for graduation. All professors want this for you. You can succeed. See yourself walking on stage and receiving the diploma you’ve worked so hard to earn. Begin by doing work immediately and staying on top of your assignments, discussions, and course readings.

B. Reach Out Early to Your Professors

The old adage “life happens” is so true. Life circumstances occur with college students as it does with full-time working professionals, parents and pretty much anyone around the world. Life circumstances may or may not be good, there are times when it can get down-right stressful. So, what do you do when you realize life may impact your college experience? I mean, who do you call? Nope, it would not be Ghostbusters! Instead, reaching out and contacting your course professor is probably the single most important thing you can do when you find that you may have an issue. As I’ve mentioned before, your professors want to help you succeed. Professors may provide you with their office hours, emails, personal appointment times and other ways in which you can contact them. So, take advantage of this valuable time to seek the help you need, when you need it.

Don’t forget to reach out early or as soon as you can when you need help otherwise, it may appear that your intentions aren’t so forthcoming and honest. For instance, if you find yourself struggling in a course the very first day, don’t wait until Finals week to email your professor! Again, your professors are here for you and happy to help you succeed. Honestly, being in contact with your professors can be super helpful and do more for you than just help you with the  course.

In fact, Rebecca Danielle Lidenbach (The Professional Collegiate, 2022) reminds us that “Reaching out to them [professors] isn’t annoying or a hassle – it’s their job to listen to students and help them learn!” Click here to read more about talking to your professors in college so you can strive to be stress-free and successful in 2023!

C. Control Your Time, Don’t Let It Control You

So, you’re probably wondering…is this another section where I need time management?  Well, technically yes. But, in terms of how making this new year work for you when you are in control of your time and no one else, I really mean it! Read on and check this out for yourself!

We all know there are 24 hours in one day (maybe you wish it was longer or even shorter) either way, it is only 24 hours.

This means you have these hours to do what you want with it, so it works for you. When you control your time, you feel less stressed out because you are doing it your way, and this is always better than someone telling you what to do. Okay, so then reality kicks in. What is really good for you? Do you know how to prioritize and manage time wisely enough to be successful and stress-free in 2023? Well, if you are in college and taking classes, it is good for you to set aside time to succeed in your courses so you can eventually strut and swagger yourself to graduation!

So, what does it take? Here are 3 action steps you can start today to control your hours in a day, so you’ll be stress free in 2023:

1. Do What You Love First!

Everyone has things they either love to do or would prefer to do. For some people, it may be baking cookies, going to the gym, taking a walk, or watching your favorite TV show just to name a few things. In other words, do what you love first! In doing so, it can help de-stress and take your mind off things that cause you worry and may just help you relax. Although, you will need to be careful as things we love to do can sometimes keep us distracted from our education.

Keep the things you love to do within reason, and you will do just great. For example, I enjoy coming home after work and just watching TV with my flavored vanilla coffee creamer and a blueberry scone. Well, as you can imagine I can get pretty comfortable doing this for hours, maybe helping myself to another scone! Therefore, I will commit to only 30 minutes, so I do not get too distracted (and I don’t eat the whole box of scones). So, if you take a break which you love doing, be mindful to watch your time. So, take the necessary break you need to prepare for deep learning and studying, learn more about the wrong and right kind of breaks and click on the link to learn how the wrong breaks may have you Googling cat memes for hours.

2. Get Creative with Time… Use Tomatoes (you read this right!)

Okay, let’s start with a hypothetical situation. It is the weekend and you’ve worked hard all week long. You also know that you have a major project due the upcoming week. You have been doing really well because you’ve contacted your professor (good for you) when you needed help, so you are feeling pretty confident. Of course, it is the weekend, and you want to have fun and relax, but you also know that you must complete this project for next week. So, what do you do? Well, let’s start with taking control of your time and managing it, much like a superhero!

You already know there are 24 hours in day. Think about it. Will you sleep in late since it’s the weekend? Do you have a weekend job? Or, will you do something you love first…like going to the gym or maybe heading over to your favorite Starbucks and just chill? Whatever it is you decide to do, you must account for that time. In other words, how many hours will you sleep in late that Saturday morning or get shredded at that gym, even that latte, how many hours will you spend at Starbucks sipping that latte and scrolling through cat memes?

So, let’s say you’ve determined to spend 2 hours on whatever Saturday morning task you have in mind, now, comes the time to determine what other priorities you have that weekend. Will you be doing laundry? Grocery shopping? Whatever it is… ask yourself if it can wait. If your priorities cannot wait, then you will need to control this time too. Finally, after you thought about what you want to do and what you need to do, now you can focus on how much time you have to finish that project so you can do your best and turn it in on time. Now, there are a couple really cool tools that even superheroes use to help them out! I mean, even the strongest and smartest superheroes want to be stress-free and successful in 2023!

One of my most favorite techniques, which I’ve begun to use myself personally (yes, it’s true), is called the Pomodoro Technique.

“One day we will be more creative, more productive and yet more relaxed.”

-Francesco Cirillo

The “pomo who?” you might be thinking! Yes, it is a really famous technique that uses tomatoes (nope, not real tomatoes) that I am sure you will find very helpful. By the way, there are other time-management techniques and strategies we will check out in another blog post soon. But, for this one, check out the YouTube video below to see how the Pomodoro Technique can help you manage your time so you’ll be well on your way to be stress-free and successful in 2023.

3. Get Some More ‘Shut Eye’ and Sleep On!

Sleep is powerful. Think about it. Have you ever been up all night? Probably you just couldn’t sleep, or you may have stayed out too late partying all night? Well, how did you feel the next day (honestly)? You were most likely tired, may have had a difficult time concentrating or you noticed your thinking was a bit “cloudy” and unclear, or you had an urge for even more caffeine and not-so-healthy food choices. If any of this sounds familiar your body and mind was lacking sleep. So now compare that to a good night’s rest, of let’s say 7 to 8 hours of sleep (this may be different for some people); nevertheless, think of how you felt the next day with the proper ‘shut eye.’ Were you energized, focused and productive? I’m sure you had coffee (for the coffee drinkers out there), but you probably didn’t feel you needed to drink endless cups to just stay awake.

In fact, you may have looked out your car window towards someone dozing off or closing their eyelids really slowly, as if their eyes were rolling back! This is just lack of sleep when you see this, it is also extremely dangerous for that driver and those on the road. For this reason, sleep is powerful to both the mind and body. In fact, according to the National Institutes of Health [sleep] “affects almost every type of tissue and system in the body – from the brain, heart,  and lungs to metabolism, immune function, mood, and disease resistance.” To find out more about the importance of sleep, its stages and even tips on getting some good shut eye, read more from the National Institutes of Health and their findings on this powerful bodily function we call sleep!

Now, whether you are taking courses for Winter quarter or waiting for either Spring or Fall, this new year 2023 is yours to be stress free! Go ahead, review your course syllabus, find your Professor’s contact information, and send an email to introducing yourself and share what you’re looking forward to learning (or what you’ll probably need help with.) Next, you’re ready to prepare your study schedule, make sure to include things you love to do on break, give the Pomodoro technique a try for maximal studying time and, most of all, don’t forget that all important sleep, where you’ll wake up energized, refreshed, and ready to do it all over again the next day while you focus on being on stress-free and successful in 2023.

Happy New Year, Stanton University!