Spring into the semester mentally prepared to tackle your goals

Is your New Year’s resolution to get good grades already seeming like a challenge? Don’t feel defeated by the size of your class or your professor’s track record on giving out C’s. Get mentally prepared now by properly managing your time, stress management and setting goals. It’s a hard knock life out there if you’re unemployed and degree-less, so prepare for the worst before it gets to that point.

“It’s helpful for students to think about what they want to accomplish. They should look at their strengths and weaknesses from the fall and assess the areas where they want to grow and develop,” Counseling and Mental Heath Center Associate Director Jane Bost said.

The best way to start is to look at your grades last semester and see the areas that you excelled in versus where you struggled. To prepare for the semester, students should visualize what they want their semester to look like and set attainable goals to achieve.

“The easiest way to manage your stress is through time management. Manage your time. Separate study time from social time,” Bost said.

Taking classes at UT is hard enough, but poor time management can make your time even more difficult than necessary. Get a planner and keep it with you at all times. This reduces over-commitment, which leads to stress. Then, prioritize events that are more important than others. For example, the big test coming up is way more important than that frat party you’ve been looking forward to.

Allowing yourself enough time to study and focus on school work will help reduce the stress significantly, but don’t forget that seeking support from friends is equally as important.

“Sometimes students need to reach out for help to manage their stress. It helps to talk to someone - a friend, counselor or pastor,” Bost said.

We all need our “me” time, but too much isolation is hard for some to deal with. Talking with friends releases built up stress and emotions and offers an outlet for you. Crying it out is a good stress reliever, but having a shoulder to cry on makes dealing with the situation bearable. If you are not comfortable talking to friends about your problems, writing them out is also a means for releasing your feelings. But, friends can often give you that laugh you needed, but couldn’t quite find under that mountain of stress.

What makes us unique are our different personalities, therefore we all handle stress differently. But, no matter the student, UT has several programs and organizations to help students excel.

“Really reach out and utilize your support systems. We have the Sanger Learning Center, the CMHC and so many great resources on campus for students to get involved,” said Bost.

It is important to take advantage of these centers early in the semester before the support groups fill up.

Experiencing new things is a huge part of growing up, but they are not always pleasant adventures. Managing your stress will keep you calm even when you think your life is slowing falling apart.

Stop yourself, relax and cope with your problems with minimal stress. If you still feel overwhelmed, visit the CMHC website or make an appointment in the CMHC for more tips mentally preparing for the semester. The CMHC also hosts Stress Set towards the end of the semester in the Flawn Academic Center to help students learn how to manage stress in healthy ways.

 “None of us are perfect and none of us can get it straight the first time, that’s normal. Set achievable goals and reward yourself. Learn from your mistakes. Take this semester as an opportunity to grow and learn from your mistakes,” Bost said.