Even though I’ve been graduated from college for a little over a year now (omg), I still reminisce on all the wonderful memories I made throughout college. But I also haven’t forgotten the stress that came along with school. My senior year, I balanced 5 classes (18 credits), a part time serving job, an internship that required me to work at least 20-25 hours a week, a social life and sometimes sleep…if I was lucky.
Not all of my 4 years during college were this hectic, but being somewhat good at time management definitely helped me throughout my academic years. Although I had a lot on my plate, people wanted me to do more. I was constantly pulled in so many different directions. Do you want to know the two secrets to managing stress and having a balanced life?
- Say no
- Ask for help
Say no, seriously. Just because your plate can technically hold more, doesn’t mean you should pile on responsibilities until you can’t breathe. Prioritizing is key and taking things one step at a time is very important to managing stress. You also need to make time for things other than academics. Time with friends and time for yourself are equally as important.
For example, time with my friends was very important to me. I knew that after college, we’d all move our separate ways. While I am still close to a handful of them, it’s not a secret that it’s hard to make time to see each other in person. So during my last year of school, I’d sacrifice studying for a class that was COMPLETELY irrelevant to my degree, to spend quality time with my friends.
^ I feel like that sounds like really bad advice… I’m not saying neglect your school work, I’m just saying when it comes down to it, do what you want to do. You’re an adult, you should know what you can and cannot handle. I wasn’t skipping studying for my midterm or final exam that would make me fail the freaking class. – Just for the record, school was very important to me, but grades we’re not my main priority. I was focused on networking and improving my social skills and learning skills that I could take out into the real world (My hospitality degree greatly allowed me to do this, go GV)
Ask for help!! This is very important. I’ve always been independent, I do things on my own, I don’t need anybody, that type of attitude. However, I’ve learned through internships and my current position, that asking for help doesn’t make you incapable or weak, it makes you smart.
Asking for help when you really need it shows that you’re aware you have a task/deadline, you have a lot on your plate and you don’t want to drop the ball by spreading yourself too thin. Trust me, if you’re in a college course and you’re failing or on a downward spiral, go to your professor’s office hours (yes, I actually went to those) and ask for help!!! (Not 3 hours before the final, FYI. That only worked for me like once, and I don’t recommend it)
Managing stress and having balance in my life definitely has become a lot easier for me as I’ve gotten older. Along with learning to say no and asking for help, there were a few other things that have helped me cope with stress and not let it take over my life.
- Confidence – This is definitely something I learned my junior year abroad in Cannes alongside my favorite professor and some of the best girls I’ve ever known. Sometimes I would catch myself in situations and I’d think to myself “This is crazy, I am in WAY over my head, I cannot do this.” After that trip, I’d be in the same situations and my thoughts changed to “Okay, this is still crazy… but I’m obviously here for a reason, if I can’t do something, I will act like I can, until I figure it out, then I’ll go from there.) I honestly just started to trust myself, and I really was more capable than I gave myself credit for.
- Make a list – I said it once, and I’ll say it again. Making lists make goals so much more attainable in my mind. Being able to break down what may seem like a huge task into smaller steps makes it more manageable. More manageable = less stress. Also, being able to cross something off the list is fun. It’s a tiny victory, you guys know I like to celebrate tiny victories, see this post.
- Cry – I’m not kidding. I always cry, I’m pretty sure I cried at a Culver’s commercial once. There were horses and children; I don’t know it made me cry. But anyways, don’t bottle these feelings up. Crying relieves stress for me. Go ahead, ugly cry, get it all out, then try and move on as best as you can. Whenever I want to keep crying, I remind myself that I’m wasting energy that could be used on getting the task done that I’m crying over!! Don’t get this bullet point confused with wallowing for weeks and feeling sorry for yourself, please. Again, wasted energy.
I know stress can be a huge barrier for some people and anxiety and other things come into play as well. I know confidence doesn’t happen over night, but I hope that you know you are stronger than you think and stress can only have as much of an effect on your life as you let it. School and grades and college are important, but nothing is the end of the world, I promise. Your happiness is just as important as grades or tests or anything along those lines so please do not sacrifice one over the other.
Balance is important people! Study for tests and hangout with your friends until 2am and drink coffee and drink margaritas.