Finishing Strong

Spring Break is coming to an end here at UNLV and that means that those big assignments on your syllabi are going to be coming due sooner than later.  The spring semester often seems more of a sprint than the marathon fall semester and time really seems to fly.  In spite of all the promise of a summer break or an impending graduation, the speed of spring always left me feeling a little dazed and more than a little stressed.  If you can relate to those feelings, here are five tips for handling the stress and getting back in control.

1. Make a plan. Stress and anxiety during the semester often arise from uncertainty and fear of the unknown.  One of the best ways to combat those triggers, just like on any deployment, is to make a plan.  Take time now to review your remaining assignments and other obligations and then write down a plan for getting it all done.  We all know that the only real purpose of a plan is to deviate from it, but we also know that it’s the planning for contingencies that really saves our bacon.

2.  Stay focused.  After the down time of Spring Break, it’s tough to get back into the swing of things and focus on the books.  The weather is great and summer is right around the corner.  Maybe you’re graduating this semester and dreaming about all the free time you’ll have once it’s all over.  Whatever the distraction, realize that you won’t get to your anticipated down time if you don’t put in the effort right now.  We have a solid seven weeks to put in before the semester is over.  Don’t start coasting yet.

3.  Get support.  By now you should know where you stand  grade-wise in each of your classes.  If you’re where you want to be, keep it up!  If not, it’s time to check in with your professors and start to access helpful services on campus.  Check out the free tutoring offered by the Academic Success Center or get help with your papers at the Writing Center.

4.  Find an outlet.  If you let stress build up, it will eventually explode.  Don’t let it get to that point.  When you make your plan, add in time for recreation, exercise or other activities you enjoy.  Since you’re probably very busy, you don’t have to dedicate tons of time to these activities, but a half hour a few times a week can really change your perspective.  Check out the Student Recreation & Wellness Center for group fitness classes or exercise options.  Or, visit the SRWC Relaxation Room and check out for 30 minutes in a massage chair.  Whatever you do, find a way to unwind.

5.  Talk it out.  Just as misery loves company, determination needs support.  Share how you’re feeling with a friend, co-worker or a fellow veteran.  Chances are good your conversation partner has walked in your shoes.  Share your struggles and you’re likely to find support where you hadn’t looked before.

When all else fails, remember that all semesters do eventually end.  You will get your work done and you will find success.  The light at the end of the spring semester tunnel is big and bright.  Walk toward it steadily, with determination and confidence.  On your way, let us know how we can help.