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The end of the semester produces several challenges and stressors. The weather is warmer, days are becoming longer, the attention spans of students are becoming shorter. I admit to being one of the many students whose attention span diminishes. I find myself daydreaming about my exciting summer vacation plans and spending less time focusing on final projects and assignments. I end up forcing myself to focus on my priorities: completing the projects and assignments thoroughly to result in great grades. Making time for my academic priorities and time for fun are crucial, so here are some of the things that help me accomplish this. 

1- Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is a beautiful thing” . I am one of the countless students who have “pulled all-nighters” to get a project done at the last minute or have stayed up all night stressing about an exam or presentation. Lack of sleep leads to lack of functioning and concentration. The brain needs rest along with our bodies. I have learned to not procrastinate my school work and make time to do assignments and study at reasonable hours. Getting at least eight hours of sleep will result in your mind and body thanking you.

2- Eating Three Healthy Meals

Students who are full-time and who also have jobs find microwavable meals and fast-food meals quick and easy; the meals require less time to prepare. Although these meals are convenient, the outcomes are unhealthy lifestyles and bodies. My experience of this unhealthy lifestyle was gaining weight, high cholesterol, my doctor putting me on medications, and always feeling tired. Learning to cook and prepare healthy meals will help in losing weight and acquire having a new skill. Do not skip breakfast, lunch nor dinner. All three meals are important.

3- Create a Schedule

Planning my days, weeks, and months ahead of time has aided me in feeling less overwhelmed. A planner has been one of the best purchases in my academic life. I write down every assignment, exam and project on their due dates in my planner. I will not forget any academic priorities. I have been able to make time for academic work and make time to see friends and family and stay sane.

4- Avoid Procrastination

I confess to being one of the worst offenders in procrastination. I have waited until the last minute to write essays and complete projects. I still struggle with this bad habit. The routine of putting an assignment off until the next day becomes addicting. I have been furious with myself with this routine and habit. I would tell myself, “If only I had one more day.” Doing a little bit of work each day is better than jamming many hours’ work the night before the due date.

5- Exercise

Exercising at least four times a week from half an hour to an hour not only aids in losing weight, but also gives a boost in energy and releases endorphins to decrease stress levels. I have a gym membership and a trainer. I do at least ten minutes of cardio to warm up before my appointment with my trainer. He (the trainer) then has me do workouts for my legs, arms and core body. I have not only lost weight but have also become stronger. My stress is relieved for the day.

6- Ask for Assistance

Whenever I have struggled with a class, essay or project, I have asked for help right away. I speak to my professors and make plans for improvement. Professors want all of their students to succeed. All of my professors have been approachable and willing and content to answer any questions I have. In the past I have sent drafts of essays to professors to provide feedback. I improved my essays and received A’s.

7- Remember Your Goals

Remember why you are at NMSU and your career goals. Remember that your hard work will be worth receiving your goal for your dream career. Envision yourself in the career you are chasing and remind yourself that your hard work in college will be worth having a job you love. I envision myself as a writer for a nonprofit organization.

I am a Graduate student at New Mexico State University (NMSU) majoring in Rhetoric and Professional Communication.  I have a Bachelors in Women's Studies and a minor in English from NMSU. 
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