When I finished student teaching in the fall, I thought my last two quarters at DePaul would be a breeze. Thinking that taking three classes, instead of six or seven as in previous years, would be a piece of cake, I picked up extra shifts at my work, agreed to more babysitting gigs and committed myself to maintaining a strong GPA through the end of this year. Now almost done with the quarter, I’m realizing that I was very wrong! Though I am still managing to get all my work done, it has been a real challenge to keep up with my various jobs (four, to be exact!) and still make time to relax and see my friends. I think it’s pretty common for college students to overwork themselves, which is why I want to share a few coping skills that have been working for me in dealing with the stress of college.
The first and most important thing I’ve been doing to keep myself afloat is getting enough sleep at night. I have heard horror stories of my peers who have procrastinated so much that giving up a night of sleep is their only way to get work done. THIS IS BAD. Even if I haven’t finished my work for the day, I always make a point to get at least seven hours of sleep at night and wake up earlier if necessary.
Exercising has also been a saving grace for me these last few weeks. Regardless of how much work I have to do, I try my hardest to get to the Ray Meyer Fitness Center at DePaul at least three times a week. Even if I only have time for a quick run or weight lifting session, getting my body moving makes me feel empowered and motivated to get things done.
Though it may not be the healthiest coping mechanism, food helps me get through all of life’s challenges. Often times I’ll set a goal – such as, get all of my homework due Monday done by Friday afternoon – and if I do it, I get a pizza. Who wouldn’t do homework in exchange for pizza? There is nothing more satisfying than a big slice of pepperoni pineapple from Renaldi’s or a massive plate
of beef Pad Thai from Noodles in the Pot after a long week of online quizzes,
discussion posts and readings. Side note: these foods are more satisfying if I
eat well during the week - something I have been striving to do since the
beginning of the New Year!! The addition of a Whole Foods with a gigantic salad
bar on DePaul’s campus has been a dream-come-true for my waist line…
Lastly, my friends are crucial in minimizing the stress of
school. Doing homework with my best friend Kelsey has been a major factor in my
ability to keep up with my classes. Even though our assignments are always
drastically different, it’s still fun to celebrate the completion of a task
with a high-five or another cup of coffee. (Coffee and College go hand-in-hand
for me. Addicted? Maybe. Necessary? Yes.)
One of the major lessons that I have learned this year is
that my education needs to come first. College is becoming more and more
expensive each year, and though DePaul offers great scholarships, student loans can still
be scary! Have bills to pay or enjoy having money for meals, concerts and
experiences? Me too! Working is important for so many college students – myself
included – but never forget that college is for learning first. Enjoy your time
as a student; wherever you end up, never let work negatively interfere with
your success in college.