Sunday, August 28, 2011

Increase your efficiency - advice from a graduate

For most adult students, being a full time graduate student is one of many full time roles you fulfill. Most are also full time parents, employees, etc., so it is important to use your study time efficiently. As you embark on your academic journey, take time to reflect on how you learn best. Do you need to study with music or silence? At home, a library, or coffee shop? Take notes or highlight text? Can you block two hours to read and retain material or do you need short bursts of reading followed by another short activity (favorite TV show, cleaning, exercise, for example)?

Sara Jean Ward, Program Coordinator at Area Agency on Aging

Photo by HLS

Friday, August 26, 2011

Overwhelmed? Help dealing with the start of the semester.

I just finished my first week of teaching in the new semester and I could see in various classes that many students feel overwhelmed with the work that awaits. If you are one of those students, here are some strategies to deal with this feeling:

1. Take a deep breath and slow down. Feeling overwhelmed can make us feel frantic and that feeds the anxiety. It's a vicious circle. So, slow down, and pause for a moment.

2. Think of another time when you have felt overwhelmed or anxious about keeping up with work -- chances are you got through it. Remember that success -- the memory will remind you that you can do it.

3. Get organized. Note all of your due dates on a calendar. This will help you distinguish what you need to do right away, what you need to plan for (selecting a topic for a paper, ordering an additional book, etc.), and what you really don't need to think about yet.

4. Now focus on the next week. What is due next week? Focus on the short term and try to put your anxieties about end-of-semester projects and papers on hold. Take it one step at a time, do what needs to be done each week.

You can do this, my friends!

Photo by HLS

Monday, August 22, 2011

Don't Know? Confused? Ask!

A funny thing happens when we go back to school as adults. We expect ourselves to know how to do everything. By that I mean... in every day life, we are accustomed to feeling on top of things, so when we go back to school, we expect the same to be true, that we'll know how to manage all of the technology and administrative processes.

However, for many adult students, school presents new organizational and process challenges. If you are enrolling in college for the first time, you may be unclear as to what offices provide what services. Or if you are going back for a graduate degree, but have been out of school for awhile, you may find that the processes have changed.

So, if you are having any problems or challenges with any aspect of starting your school year -- whether it is registering for classes, changing your schedule, buying books, finding rooms, accessing online tools that your professors are using.... whatever the challenges might be... ask for help. Ask your advisor, or program administrative assistant, or a friendly faculty member, or even another student.

As adults accustomed to feeling on top of these things, we can be self-conscious about asking for help. However, the school year moves quickly and you don't want to lose any time. So, keep in mind that most new students have questions, and reach out for help!

Cheering you on in your work.

Photo by HLS

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Back to school!

Good news! School starts this week -- at least it does for those of us at Carlow.

I'm thrilled to be back. I have done a lot of writing and editing over the summer, but I am totally looking forward to getting back in the classroom.

So, whether you are about to begin a new program or are heading back to class after a short or long break -- or even are simply continuing school from the summer... I'm here to wish you all the best -- great classes, wonderful school colleagues and teachers, and many many great moments of learning!

More soon,

Creative Commons License
The Encouragement Lounge by Harriet L. Schwartz is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.