The fall semester is finally here: new friends, new classes, and new school supplies. Unfortunately, you might be adding “new stress” to that list. So what can we do to make this school year a great one? We’ve got 5 tips to help you do your best and reduce stress this year.
Make a planning system.
Whether you use a bullet journal, a paper planner, or your phone to jot down notes, it’s a good idea to have a planning system. You’ll have a lot to keep up with- from school assignments to work hours- so find which system helps relieve your stress and use it!
As tempting as it is to stay up all night chatting with your roommates, your body will appreciate you more if you get 6-8 hours of sleep instead. Plus, your brain may remember more from your study session if you get a proper amount of sleep.
No, really, it’s okay to ask where Cobo is, or how to use Paw Print, or what your professor meant in that last lecture. Union employees are always happy to help you and point you in the right direction- and chances are, your fellow students are, too.
Remember your purpose.
God is still in control, even through stressful times and bad situations. Pick up the Word regularly, and get involved in a local church, a prayer group, and/or a mentorship with a trusted advisor. There’s so much more to life than that next test. God has a purpose for you!
Actually use the library.
We’re more than just a study space! We have tons of books and articles that you can use for research and class assignments. Once you graduate, you won’t have unlimited access to these resources, so make the most of it while you can!
Are you feeling a little discouraged by the winter weather? Has a mountain of homework got you down in the dumps? Take heart! February 17 is Random Acts of Kindness Day. We all know that doing something kind for another can uplift our own spirits. Why not consider brightening someone’s day right here on campus with one of the ideas from the list below?
- Swipe for the person behind you in line at Cobo. Chances are you’ve done this before – we all have that one roommate who always forgets her ID or that senior friend who’s perpetually stressed and out of meal swipes. This time, try doing it for a total stranger!
- Send a note of encouragement to a friend or acquaintance’s UU mailbox. A Scripture verse, a humorous poem, or a letter reminding the person of something they’re excelling at – all would be wonderful to find in your box on a wintry February day. This is easy (and free!) to do – campus mail doesn’t have to be stamped. Simply place it in the drop in the SUB hallway.
- Do the dishes for your roommate. That one roommate who’s struggling through the busiest semester of her college career – she might appreciate it if her sink full of dirty plates and mugs disappeared mysteriously. She never even has to know…
- Offer someone free tutoring help. You don’t have to be perfect at a subject to lend a hand with homework. Know of a classmate who’s struggling through Statistics or blundering in Biology? Maybe that’s your strong suit, and maybe this is your chance to practice a random act of kindness. Just make sure your help is welcomed first!
- Buy a coffee for a friend who’s studying in the Logos. Some afternoons you sit on the first floor of the library, bent over your Chemistry textbook, and hold up your eyelids because they stubbornly decide to close on you. “I can’t spend five dollars on a coffee this week. I’m broke!” you tell yourself. If you notice an acquaintance who’s in this situation, escort them into Modero and tell them to pick out a warm and caffeinated beverage – it’s on you.
- Bake cookies and leave them on each doorstep in your building. Note: since some people may view unidentified cookies with suspicion, you might want to include a note explaining that you are one of their building neighbors and encouraging them to share the cookies with a friend, creating a ripple of kind acts.
- Help someone tote their belongings across campus. For some students, their parking space seems a mile away from their dorm. If you notice someone struggling with suitcases or groceries, see if they’d like an extra pair of hands.
- Give a car-less individual a ride to Walmart. Not all Union students have vehicles, and north Jackson is not exactly designed to be pedestrian-friendly. If you know a stranded freshman desperate for groceries, why not kindly offer to be their chauffeur?
- Appreciate a professor. Even scholars with doctorates need acts of kindness! A simple card or email to a favorite prof could mean more than you’d imagine. Tell them why you appreciate them, what you love about their class, or simply one way they’ve helped you in your walk with God.
- Pray for a friend or classmate who’s struggling. A Cobo swipe or a chocolate chunk cookie can go a long way toward making someone’s day better, but for those dealing with stress, chronic illness, or even mental health problems, random acts of kindness are like putting a Band-Aid on a deep wound. Remember, prayer is an act of kindness, too. Even if the person never knows you’re lifting them up to the Lord, your intercession could be the kindest thing you can do.
Which random act of kindness will you perform this month? You might find that being extra kind brings you so much joy you try to do it all year long!
*post written by Danielle Chalker