|More information on stress management can be found at www.counseling.colostate.edu/SMP|
The life of a college student is not always fun and games, especially for those balancing a hectic schedule.
"Many students are involved in activities, have full course loads, work and still squeeze in time for fun," said Linda Stoddard, academic advisor at the Center for Advising and Student Achievement. "Some students underestimate the amount of time courses and extracurricular activities require and when they realize they have overcommitted themselves, it may be difficult for them to give up one of their commitments."
Organization, prioritization, and time management could help students balance their various commitments.
"Students with a heavy load of commitments need to be very organized," Stoddard said. "Using a day planner and sticking to their weekly schedule is vital."
It may be difficult for students to balance a heavy workload because they do not prioritize their commitments and say "yes" to everything, which can become overwhelming, she said.
"Sometimes students place work or outside events ahead of class requirements, which can lead to procrastination and last minute studying – causing a student's grades to suffer," she said.
Stoddard said when a student's classes become their last priority, they have probably taken on more than they can handle.
"Students need to remember that their first priority is class," she said. "I always ask my students about life and remind them that everyone needs time for fun, friends and relaxation to relieve stress, but they also need to make sure they have sufficient time to study."
Time management can be effective in balancing commitments by evaluating how students use their time, setting priorities and focusing on them. The Cooperative Extension Web site offers ways to "achieve more with your time" at www.ext.colostate.edu.
"It's definitely hard to find any free time or time to relax," said Mahli Peregoy, a junior human development and family studies major.
Peregoy is enrolled in 12 credit hours and works approximately 38 hours a week at Ace Hardware. She said most of her free time consists of the 30 to 60 minutes she has before going to sleep.
"I try to spend most of my free time at the library so I can get my homework and studying done," she said. "I like to go out on the weekends, but it takes away from the sleep I need to be getting."
The Stress Management Program (SMP) at the University Counseling Center helps students deal with a busy college schedule.
"The Stress Management Program provides students with the skills to deal with stressors when they occur and to prevent overall stress levels from becoming too high," said Jenifer Thomas of the SMP. "We provide instruction on many different relaxation techniques that can be useful in reducing stress related to exams, schedules and time pressure."
These techniques include breathing, imagery and muscle relaxation. The SMP also teaches students to practice stress-reducing skills such as exercising and relaxing regularly, as well as getting good sleep and nutrition, to keep from becoming overwhelmed.
"I definitely encourage students to take time for themselves in order to manage their stress levels, but I also understand that busy students may not feel they have the time to relax," Thomas said. "Learning a simple relaxation technique, like breathing or imagery, can be a wonderful way to calm down during a busy day. It only takes a few minutes and can be very helpful."