Monthly Archives: March 2013

Managing March Madness

tomorrow

We are at the halfway point in the semester, so summer break isn’t that far off! With that in mind, how do you feel about your current position in your classes?  Do you find yourself struggling with managing your free time?  Welcome to the club!  People of all ages have trouble managing their free time, so you are not alone.  Become aware of how you manage your time by reviewing the questions below.

  • Do you find yourself checking your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. during time you planned to be studying?
  • Does your schedule reflect the important things you want to get done?
  • Do you consistently find it difficult (or impossible) to meet your scheduled deadlines?
  • Are you constantly late for class, work, etc.?
  • Is procrastination your middle name?

march-madness

If you have answered yes to any of these questions; then you probably have some difficulty managing your time.  No worries, here are a few of our favorite time management tips to help you finish your semester strong!

1.   Use a planner.  Get a schedule book for all of your activities (academic, social, etc.), but make sure that you aren’t using multiple schedules at once.  You should be sticking to one master schedule.  You can easily miss something if you write things down in multiple areas.
2.    Create a daily “to do” list.  Each day, you should write down what you need to accomplish in the order that you need to do it.  After you finish each thing on the list cross it off; this will give you a sense of accomplishment and help keep your daily goals in sight.
3.    Differentiate between flexible and inflexible time.  Inflexible time is when there are mandatory activities scheduled like class and work.  Your study time should also be considered inflexible time.  Your flexible time is for activities that can be shifted around if something pops up.  Also make sure that you aren’t overscheduling inflexible time throughout your day, because you will need time for unexpected issues and personal time to relax and have fun.
4.    Free time can work against you.  Having too much free or flexible time in your schedule can set you up for failure.  It is easier to procrastinate if you have large chunks of unscheduled time.  You’ll find yourself saying things like “I have time to do that later” and then later turns into midnight before the assignment is due.  Set yourself up for success and balance your time so that you can be more effective at achieving your goals.

Want to learn more about how you spend your time?  Check out this activity!

Try me out!

Feel free to stop by the Academic Achievement Center anytime to let us know your favorite time management techniques and to get more helpful hints for a successful semester.

Jeremy Boettinger- Academic Achievement Center

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You Don’t Have to be Sick to Get Better

“I thought about coming in lots of times, but I thought my problems weren’t serious enough to talk about in counseling or that I’d be wasting time your time that could be better used by someone else.”

As a psychologist in the Counseling Center, I probably hear some version of this phrase from roughly half the students I meet with for the first time.  Whenever I ask about this hesitation, I often find out that because the student isn’t failing classes, feeling overwhelmed or out of control, or feeling depressed to the point of having some suicidal thoughts, the student doesn’t think that whatever is feeling problematic rises to the level of needing counseling.  Whether this is a function of a reduced, but still present, stigma surrounding seeking mental health services or perhaps some lingering skepticism/curiosity about what actually happens in The Big White House (Glen Esk), let me share with you the response I give after hearing these fears:

If it’s important to you, then it’s worth talking about.  You don’t have to be sick to get better.

There is no universally accepted threshold or measuring stick that will let you know that you need counseling.  In fact, if you have ever been curious about counseling but for whatever reason you have held off, I would challenge you to approach counseling from a position of using rather than needing counseling.  While it’s true that a number of students appropriately and effectively use our services to get connected and receive treatment for serious mental health issues, many of the 1500 students who used our services last year were using counseling as a way to continue growing and improving their lives rather than trying to “solve a problem.”

There is nothing magical or mystical about the work that happens in Glen Esk (although many of us wish we had secret powers – for me it’s a tossup between telekinesis and time travel).  Some students fear that if they come in for an initial interview (called an intake) that the counselor is going to push them to reveal some deep secret or troubling piece of their personality – that’s just not how it goes.  What actually happens is typically a three-part process:

First, you schedule an appointment, show up, and fill out some paperwork that helps you think about how counseling might be useful and assists us in formulating ideas about how we might be helpful.

Next, you meet with the counselor for the intake meeting, typically lasting 40-45 minutes.  This consultation often feels like an intimate interview of what your life experiences have been with the intent of helping the counselor get to know you and your goals as best as one can within a 45 minute window.  Many students report that even after this one meeting they felt understood and like they are able to identify strengths and stuck points that they can start working with in their day-to-day life.

The third step is identifying ways to put action to your goals – whether that’s getting involved with individual or group services at TUCC, connecting with opportunities on campus, or finding helpful resources in the community.  That’s it.

Thriving at Towson (and beyond) happens most successfully when you truly know your values, articulate clear goals, and engage in behavior that is consistent with those goals and values.  This reads as something simple in text, but can be difficult in practice.  Most of the work we do with students at TUCC is relatively short-term and based around your goals.  Students looking to do some life-hacking or just to improve their day-to-day lives often use our services in some of the following ways (the YouTube clips should give you idea of what I mean):

  • Discover passions/career paths
  • Improve study habits
  • Explore personal values/beliefs
  • Learn how to accept yourself and to love your body
  • What am I looking for?  Why?  How?
  • Develop stronger coping tools
  • Figure out why I have been “feeling a bit off”
  • Building the road map for “where do I go from here?”
  • Receive feedback from someone who really wants to “get” you
  • Take an hour out of my week to check-in with myself and ask, “how ya doin?”

If you’ve used or are using our services at TUCC and found it useful and think someone else might benefit – tell them about your experience!  If you’ve been on the fence, I hope that you’ll give yourself permission to take a small risk and embrace that you don’t have to be sick to get better and take a little time this semester to check-in with yourself.

Nathan Sharer
The Counseling Center

Visit our website to learn more (Website: http://www.towson.edu/counseling/).
Follow us on Twitter:  https://twitter.com/TU_CC
Facebook:  http://www.facebook.com/TowsonCC

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