New Year, Fresh Start


Relax, Renew and Recommit

Yay! The first semester of the school year is finished. What does that mean for you? What have you learned, experienced anew, contemplated during the past four months? Where have your studies taken you academically, socially, spiritually, or even psychologically?

During this brief respite from your academic studies, the four ACE pillars are still applicable in your everyday lives. You may consider the literal aspect of self-managing by taking care of your whole self and recognizing the need to refresh and reenergize. Although activities and responsibilities persist during the hiatus, set aside a moment each day to take a few deep breaths and exhale slowly to calm your mind and body. Sometimes we don’t realize the level of stress we have endured until the source of the stress subsides. A relaxed mind can help ease stress and relieve anxiety; so, breathe deeply, stretch those limbs, take a walk (socially distanced, of course) or have a bubble bath; it will place your body at ease.

With a renewed sense of purpose, reflect on the previous semester, the classes, assignments, and issues deemed successful, as well as those that perhaps did not go as you had hoped. Propose a viable plan for self-correction where you draft a sustainable schedule and maintain it. Our current environment and ability to socialize is slightly different given the pandemic. Connecting with professors and others virtually is not as intimate as a face-to-face meeting, so have your questions and concerns prepared before a meeting. Self-advocate by driving the conversation to include the issues you need to express while listening intently to the professor’s advice and instruction.

As you are mindful of your reasons for pursuing higher education, recommit to your studies, and your goals. Remember, self-directed learning requires action, and any promises to yourself should be specific. One student decided to eliminate the distraction of her phone by turning it off and placing it on the other side of the room during study time. Another student logged the number of hours of screen time on her phone and reduced it from eight hours to three hours a day, while another had a daily routine of exercise. Sometimes, it’s the little things that can make a significant difference. I could present a list of action items here, but it’s probably best that you create your own list to accommodate your style and schedule. The salient issue is that you do recommit to the process.

Before the start of the new semester:

  1. Make time to relax your body, renew your mind, and recommit to your academics.
  2. When it’s time to return to your studies, remember to apply the four ACE pillars as you navigate classes and activities in the Spring semester.
  3. Connect with others as much as is safely possible, determine your source of motivation, and most of all, maintain a growth mindset and believe in yourself and your capabilities.

ACE Coach: Charlene Greene

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