Keep sane in the membrane


Photo by Peter Alfred Hess

Tassy Payne, Managing Editor

The first semester is here and whether it’s a their first year or if they’re a returning student, it’s not too late to get in the right state-of-mind.

To avoid the mental clutter, overthinking and panicking, here are some tips students can use to mentally prepare for the semester.


Get organized

Whether a student is full time or part time and working on or off campus, making a schedule is one of the best things to do to be prepared for the semester. When receiving a syllabus from each class, pay attention to the due dates and when big tests are. Take those things from the syllabus and make an outline of events such as when assignments are due, when tests take place, what day and time classes are, what time work is and when other events in your life take place. If possible, try to create a schedule without conflict.

Ethan Miller, a music business senior, said scheduling everything in his life without conflict helps him so he can be prepared with a bit of flexibility as things come up during the semester. Anything can happen, so it’s better to be prepared.

After mapping everything out, write it down. Whether in a planner, sticky notes or a to-do list. Write it on something that will stick out so it will help you remember what and when something has to get done.

Lizzy Southard, an IU Southeast graduate in international studies, said buying a planner and filling it with important dates from her syllabus kept her from feeling overwhelmed. Southard said she was able to mark fun events on or off campus that she said helped her get excited for the year to come.

“I have to thank the inventor of sticky notes because they are the reason I survived my senior year,” Southard said. “A dry erase board helped me keep up with my work, class, and RA schedules and figure out when I could have some down time.”

Fayona Stewart, a sophomore studying special education, said she uses a planner to help her keep track of work, classes, quality time with others and time for herself. As a new mentor for the IUS Center for Mentoring, Stewart said she uses her planner so she can set dates with her mentees to make sure she spends quality time with them on days she is not working.


Get stuff done while you can and make realistic goals

Not everything will get done in one night, but if there is time to get it an assignment done, get it done to avoid mental clutter. Take the time to prioritize and give time to the important things first, so you can do the things you want afterwards.

If something takes a little bit longer to get done, take it one step at a time and do a little bit at a time.

Using the scenario Miller gave, let’s say he has a paper to write and he has two weeks to do it, he said he would much rather get it out the way earlier than later.

“Completing objectives in a timely manner is the key to success, especially when balancing so many different aspects of one’s life,” Miller said.


Build a support group on campus

Students who are new to the campus, make an effort to network with faculty and staff as well as make new friends. Get to know the people on your campus because the positive relationships you build in college can take you far.

Serey Eav, a sophomore in nursing, said he felt he got the support he needed from his peers in both The Dining Hall organization and Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity. Eav said there were many times where he had struggled to get through the semester and recently in Summer Session One.

“I took Anatomy over the summer, and that was very tough, but my peers have helped me by tutoring and encouraging me to keep pushing,” Eav said. “To me, just hearing my peers say ‘I believe in you!’ means a lot to me because it pushes me to work even harder, so that I can prove to them that they were right to believe in me.”

Stewart said her freshman year of college she already had a job working in the cafeteria. While working there, she said her mentor helped her network and meet new people. Stewart added that it was a good key to have under her belt. She had a support team on campus by that time and they helped her move onto campus.

Southard said having great friends, co-workers and professors around to help her out or listen to her vent when needed made a big difference in her year.

“You don’t have to do it all by yourself,” Southard said.

Diane Wille, a professor of psychology and dean for research and graduate studies, said students should make connections with the faculty and staff at IU Southeast.

“Faculty are an important resource,” Wille said. “Ask them questions and use them to their advantage.”

Wille said fellow students are important resources in class. She said if students are needing clarification on something, reach out to your peers.


Make sure you make time for yourself

At times, students can dedicate their time in organizations and give their time to other people and forget that they need to make time for themselves. Make time to rest and reset.

Stewart said at some point during her freshman year, she said she was giving her time to everyone else by helping and motivating others. She said she was struggling in the end because she didn’t make enough time for herself.

“I learned that you gotta practice what you preach,” Stewart said. “You can support others, but remember you have to be your own support too.”

Stewart said she is now making time for herself and making sure not to spread herself too thin. She sets dates for the important things or events that need to be done so she can keep up with herself.

Also, make time for the things you like to do, things to help you wind down when you need it.

When Southard was a resident assistant on campus, she said they planned programs for the residents throughout the year to help college students acclimate to college life. She said she found out movie nights and crafty events help students de-stress and help them succeed academically and avoid burnout.

So whether it’s crafting, watching a movie or catching up on a good TV show, whatever it is that you like to do, take time to rest and reset.

To avoid the mental clutter and deter from panicking and overthinking, keep these tips in mind as the semester comes. The last thing a student needs is to stress out and not be mentally ready for what’s to come.