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iConquer: Making time for success

February 28, 2013

iConquer logoby Jeanette Gaudio

To be successful is to feel successful.

Drink your water, exercise, eat your fruits and vegetables and sleep well. Although these things are definitely keys to physical health, what about mental health?

Without the functioning of our brains, the keys to physical health are useless to us. Remember, the brain is what sends the messages to make your body work. Mental health is just as important.

As college students, we can all agree that life is busy and fast. If we are successful at waking up on time, being prepared for class and getting at least six hours of sleep a night, we are successful, right? Not necessarily. Where does time for you come in?

“If students don’t dedicate time to make certain that they are taking care of their own emotional and physical needs,” says Dana Gautcher, director of the NIU Office of Student Academic Success, “their studies will likely suffer.”

We can maintain a decent GPA. Arriving to class early for front-door parking is also do-able. Completing a term paper a week early is quite a feat. But do any of things necessarily mean that we are happy?

As college students, this is the time for us to find our balance. We find a great deal out about ourselves. When it comes to work and play, this is the time we figure out what is going to come first in terms of priorities. If you are doing any of the activities mentioned in the previous paragraph, it can be assumed that you obviously care about your academic and economical standing.

Dana Gautcher

Dana Gautcher

Finding the balance is not always easy. It is especially difficult if there is little wiggle-room for schedule adjustments.

“There are many experts on campus that can help students strike a balance,” Gautcher says. “Students should consider contacting a student success specialist within the Office of Student Academic Success as well as the experts in ACCESS or at the Counseling and Student Development Center, Health Enhancement, as well as community advisers and hall directors.”

If you really care, great. Caring enough is probably the more difficult end of the battle of success.

However, half can never be a whole without another half. The next part of success is being happy. What is the point of anything we do if we are not happy? We can be stable, smart, responsible and even pro-active without being happy. There should always be light at the end of the tunnel, but maybe it is time to cut our tunnels into smaller sections.

Time for yourself is just as important as getting enough sleep. Without it, we could become edgy – bitter even. Without it we could become fatigued, useless in focus, unable to give anything our 100 percent.

“Just as they schedule work, classes, studying, they should also make sure to carve out time for working out and spending time with friends or simply doing whatever it is that they enjoy – reading, gaming, napping,” Gautcher says. “The important thing to remember is that “me time” is one part of healthy living.”

Even if it is just 30 minutes a day, it is as important as anything else you are stumbling over yourself to complete.

It does not need to cost money; it does not need to be an all-day event. It just needs to happen.

Photo of a basket of laundryPick up a book that you promised yourself you would finish. Watch an episode of a television show that you like. Watch an episode of a television show you don’t like. As long as it is something that you are doing for yourself, it counts.

Sometimes when we don’t make time for ourselves, we find ourselves less productive, procrastinating even. Sometimes we get off of task, but not in the relaxing way we are craving. We decide to start cleaning our room, because we cannot focus on our reading in a scattered environment. From there, we decide to throw in a load of laundry, shrink the pile. From the laundry room, the stack of dishes in the sink catches our eye.

Next thing you know, it is three hours later, and you are just now starting on what was supposed to be first priority that day. Now, it is time to reassess the rest of our week. Cue hair-pulling and rushed mornings.

If making time for yourself is an issue that you struggle with, contacting the Academic Success Center is a great and easy option! The Academic Success building is located at 633 W. Locust Street, right between the parking garage and the library. Walk-ins are accepted as well as appointments. Make yours today at (815) 753-5721.

Editor’s note: Jeanette Gaudio’s “iConquer” column will appear frequently in NIU Today this semester, offering tips from campus professionals to help students keep their academic resolutions and achieve their educational goals. Gaudio is a communication major and student intern in NIU Media and Public Relations.