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Back to School: Dealing with Stress

Written By: Allison Biggs Allison Biggs is a junior at Brigham Young University in Utah studying Biochemistry with a minor in Spanish and Civic Engagement Leadership. "I love my family and friends, Jane Austen, Madam Secretary, and sunsets!" The beginning of every school year brings an incredible amount of stress. Whether it’s the stress of school and classes, family troubles, a global pandemic, undetained about a future path, and so much more... It’s easy to get bogged down under the weight of it all. Getting sleep, eating well, exercising, and meditating are so important to taking care of ourselves, but sometimes there is simply too much, and for a short period of time we may feel as if we are drowning. When for a period of time we cannot lighten our load, we may need other tactics to help us thrive and manage our stress. A couple things that really help me are my faith and family. They keep me grounded and remind me that there is more to life than school and a career. Relationships matter, the way we serve and care for those around us matters, and school doesn’t measure our success in those areas. Sometimes we may not be doing well in one area of our lives, but we may be deeply enriching a friend who needed ice cream and time to vent. We may be serving our parent who needs time to talk, or a sibling that needs help with an assignment. While I’m still learning how to balance my life well, I do know that enriching my relationships around me has seriously blessed me with greater capacity and confidence to deal with the rest of my life. Life also isn’t perfect, and it’s hard to see the good things sometimes, especially if we’re running from class to meeting to errand to homework to test. All. Day. Long. But on these days, especially when I’m irritated about all I have to do, I often feel impressed to take a second look around me. I see the beautiful mountains to my east and south, usually a gorgeous sunset. I’m reminded of how blessed I am to study at such an amazing university. I’m reminded that life is beautiful, even when it’s busy. And I’m filled with gratitude and a new reminder to, even in my haste and rush to accomplish all I need to do, to slow down, take a breath, and remember what’s most important. Life is so difficult sometimes. The stress and pressure to perform and do and achieve is so high. It can be so difficult to compare ourselves to classmates or friends and feel like we don’t measure up or that our life sucks. I’ve been there so many times. But, when we sacrifice some time to take care of our relationships and to reflect on the good things going on, I think we’ll have a new perspective on what matters most, that stress may dissipate, if just for a moment, and remind us why we’re doing what we’re doing in the first place. -Allison Biggs

Back to School: 5 Tips You Didn't Know You Needed for Remote Learning/Work

Written By: Brianna Zhou Brianna Zhou is a third-year student at the University of Washington. She is currently a biochemistry major looking to work in the field of medicine and research when she graduates. "I remember back in high school, I didn't know who to go to, or what resources I could use outside of school to navigate my way into college. Hey Mentor gave me the comfort and guidance when I needed it, so with my experience, I want to do the same for those who currently feel the same way as I did a few years ago." 1. Prepare Yourself like a Normal Day - or more! As if Covid hasn’t put a lot of our plans to an end already, we’re now looking at a much longer time in Online Work/Learning than expected back when it all started. That’s why it’s important that we take whatever we can still control in our hands and make the most of it, starting with our daily routines. Set your alarms early as if you need to reserve time in the morning to get to where you need to be. Put your alarm somewhere far enough that you need to get out of bed to reach and still be able to hear it. Change into an outfit you’re not embarrassed to wear in public, make yourself coffee, breakfast or whatever gives you energy, etc. - just anything you do as your normal morning ritual. This will help keep you in the mindset of work and stay on top of things you need to do during the day, so that you don’t feel tired in bed all day and get your body moving. 2. Turn off your phone Wi-Fi Ever since quarantine started, I found myself scrolling away my time even more thanks to all that’s going on in the world right now that’s all over my feed, and my newfound entertainment, Tiktok. But after many laggy Zoom calls and sharing the Wi-Fi with my housemates, I’ve found a great way to stay focused and connected - by turning off Wi-Fi on your phone. It’s a win-win situation really, since you’ll stop getting so many notifications or be able to access social media and games during your online class, AND you’ll have one less device taking up bandwidth. Say goodbye to distractions and unstable connections! 3. Invest in a Physical Planner/Notebook Technology is convenient nowadays, where you can pretty much download an app for anything. But with almost everything being online now, there is barely anything physical to experience. Writing stuff down on paper has also been proven to help retain more information! Just go to your usual office/school supply store, pick out a planner that suits your organizational style, and maybe some colored pens as an extra touch of coordinating! I usually pick one that’s got bigger space for daily/weekly planning and a simple design to keep it neat and straightforward. Try to set specific time blocks for when you can work the most and finish around the same time everyday. 4. It’s okay to take breaks! While we can’t stress enough about the seemingly-endless amounts of assignments we get, it’s important to balance that out with something relaxing or a sense of joy. Between each productive time block you set in your planner, also plan out the times you can take a break. You can follow the Pomodoro method where you strictly work for 25 minutes and take 5-minute breaks on repeat, or create a more individualized schedule that works for you, as long as there’s more time put in your work than your breaks. These activities include, but are not limited to: taking a walk around the neighborhood, eating a snack, or have a moment of checking up on your family and friends. 5. Connections Are at Our Fingertips We’re all going through different challenges, but one thing that’s among the most valuable we have more or less of, is time. It’s never too early to start reaching out to people you’ve been wanting to connect with, and our generation depends on it more than ever. Whether you’re in high school, college, or out in the workforce already, it’s important to make as many connections as you can. This can range from your social circle, teachers/professors, to professionals of your interested field. Remote work has made it harder for us to see people face-to-face, but there’s also online platforms like social media, LinkedIn, or even direct contact information. A small greeting and introduction can go a long way, and will open up future opportunities that might be waiting for you at the end of this remote work journey.

Back to School: Preparing for a New School Year!

Written By: Katayoun Daneshjoo Katayoun Daneshjoo is first-year student at the UW. She currently is in a pre-science track, with plans to major in Neuroscience. "I was born in Iran and moved to the U.S. when I was in sixth grade. Being the first in my family who wanted to pursue higher education, I didn’t have anyone I could talk to about the college admission process and college life. So, at the end of my junior year when most of my friends were talking and researching about the universities they wanted to apply to and writing their personal statement, I realized how unprepared I was for my senior year. That’s when a friend of mine introduced me to Hey Mentor. During my senior year, my mentor helped me gain a better understanding of the admission process and how to write an effective essay. Having a mentor had a big impact on my transition to college. So, I decided to become a mentor for HM to guide students with the similar background as mine to the path of success." Starting college can be exciting but terrifying at the same time. For many freshmen, the new level of academic freedom at college is something that they have been waiting for. However, if not managed well, the workload that piles up can become very overwhelming. The key to becoming successful, no matter if you’re a freshman or senior, is a good preparation for the school year. Here are some tips, that work for me personally, to start the new academic year in the best way possible: 1. First and foremost, recognize the importance of having some time to yourself: Although being able to study on your own is crucial in college, you don’t want to burn your brain out. Find some hobbies, extracurricular activities, or anything else that helps clear your mind and have some fun. Classes are very important, but your mental and physical health should always come first, especially during these difficult times. 2. Do research on available resources: Use your university/college’s website to find resources that are available to you as a student. This could be from advising to clubs and sports. Colleges offer numerous resources to students considering the size and diversity of their student body, but there’s not really a person that will tell you all about it. So, make sure you do some research before it’s too late. 3. Set up a meeting with your advisor: Make sure to meet with your advisor before the school year starts, or at the beginning, to plan an academic plan for the upcoming year. By doing so, you can make sure you are using your time properly and are on track with classes you are required to take. Advisors can also help you find resources and/or programs based on your interest. 4. Make a personal calendar/planner: This might not be something that works for everyone, but I personally find it to be very helpful. Creating a daily checklist for things I needed to do helped me remember things that were important. I highly recommend making an if not daily, weekly planner to help you keep track of things you need to do and stay organized. 5. Erase the phrase “I’ll do it later” from your mind for good. Period. 6. Lastly, start the year with an open mindset: Do not think about failing a class or not being able to do an assignment before it has actually started. Be optimistic. With an open mindset, you can achieve all of your goals. I know freshman year can be overwhelming and scary, but when it’s over you will turn back and laugh at things that scared you. These are just some points to help you have a great high school to college transition. This year can be challenging for many students, but remember we are all in it together. Don’t be afraid to reach out and ask questions. Make the best out of this year.

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