It’s the beginning of March. Winter break is long behind us, summer break is long ahead. There’s the small breath coming of spring break. This time of year on college campuses can be tough. Students are often times a mix of stressed, checked out, anxious to be done, and in some areas, starting to opt for hammocks and sun bathing rather than going to class. The last stretch of winter blues turns into the distraction of spring weather. The students are feeling it; we are feeling it. So what can we do to stay engaged?
1. Remind yourself why you’re here. Set aside time each week (like literally put it on your calendar) to make a list, write a reflection, or just sit quietly to think about why you chose this path for your career. Take a few deep breaths, write yourself a few words of encouragement, and get re-centered.
2. Step away. We all have those unused vacation days. We can each use one morning of waking up sans alarm clock. Even when it seems like there’s no good time to be away, force yourself to take a day or half day off. Run errands. Read a book. Go to your favorite class at the gym. If you aren’t taking care of yourself, who will? We can’t set high expectations of students when we are dragging, too.
3. Work on that one project… We all probably have that project or initiative that either happens each year or we would love to make it happen. Schedule some time each week to write the proposal for the best idea ever, or set aside time to focus on making your favorite event the best one yet. Seeing it on your calendar or to-do list gives you something to look forward to, and using the time for something you love can reenergize you for the rest of the week.
4. Ask for feedback. If you don’t have a regular 1:1 with your supervisor and/or supervisees, set aside time for a conversation with each of them. Ask how you’ve been doing, what you can focus on moving forward, and re-define your role on the team. At this point of the year, we might feel drowned in to-do items rather than being purpose-driven. Hearing from others’ perspectives can help re-frame your current mindset and set you up with the drive to close out the year strong.
5. Have a little fun! If you advise students, work in an office with others, or have the ability to attend an event on campus, do something a little out of the ordinary. Make your next staff meeting an ice cream social. Take a friend or family member to the spring choir concert so you can see students doing something they love. Bring donuts for the office one morning. When you’re in the midst of the grind and May is closing in on us, it can be hard to stop and smell the spring flowers that are blooming! Remind yourself to laugh, eat something tasty, and share some love with those around you!
We all know that the better we feel, the better we perform, and the better our students respond. As supervisors, supervisees, advisors, mentors, and role models for our students it is important that even in the busiest times or when the year has caught up to us, we still model the way. Reflect, refocus, and recharge so that the end of the year will bring big rewards! #YouGotThis
> BONUS <
Podcast With Tom & Dustin Identity Crises, Year One, and Updates