A Quickstart Guide to Forming Good Habits

by South University 18 November 2014

The word habit often carries negative connotations, but a good habit is something worth developing. From finding a study routine that suits your personality to getting into a flow with household chores, tasks become easier when they are almost second nature. The benefits that come from things like a good exercise routine, diet regimen, or schedule for coursework are well worth the effort.

ReminderMaking Changes That Stick

Set a time frame of at least a month when looking to develop a habit, and re-evaluate after that time has passed. This is the conditioning phase, when you are getting used to doing something that you want to become a part of your everyday life.

Be consistent, and do your task on schedule. If it's the kind of thing you do every day, make sure to set aside enough time. If you are tackling it less frequently, it's even more important to strictly adhere to the schedule you have set for yourself.

Find a trigger and reminder. Use something as the impetus for your new behavior that will serve as the trigger. Additionally, something that is a simple reminder helps. Try anything from an app on your smartphone to a message from a friend who is committed to helping you develop your new habit.

Choose the right habits, and take them on for yourself. Don't set upon making changes because you think it's what others expect of you. Turn your successful habits into expressions of what you want to do to better yourself, your relationships or your career.

Trim the options. Essentially, this means narrowing your choices. Don't give yourself easy outs that allow you to pass on developing your habits. If you force yourself to get it done when it's hard, you'll do it almost automatically later. For example, don't give yourself multiple options for times to start studying. If it's possible, set a specific time and stick to it, so you'll be less likely to put it off.

Tracking Your Progress

Writing your goal down and checking that against how you are actually doing can serve as a great motivator. It doesn't matter how you track progress, just that you do so. Having a metric representing where you started, where you are now, and where you are going sets the stage for success.

Following a plan of attack increases the likelihood that your new behavior will transition into a full-blown habit. If the first couple of weeks seem difficult, remember the positives that come with sticking to the plan. If you are studying to get that degree or taking on a weight loss plan, it's the art of transforming the seemingly difficult into the seamless routine that will get you to where you want to be.

Nurse Practitioner Student Spotlight: Brady Aderholt

by South University 13 November 2014

When Brady Aderholt wasn’t sure what college major or career would be right for him, he did what many of us do when we need help. He turned to his family for advice. Brady’s mom thought about it for a while and then said, “You were raised on a farm fixing engines and fixing tractors. Why not try fixing people?”

Brady and his daughter

Brady took his mom’s advice and earned his undergraduate degree in nursing. In time, he came to realize that earning a master’s degree could not only help him to improve his finances but also to find a nursing position with regular hours so he could spend more time with his family.

However, once he began applying to schools, he started to worry that his academic struggles from his undergraduate years might hurt his chances of being accepted into a master’s program. It was then that he heard from South University. “South University gave me a chance,” says Brady. “I had almost given up on school, but then they called me and that door opened right back up.”

Before he signed up for online classes, Brady didn’t have the internet and had never owned a computer. Today, Brady has a 4.0 and is nearing completion of a Master of Science in Nursing degree program with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization.

Turning to Family

Several factors have driven Brady’s success as a student. The first is the support of his family. In addition to the time he spends as a nurse, he works during the week as a carpenter for a family business. “My family has been great. Occasionally I tell them ‘I can’t work today. I’ve got to finish my school work.’ They just say okay, and I lock myself up in the office until I finish what I need to do.”

His wife in particular has been one of his biggest supporters. “Sometimes, in the evenings, I come in exhausted and I tell my wife, ‘I give up. I can’t do this. This is too hard.’ Then, she’ll say, ‘You’re talking crazy. Go to bed and finish your work in the morning.’ So that’s what I do.”

Claiming a Study Space

The second thing he attributes his success to is an old shed that sat behind home. Shortly after being accepted into the MSN program, Brady decided that this building would be his office. He first replaced the walls and wired the electrical. He added a desk, fridge, air conditioning, and a speaker system so he could listen to music while he was studying. “It’s my getaway,” he says. “I do my homework out there so I’m not in the house being distracted by my three-year old. This office is the reason I’m still in school.”

Talking with Support Staff

College logo

Beyond family, Brady says there are others who have been invaluable along this academic journey. He says, “I couldn’t have done this without the staff at South University. I can talk to them about anything. That’s the biggest benefit and first thing I tell anyone when I talk to them about South University.”

“With the other schools I applied to, you always got a recording or you were talking to a computer. With South University, you can just pick up the phone and call. They help you with everything,” he says, jokingly adding that having South University staff members on your side is like having Siri on your iPhone.

Finding a Friend

In addition to the staff, Brady has also found support from his peers, including a student from Denver (far from Brady’s Alabama home) who has been in all but one of his classes. “It’s been great to have that companionship, so I’d say that’s a piece of advice for new students—to find a friend,” he says. “It helps to know that you’re not going through it alone. It doesn’t matter if they’re a million miles away—it’s about knowing that you have someone you can send a text to or wake up in the middle of the night with a phone call about an assignment.”


In honor of National Nurse Practitioner Week, taking place from November 9-15, 2014, South University is excited to share the success stories of students like Brady. We'd also like to recognize and thank the more than 192,000 Nurse Practitioners working in the US for all the important work they do!

Nurse Practitioner Student Spotlight: Jennifer Bradley

by South University 12 November 2014

At age 12, Jennifer Bradley was already envisioning herself at work in a hospital. In those days, her younger sister was her patient, and Jennifer was the nurse. Rather than blood, they had ketchup, and Jennifer regularly prescribed LifeSavers to her sister as medicine. As she got older, she never lost interest in healthcare.

Jennifer Bradley

“I knew that I would eventually choose nursing as my profession. After all, it had already chosen me years ago,” she says.

Today, Jennifer is a student at South University, Online Programs and is pursuing her Master of Science in Nursing with a Family Nurse Practitioner specialization. “This degree will allow me to do something that I’m passionate about—pursue a career in preventative care. It will also show my children that hard work and dedication can pay off,” she says.

The Right Mix of Support, Hard Work and Confidence

Jennifer’s journey with South University began when she received a call from an Admissions Representative, Leane Borden, who spoke with her about the nurse practitioner programs. At first, Jennifer was hesitant about committing to going back to school, but eventually decided it was the right choice for her career.

“Leane was very understanding and was right there throughout the whole admissions process. She was always available, and did her best to answer every question I had. I felt at ease speaking to her,” Jennifer says.

However, before her first class, Jennifer still had a few lingering concerns about online learning. “I was afraid that the resources wouldn’t be there when I needed them. But I’ve learned a lot, and I feel as if my knowledge base has really grown,” she says, adding “My professors are always available if I have questions or concerns, and there is a library and digital books that I can utilize any time.”

Between school, work, and family, Jennifer has a lot to juggle but she has developed strategies that help her to manage her schedule and do well in her courses. “I take study materials with me to clinical and work. During my lunch or down time, I study what we’ve gone over in school or what I saw in clinical that day,” she explains. Plus, she always checks her upcoming assignments a week early just to get an idea of what they involve.

Along the way toward her degree, Jennifer has had a lot of support from South University staff and instructors, but her biggest supporter was always her younger sister, who passed away earlier this year. “When it seemed like it was getting the best of me—working two jobs, school and raising my sons—she’d remind me of the reward at the end of the journey,” Jennifer says. “She’s always had more faith and confidence in me than I ever did in myself. When she left me, I didn’t think I could do it. I just didn’t want to take this journey without her. But I decided to use the confidence she had in me to motivate me to complete this program. When I feel like giving up, I can almost hear her voice: ‘You can do it, Jennifer.’

Now, with every day, Jennifer gets closer to earning her degree and building the career that she first started dreaming about as a child. And, like her sister, we too believe that with her continued work ethic and motivation, she can do this.


In honor of National Nurse Practitioner Week, taking place from November 9-15, 2014, South University is excited to share the success stories of students like Jennifer. We'd also like to recognize and thank the more than 192,000 Nurse Practitioners working in the US for all the important work they do!

Veterans Day at South University

by South University 11 November 2014

This Veterans Day, the South University community extends our gratitude and appreciation to everyone who has been a member of the U.S. military—including our own military students, faculty and staff—for their bravery and service. We honor your courage, patriotism and the sacrifices you’ve made for our country.

US flags

First recognized in 1919 and legally designated as a U.S. holiday in 1938, November 11 was originally known as Armistice Day to honor veterans of World War I. In 1954, new legislation officially changed the name of the holiday to Veterans Day and today, the day honors American veterans of all wars.

Not just today, but every day, our staff and faculty members strive to support those affiliated with the military through flexible degree programs, scholarship opportunities, and policies that can allow military experience to count as college credit. Last month, South University was honored by being named a 2015 Military Friendly® School by GI Jobs Magazine. We are and will continue to be dedicated to supporting military-affiliated students who wish to advance their education and enhance their professional skills and knowledge.

At South University, Online Programs, military students are encouraged to join our chapter of the Student Veterans of America in Connections (under the Organizations tab), a network where peers can provide academic and personal support, share helpful information, and discuss a wide range of topics and common interests. We also encourage every South University military student to see what resources and organizations are available at the campus or via the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.

Thank you again for all that you have done for this country!

The Outlook for Nursing Careers Remains Bright

by South University 6 November 2014

Recent years have come with the introduction of new healthcare legislation and standards, and, with those changes, so too has the face of healthcareand the role of nurses in particularchanged within the medical field. What's this mean for those considering a nursing career?

Nurse with patient

Will nursing jobs increase?

According to a spokesman for the American Nursing Association (ANA), the number of registered nurses is expected to increase by 26% by the year 2020, which is a faster rate of growth than with any other occupation. Insured healthcare is now available to more people, and, in addition, people are living longer and have access to more preventive care due to technological advances. All these changes increase the number of people in need of nursing care.

Where will nursing jobs be found?

According to the ANA, the areas where patient numbers are growing the most will determine where nursing careers are headed. Typically, the largest number of nurses are employed in hospitals, but that number is decreasing as fewer people are being admitted to hospitals. So, which areas will show a growing number of nursing careers? These are considered to be the most likely:

• Nursing homes
• Home healthcare
• MD offices
• High-specialty areas
• Outpatient care
• Academia

What are the requirements for a career in nursing?

Educational requirements vary based on the type of nursing, but more education often brings more career opportunities and larger earning potential. Education can be especially valuable in cities where there is already a larger nursing workforce and lots of competition for open positions.

• A certificate and license after a year of study is required to become a Licensed Practical Nurse who can perform basic functions in an office setting.

• An associate or bachelor’s degree in nursing is required to become a Registered Nurse who can work in a medical facility.

• A master's degree can enable a nurse to advance to higher levels of leadership and care, including nurse anesthetists, midwives and nurse practitioners.

• Post graduate certificates may allow nurses who already hold a master’s degree to find a new specialization and move their career in a different direction.

• A doctoral degree can prepare nurses to drive change and provide leadership within the healthcare industry.

Every nurse has to earn a state license after completing a course of study, and continuing education credits are usually required in order to renew a license. Some nurses opt to specialize further in areas such as pediatric or geriatric care.

Overall, the career outlook for nursing looks bright. Those interested in geriatric care, outpatient care and home healthcare may come to be especially well-situated for promising careers. For those interested in non-bedside nursing roles, nurse informaticists and nurse educators are also becoming increasingly important in the healthcare world.

See our list of programs in the area of nursing and learn how we can enhance your nursing career today.