How to Enjoy the Holidays and Still Get Everything Done

by South University 18 December 2014

Throughout the holidays, many students find it difficult to juggle their education and family obligations while still leaving time for much-needed time for rest and relaxation. As a result, writing papers, completing assignments or reading ahead can be an unwelcome source of stress or anxiety.

While there is no precise formula to determine what balance is right for you, being a student doesn’t mean you have to give up quality time with your loved ones during the holidays.

Relaxing during holidays

4 Keys to Success

When it comes to dividing time between work and play, here are some simple steps that you can take to have a memorable and productive holiday season.

Time management. It may sound cliché, but no one is more responsible for how you spend your time over the holidays than you are. Plan ahead, set realistic goals, prepare for the unexpected, and schedule time for the things that are important to you. For example, if it works with your schedule, study in the mornings and then bake, wrap, build snowmen with the kids, and watch holiday classics in the afternoons or evenings.

Push forward and avoid falling behind. Don’t let your schoolwork pile up over the holidays. Breakdown assignments into manageable segments. Try working for a set amount of time at the same time every day. Making schoolwork part of your regular routine gives your family a good sense of when you’ll be available for fun, festive activities.

Have a positive outlook. Try to think of coursework as time you are investing in for yourself, your future and the good of your family.

Include your family in your study routine. Encourage family members to quiz you with flashcards, post a calendar of your reading list or study schedule in a visible place (i.e. on the fridge), share what you’re learning or challenges you encounter, and communicate goals, objectives, and accomplishments.

6 Tips for Surviving the Holidays

We all know that the holiday season is one of the busiest times of the year. When you start feeling overwhelmed, here are 6 ways to stay motivated, focused, calm, and balanced.

1. Take a deep breath.
2. Be present in the moment.
3. Exercise your mind and body.
4. Be grateful for what you have.
5. Volunteer—give the gift of time.
6. Recognize that others can be stressed too. Have patience. Smile. Forgive.

In a Nutshell

Although education is a stepping stone to enrichment, creative partnerships, and professional opportunities, studying for a new career involves a lot of time, effort, and preparation. Over the holidays, your schoolwork doesn’t need to consume or define you, but it should be something you make time for and take pride in!

“Enjoy the journey. This is not a dress rehearsal.” ~ John Savage

How to Give Back to Your Community This Holiday Season

by South University 17 December 2014

Volunteering, donating and passing good tidings on to others – these activities can be very easy to work into your day, and they can benefit you as well as your community. From creating important contacts for your career to boosting your self-esteem, giving back is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your community—or for yourself.

GivingWho Do You Want to Help?

Volunteering makes the most impact when you are emotionally involved with your cause. Do you want to help the homeless or the elderly? Maybe you feel called to help abandoned animals or wild animals that have been hurt? Pinpoint where your interests lie and then look for opportunities to help in those areas.

Why Do You Want to Volunteer?

Regardless of where or how you volunteer, you’ll be helping others in your area—and in doing so, you then help your community as a whole. So spend time thinking about other things you would like to accomplish. Would you like to get more professional experience? Would you like to meet new people or network with others in your field? Would you just like to raise your spirits during the holidays or make them easier for someone else?

Where Should You Look for Opportunities?

If you know whom you want to help, it can be fairly easy to find organizations serving that particular population in your community. If you’re having trouble, contact the United Way, the Chamber of Commerce or the Department of Human Services for help, or use an online service like VolunteerMatch.com. Contact the volunteer coordinator and ask if they need anyone to provide the help you’d like to offer. There’s no shame turning down an opportunity with one organization if you find a better fit elsewhere, because every role is suitable for someone.

Enjoy the Results

While few of us enjoy working just for work’s sake, putting effort into helping others pays you back in many ways. In areas with struggling communities, providing support can help to decrease crime rates or the impact of poverty. After volunteering, your feelings of connectedness, pride and happiness can increase--in addition to an increased confidence in your ability to complete certain tasks and to make a difference in the world around you. There are even professional benefits as well. For instance, while meeting people at an organization, you can make powerful networking contacts and the experience you gain can be used to perform better at work and be added to your resume.

This holiday season, we hope you consider volunteering. Perfect opportunities exist for anyone who wants to get involved, and It’s time that's never wasted!

6 Power Foods to Get You Through Your Busy Day

by South University 2 December 2014

That dreaded mid-afternoon slump always seems to hit at the worst time: you're in a meeting at work, you're dealing with a sick kid, or you just remembered that you have additional reading for your class—and it needs to be done tonight! Trying to summon a surge of energy to get you through the rest of the day can be especially difficult if you have evening activities or study time planned. Luckily, certain foods can give your body and mind a much-needed boost, so grab some to help you power through a busy day and night.

BananasBananas

Bananas are super portable, a great health food, tasty, and usually pretty affordable. Add this to the list: their high fructose level equals an instant natural energy boost and the fiber bananas contain fills you up.

Peanut Butter

Just two tablespoons of peanut butter give you seven grams of protein as well as a slew of healthy fats, so it's definitely got staying power. This combination of fat and protein means that you'll get a slow release of energy, which is key to avoiding an afternoon crash.

Spinach

Popeye was onto something; spinach is a great source of iron, which helps the body feel energized. Iron deficiency can cause fatigue and affect physical endurance. Increase the iron in your diet by enjoying a salad packed with spinach and beans for lunch.

Honey

jar of honey

Step away from those sugar-laden coffee drinks and canned energy drinks. A shot of honey is a better alternative. Squirt some into black tea, or drizzle some on an afternoon snack of yogurt. Honey has a low glycemic index, so you won't immediately crash after having some. If you're trying to muster energy for an after-work gym session, even better: honey helps replenish muscles after a workout.

Eggs

Eggs are often considered a complete food. They contain protein, good fats, and lots of vitamins--including B2, B5, and B12--important energy-producing vitamins. Eggs also contain essential amino acids, which help your body rebuild muscle. This makes eggs a great pre-gym meal. Throw some hard-boiled eggs into your bag for a quick and easy snack.

Salmon

You just got home from work, but the day's not over yet. You might have hungry mouths to feed, or you need to get to work an important assignment—or both. Does this sound familiar? If so, for a quick, nutritious meal that also gives you a boost, try salmon. Salmon fillets take fewer than 10 minutes to cook and are a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, protein, and vitamin B6.

Try one or all these foods to see what most improves your energy levels!

Get Better at Networking with these 10 Quick Tips

by South University 20 November 2014

There’s no getting away from the importance of networking for your career. If you don’t get out there and talk to people, you are doing yourself a disservice. Here are 10 quick tips that will help you improve your networking game.

Connections

1. Prepare a clever answer to the question, “What do you do?” Your pitch should cover more than your job title and your company. Craft an answer that prompts a response and an ongoing dialogue

2. According to Pew Research, the average American has 634 connections in their personal and professional networks. Although not all of these will have relevant career advice, there’s truth in the saying that it’s not what you know, it's who you know. Increase your chances of a fruitful meeting by continuing to expand your network and letting those around you know your professional interests..

3. The currency of networking is generosity. It pays to remember that networking is not about keeping score, so leave your “What can you do for me?” attitude at the door and look for ways to help others first.

4. Credibility goes a long way in any industry, as people tend to do business with those they trust and not just people who they get along with. Determine how to become an expert in your field and you will find that your network is clamoring to do business with you.

5. Stay true to your word. If you promise to follow up on a certain date, make sure that you do. If you are unable to follow through on a scheduled meeting you can’t realistically expect people to take you seriously when it comes to doing business together.

6. Take a professional tip from network marketers and create a list of people you know to jog your memory about your connections. You might be surprised what names you come up with that you haven’t contacted in a while!

7. Don’t rely on chance meetings. Catching up with close friends is enjoyable, but it is more productive to actively reach out to someone you haven’t spoken to in a while.

8. Take the initiative at networking events. Everyone is there to expand their contacts, yet many will feel apprehensive. Learn some ice breaking techniques beyond pushing your card into the palm of everyone you encounter and people will naturally warm to you.

9. Be a good listener instead of monopolizing conversation. Once initial nerves have subsided, people love to talk about themselves, and you can gain valuable information by hearing them out.

10. Know how your network can help you. Take the time to learn your network's connections and how you can be appropriately introduced to people who interest you. Don't be afraid to be up front and ask for meetings from time to time.

For more helpful career resources and information, current students should visit the Career Resources page in the Campus Common!

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.