Man swimming toward the camera wearing a swim cap

Learning how to swim through life's challenges

Now that you’re in college, you probably have more on your plate than ever before. You’re likely in the middle of test-taking, and between your studies, work and social life, you might be feeling a bit like you’re struggling to keep your head above water. Don’t worry — we’ve got your back. Here are some tips to help you learn how to swim through life’s challenges, whether they’re academic or personal.

1. Start small.

It’s easy to get so caught up in the big picture that you’re too overwhelmed to get anything done at all. Take a step back and take things one day at a time. Make a to-do list: what do you need to get done this week? How about just today? Start there. And did you know that crossing items off of lists actually makes your brain release dopamine? Checking off some daily tasks can be a real mood booster. It’s always a good idea to keep your eye on your long-term goals, but don’t forget to focus on the here and now, too.

2. Don’t procrastinate.

We know what you’re thinking: “I work better under pressure! I can totally write this paper in one night!” And hey, maybe you can, and you might even get a decent grade on it — but we can guarantee that you’ll feel much better if you plan out the time you need to do a thorough job, not a rushed one. If you need a little help figuring out time management, check out our blog post.

3. Stay motivated.

This might seem easier said than done, but with a bit of self discipline, keeping your motivation up throughout the semester is totally doable. Set reasonable goals (remember the to-do lists we mentioned above?) and reward yourself for getting things done. And don’t compare yourself to others — you’re doing this for you, and your own success is a much better motivator than trying to compete with your peers.

4. Remember: eat and sleep!

When you’re tired or hungry, any problem seems about ten times worse than it really is. Take time for self care, and be sure you’re building time into your schedule for regular meals and rest. Those all-night study sessions will catch up with you sooner than you think!

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help.

ASU has tons of resources to support you, not just with your academics, but also your physical and emotional well-being. If college life is the swimming pool, think of these resources as your floaties. Visit the ASU Wellness site to find all of the options the university provides to take care of your mind, body and spirit.

You’ve got this. Happy studying!

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