A successful life is not about what other people think or their reactions. It is about you and how strong foundations can grow into a stronger you. Balance and acceptance can be the most difficult to achieve, especially as a non-traditional student. The correct balance can be difficult at times to even see, let alone talk about. As a nontraditional student, I have found that pulling a full load academically and balancing the home life is one of the most difficult things to overcome—I know how difficult it can be to find that balance that we all seek as individuals. Time and time again I see only Band-Aids placed where true structure should be built. I see good programs fall apart because due to lack of support. I see many programs merge into one in order to reach the greater population, which is good, but what about the outliers?
Over the years in academia, balance can make or break a soul. In my experience, it’s a challenge to balance the world of academia. I have found that acceptance and planning will help in the efforts to succeed in this crazy world of wonder. Dealing with the balance of studies and home life has always been a challenge for me. So here is a list of things I have created to be successful on and off Campus:
1) Find a safe place on or off campus to study and to be yourself.
2) Create a pro/con list of things you need to do, once created apply the pros to each. Each checked item is a pat on your back, and you can treat yourself to a special little treat, just for you.
3) Take time for yourself. I have found that even two minutes of self-time every day can build your inner strength.
4) Journal your thoughts—this will help in focusing during stressful times.
5) Create a to-do list for the day, week and month. Remember that it must be flexible; this helps in reducing the stress level and allows for the flexibility we sometimes need.
6) Do not be afraid to be yourself. If you need help, ask. This one is the hardest for me.
7) When rough and stressful times hit you, be brave and stand for you.
8) Keep communication lines open if you are having difficulty in life; talk about it and let people know.
9) Never be ashamed of where you come from and who you are.
10) Accept the notion that you are in control of your surroundings, but you are not responsible for other people’s reactions
11) Accept that you are OK every day, even during the rough days ahead.
12) Accept that others will not understand you personally, but do not be alarmed.
13) Accept reasonable goals for yourself. This way, when you reach it, it is always a positive experience.
14) Don’t sweat the small stuff. Life is too wonderful to get caught up in all that drama.
15) Learn to toot your own horn.
Academically, balance and acceptance are the two hardest things that I have had to overcome. Adversity can come at any time, to anyone, and finding balance and accepting one’s own self can help in relieving some of the stress. While some may already do things in the above list, try the others as well. I can only hope that we all find our balance and acceptance so we can all have the happy days ahead.
May your sails be full of wind and the sun rest on your shoulders to keep you balanced in the sailboat of life.