A funny thing happened at yesterday’s CEHD Orientation. The Student and Academic Affairs staff plays a little icebreaker game with our students called “Where the Wind Blows” where they get up and swap chairs if they have done the activity mentioned by the person standing in the center of the circle. The wind blew for students who played high school sports, who love pizza, and who watch Game of Thrones. Then the leader suggested that “The wind blows for anyone who’s had a vacation this summer.”
No one moved.
Originally, we’d been planning to share some tips on getting organized for fall semester, but that game made us think. We thought we were the only ones without our toes in the sand. Are our students not soaking up the sun and recharging their batteries before they dive into the fall semester, too? Don’t they know that one of the keys to student success is maintaining a balance between hard work and relaxation?
It’s easy for students to let summer slip by as they work to pay for the next term, pursue internships, take summer courses, and care for family. Before you know it, August is here, classes and activities start, and by mid-term students feel burnt out. Maybe the best way for you to “get organized for the fall semester” as July winds down is to just hit the pause button.
Yes, we know that time and finances don’t always allow us a trip to Europe or a week at the beach, but there are lots of ways to recharge your batteries. Carve out a few hours to relax with friends. Spend some time in nature. Give yourself an hour or two each day to read a book – not a textbook – just for enjoyment. Take a mental health day. We hope you’ll start getting that heathy balance in your life now so you can continue it when you return to campus, using resources like Mason’s Well-Being University Initiative. Taking the time to unwind and breathe might be the best preparation of all for the academic year ahead.
Meg Yoder is living the dream as CEHD’s Student Communications Coordinator. If she’s not trying to entice you to read your Mason email, she’s probably crafting or gardening.