Support systems are key to college success: Here’s how to build one

Photo by: Makayla O’Bannon, Flagstaff, Arizona (The Voice, March 14, 2021).

GLENDALE, Ariz. – As a college student, I’ve come to understand that no matter the school, degree, or difficulty level, college is a fearful environment for countless students.

A great way to minimize the negative effects college often causes is with a sturdy support system crafted around you. I have compiled a listing of the top five best tips to create a universal and effective support system for college students.

  1. Take advantage of your role models

Whether you are in the middle of writing a hefty paper or are knee-deep in a 2-hour lecture, the feeling of isolation tends to haunt many. Young scholars should always surround themselves with role models who can give them advice or motivation to push them through the struggles of school. Some families have a relative with college experience that you can confide in, which can help put your goals into perspective. Other families do not have that member with college experience. A favorite teacher or a counselor you have bonded with can be just as helpful.

Pursuing a degree without using this outlet can cause more harm than good. A respectable person you are comfortable expressing yourself with is priceless. They will ease your worries associated with putting yourself through a grueling education path.

  1. Stick to a schedule

As someone who balances a 40-hour work week and a college education, I am exposed to the difficulties of planning your life. An obvious yet underrated tool to help feel less overwhelmed is to keep a schedule of your day. It is always more effective to keep a physical copy because it is harder to avoid or modify the schedule to satisfy your tiredness or stress levels.

Ryan Kennedy, a peer that attends Paradise Valley Community College said, “After putting a planner into my daily life, I’ve seen my peace of mind and productivity go way up, definitely never going back to not using one.” Whether it’s a small journal you carry or a large wall calendar, only positives will result from using one in daily life.

  1. Use the resources your school offers

During my time at Glendale Community College, I have repeatedly found different resources that my school uses to benefit my education. I was often oblivious to them at first but knowing these beneficial outlets from the beginning would have given me the extra support that I needed in tough situations.

GCC offers free essay revision, universal tutoring and counseling sessions, an accessible online library, an abundance of financial aid and scholarship opportunities, and so much more.

Students may feel too bogged down or drained to access these helpful tools but by taking advantage of these tools, higher grades will be significantly easier to achieve. The school you are attending wants to see you succeed, which is the reason they have these tools littered through their website in the first place. A little digging through that website will work wonders for your education and future.

  1. Leave time for yourself

This portion may seem like the more obvious and easier goal to achieve but depending on the class load combined with other stresses in life, it could arguably be the most important.

According to the American Psychological Association, 61% of college students report anxiety as the reason for seeking external counseling or help. This stage in life is a stressful time for many. The easiest way to unwind without using external sources is by simply leaving time to yourself. This is usually accompanied with the idea that your stresses and daily work is completed. The feeling of decompressing with nothing left to do is practically unrivaled. It can encompass many activities too including exercise, reading, indulging in media, social gatherings, or hobbies like painting and gaming.

Every student is different and will handle their downtime differently. They key is to appreciate your downtime when you have it.

  1. Surround yourself with like-minded people

“Surround yourself with good people. People who are going to be honest with you and look out for your best interests,” Chief Executive Officer of the Miami Marlins, Derek Jeter said. I agree with Jeter, he could not have said it better.

If you are going through life prioritizing your achievements by working towards professional and educational goals, you should surround yourself with others who have the same ideals. If you go through life surrounded with those with weak priorities or work ethics, then those same bad habits will leak into your own life. You might even find it more difficult to achieve your goals.

I take inspiration from my father. He built a support system through his friends which helped him gain better results in his education and college experience overall. I highly recommend that everyone follow in his footsteps.

 

Take these tips into consideration the next time you’re contemplating why you’re so stressed or searching for that “life hack” to make your college path that much easier.