Surviving and Thriving in August

by Stefanie Lucas

Welcome to August, perhaps the busiest month of a year for student affairs folks. I am a lover of August. Ever since my first move-in day when I arrived to California Lutheran University I was hooked. I love the excitement of meeting new folks and having many from the campus community come together to celebrate and welcome everyone.

However, August is always so busy whether you are participating in trainings, carrying out trainings, or prepping for a new school year. Move-in day still might seem far away with everything to get done between now and the big day. If you are a new graduate or professional it will likely feel even more overwhelming, especially if you are in a new location.

Here are a few tips to help you survive and thrive in August:

Do Something Everyday for Yourself. Treat yourself in whatever way you can at least once a day. Maybe for you it means taking an extra long walk during lunch break, grabbing a Starbucks on the way to work, meditating, or watching your favorite TV show. Find some time for you everyday.

Sleep. Though it might be tempting to stay up all-night and prep for training sessions, you need to get your sleep. You will function a lot better and be more productive.

Go Outside and Take Students with You. Most training sessions are inside, and it can be exhausting to sit in the same rooms over and over again for training. Get up and move outdoors for a session or a small work break. Enjoy the beautiful summer weather while it lasts!

Write a Thank-You Note. Think about all the folks around you also working extremely hard. Thank someone!

Call Someone. Family member, partner, or best friend: plan a phone date with someone. Actually, plan more than one phone date. I always find it helpful to talk to folks who are not in the profession to distract myself a bit. Though some of my favorite phone calls are from my best friends who in student affairs and going through the same excitement of August. Even if it is the five to ten minutes it will make a big difference.

Stick to Your Routine. Do not completely give up on your routine. There might be later nights in the office and a totally different schedule. You will thank yourself in September if you can keep or start some type of routine, especially if you are a new graduate student. As an example, if you typically read before bed, try and schedule a few minutes to do so before falling asleep. Schedule breakfast, lunch, and dinner into your schedule if necessary.

Fitness. Could be placed in the above category, though I believe it deserves it’s own. I especially need to keep my fitness routine strong during busy times, but if you have to cut back do not eliminate fitness completely. The #SAFit Twitter hashtag is always a great place for encouragement and motivation.

Have Fun. Laugh with colleagues (especially if you pulled a late night together), enjoy spending time with your new staff, and keep a positive attitude!

Time Off. If you end up working a 15 hour day because of training it is okay to touch base with your supervisor and ask about coming in later the next day or leaving early. Now might be too busy, so talk with your supervisor about taking some time for yourself when everything slows down. Many supervisors are good about suggesting it, so take them up on the offer of time off. As a graduate or professional in a new office it can be intimidating to ask, but the worst someone can say is no. Your boss will likely want you to be your best self at the beginning of the semester!

What other suggestions do you have to survive and thrive in August? Tweet me at Stefanie_Lucas with ideas!

Student Affairs - the First Years

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