The Bigger Picture by Tyrus Smith, Enrollment Representative

In this fast paced society of endless distractions it is easy to become side-tracked, frustrated and “in our feelings”. I have found that attitudes and perceptions can significantly help cope with a lot of this madness. Practically all of us have witnessed or been directly involved in a situation we consider to be pure nonsense. For example, in the grocery store when someone has their shopping basket in the middle of the isle rather than the side of the isle their shopping on or when people allow their children to run around a store as if they were on a playground. Another example is when people do not drive the speed limit and insist on riding the fast lane. Do you ever wonder what is going on in their minds or if they are aware or even care? Better yet, do you fit the description of the culprit in any of these situations? The point I am arriving at is that the majority of people have a reason for doing what they do the way they do it and that reason makes sense to them, even if we don’t understand or agree with it. Regardless of the choices others make around us, we possess the ability to control how we react to those situations. With that in mind, we ALL experience challenges every day. Although it’s easier said than done, we have the power to control our attitude and perception about life’s challenges. I mean, what are us adults without control aside from grown children wanting things our way then throwing grown fits when it doesn’t happen? Does having a less than positive attitude ever helped you achieve your goals or make your day go better?

My attitude and perception about life’s challenges is that you might as well have fun doing it. Whatever you do in life, there is no reason why you can’t have fun with it. Although I find myself “in my feelings” some days I try to make a continuous effort to keep it positive and I encourage you to practice the same. For the sake of your health, enjoy life and keep focused on the bigger picture. Don’t sweat the small stuff. Provide a kind word, encourage someone or simply provide a smile if you are too “in your feelings” that you can’t talk. You never know what people are dealing with so try not to always assume the worst. Remember, a situation can always be worse than it is. And lastly, be thankful for what you have and work towards the future you want rather than just talking about it.

Working Adults: What to Expect When Going to College by Senior Enrollment Representative Courtney Walker

For a working adult, going back to school can be a big step. You know that it will be challenging, but you are not too sure what you should really expect. Once you get into class and reality sets in, you start to realize that you will need to put in a good amount of time to ensure your success. You see the homework assignments and readings required you began to wonder if it is too much.  A common question that I have heard from students is “I work full-time and the Professor wants me to do what”. And then people go on to say,  “I am already working 8-10 hours a day, I take care of my kids, and/or I have other responsibilities to take care of.  My load is already full and adding school to it made my load even bigger. I want to continue my education, but do I really have to do so much work? Does the professor really expect me to read four chapters, a paper and complete a group assignment within a week?”
The answer is yes; yes you are required to still put in the same amount of time and effort as any other student in college because you are a College Student!  College is not meant to be easy; if it was, everyone would be in school. It is going to be hard, time-consuming and at times it may even seem overwhelming, but it is not impossible.  In situations like this, I would encourage people to think about what he or she would tell their children if they were in school and played sports. As a parent you would still expect them to get their school work done and pass the class. Well as an adult student you are no different; you are still expected to get all the work done that has been assigned to you along with your other responsibilities.  It is time to stop making excuses for yourself, buckle down and take the time needed to get your work done.  Manage your time wisely; when I thought about going back to school to obtain my Master degree I completed a time management worksheet. This worksheet had me write down what my typical week looked like from the time I woke up until I went to sleep. This exercise helped me realize areas of opportunity that I could use to get my school work completed. Read the “Time Management” blog for some more helpful tips on time management.
Once you get your time management under control you will be able to handle all that you have going on!

Preventing Burnout by Rachel Kunz, Enrollment Manger

Bad days; we all have them. Your boss gets upset with you for no reason, your kids won’t get dressed to go to school, your spouse forgets to load the dishwasher like you asked—the list is endless. Stress is a normal part of everyday life. No matter who you are, you experience it. As an adult student, you are no stranger to stress. You have to juggle work, school, family and friends in this program. But prolonged and excessive stress can lead to a potentially dangerous physical and psychological state: burnout.
Burnout is defined as fatigue, frustration or apathy resulting from prolonged stress, overwork, or intense activity. It is different than stress and has a unique set of symptoms that can seriously affect your health.
Here are the differences:
Stress vs. Burnout
Characterized by over-engagement
Characterized by disengagement
Emotions are over-reactive
Emotions are blunted
Produces urgency and hyperactivity
Produces helplessness and hopelessness
Loss of energy
Loss of motivation, ideals, and hope
Leads to anxiety disorders
Leads to detachment and depression
Primary damage is physical
Primary damage is emotional
May kill you prematurely
May make life seem not worth living
Source: Stress and Burnout in Ministry
The process occurs gradually over a period of time. Recognizing the warning signs can help you take preventative measures before it hits you. The warning signs can be physical, emotional, behavioral, or a combination of all three.
Physical signs and symptoms of burnout
  • Feeling tired and drained most of the time
  • Lowered immunity, feeling sick a lot
  • Frequent headaches, back pain, muscle aches
  • Change in appetite or sleep habits
Emotional signs and symptoms of burnout
  • Sense of failure and self-doubt
  • Feeling helpless, trapped, and defeated
  • Detachment, feeling alone in the world
  • Loss of motivation
  • Increasingly cynical and negative outlook
  • Decreased satisfaction and sense of accomplishment
Behavioral signs and symptoms of burnout
  • Withdrawing from responsibilities
  • Isolating yourself from others
  • Procrastinating, taking longer to get things done
  • Using food, drugs, or alcohol to cope
  • Taking out your frustrations on others
  • Skipping work or coming in late and leaving early
Preventing burnout is your best defense against it. If you see yourself exhibiting any of these warning signs, take action. Some things you can do to help prevent burnout are:
  • Start your day in a relaxing way: Spend a few minutes reading, meditating, praying, or writing in a journal. By doing so, you can ease into your day.
  • Take care of yourself: Regular exercise and eating well gives you more energy to combat the stress of daily life. Getting plenty of rest can also ease your symptoms.
  • Say no: When you set boundaries for your time, you don’t overextend yourself. Remember to be tactful when doing so.
  • Be creative: Try a new hobby or project that doesn’t relate to work. Creativity can curb stress.
  • Unplug: Schedule time each day to get away from your desk and computer. Don’t check email or your phone. Take a walk or get a cup of coffee. Disconnect from technology and reconnect with the world around you.
Managing stress daily can also help prevent burnout. Using the prevention techniques listed here is a start. Developing a routine with healthy daily habits can make a huge difference. Seeking out someone to speak with can help if you are still experiencing symptoms. Support is available all around you, if you just ask for it. Look to your family and friends as well as your peers in class. Chances are, they have experienced the same struggles and can possibly help you. Sometimes just having someone to listen to you is helpful to get you back on track. If family and friends are not able to help, seeking a professional can. Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) that offer confidential help in a variety of areas.
Coping with stress can help you avoid the long-term effects of burnout. Identifying and addressing the symptoms is the first step in tackling the problem before it starts. Take care of yourself by eating right, getting enough exercise and sleep, and unplugging each day. If you are still struggling, ask for help.
Have a great spring, ADP students!

Keeping Your Balance Amidst Chaos by Mia Edmonsoa-Ochoa

Earning a college degree is a journey that requires you, and teaches you, chaotic balance. “Balance” would imply that weight is equally spread so everything can be given equal attention. That definition doesn’t really apply, however, when “balance” includes attending college full-time while working full-time and taking care of two children, all the while attempting to keep your sanity and faith intact.

In my home when I was growing up, getting an education was the gospel. Not a day went by that my father did not speak in my ear about the importance of earning an education. With my own two children, I discovered early on that I, too, was preaching the same gospel my father had preached to me.

My journey began in 2002 when I began, part time, to attend school on the many campuses of Austin Community College. After the death of my father in 2007, I made the difficult choice of leaving my full time job to pursue a college degree full time. I finished the majority of my primary classes at Austin Community College, then transferred to Huston-Tillotson University. Reflecting on my time there, I know I could not have been as successful as I was without a strong support system both at school and at home.

My priorities were very difficult to balance. On one hand, I understood the importance of being a mother to my children, and giving them my undivided attention and affection when I was home. On the other hand, I needed to concentrate and give my attention to the mountain of homework I brought home daily. I always carried this sense of guilt because when I gave to one, I neglected the other. To say things were difficult would be an understatement.

I discovered balance, though a chaotic balance, a short distance from the finish line. I was finally able to shift from feeling guilty and crying at night because my babies missed me to feeling confident that my sacrifice would pay off ten-fold once I crossed the finish line and got that degree. While my children were with their father, I lost sleep completing homework assignments, editing and revising essays. I strived for perfection on my way to becoming an educator. I suffered some setbacks, encountering obstacles that forced me to change directions that sometimes led down roads I preferred not to travel down. The experiences on these roads, however, taught me more about character, community and commitment. And what balance really means.

HT Announces an Adult Degree Program

 (AUSTIN, Texas) — Huston-Tillotson University officials announce a Adult Degree Program (ADP) designed for working adults to secure the Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration and Criminal Justice.  The University efforts include a highly focused adult degree program supported by advertising and marketing; student recruitment, retention and accounting; curriculum development; and learning management system and support.