August means back to school for the thousands of students headed to Collin College. But transitioning from the lazy days of summer to the fast-paced demands of the fall semester can be difficult.  Collin College counseling/career services associate dean Dr. Linda Qualia says transition can have its challenges.

“Expect some discomfort in changing your schedule.  Setting goals for the semester and for the short term can ease the transition,” Qualia said.  “Plan to organize by starting a calendar with known commitments and add new commitments as they arise. “

Qualia suggests taking advantage of the multitude of technology tools available to stay organized.

“Pay close attention to the syllabi and class expectations and work them into your schedule and goals early. “

Time management is crucial for maintaining a healthy balance, according to Qualia. A University of California Los Angeles study announced that current college students are reporting record-high levels of stress. Being aware of commitments and planning accordingly for studying, social activities and family time is important, Qualia said.

“Don’t leave your time to chance.  Learn to say no to some things and don’t sacrifice sleep.”

Catching some Z’s can help reduce stress, Qualia said.  “The latest research is demonstrating how important it is to get enough sleep for our mental, physical, emotional and academic functioning. Lack of sleep is even related to poor nutrition.”

College students average about six to seven hours of sleep a night, instead of the nine hours of sleep that they need to ensure maximum health, according to CBS News.  Not getting enough sleep can limit ability to concentrate, learn in a classroom and problem solve. Lack of sleep can also contribute to illness and lead to aggressive behavior, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

If students are having trouble adapting to a new schedule or dealing with stress, they can seek out Student Health 101, a monthly online magazine emailed to students on how to have a healthy college experience.  The Counseling Services website also links to many resources and the main campuses have programs and workshops throughout the semester with information about issues important to students. 

If a student begins to feel overwhelmed and unable to manage stress, Collin Counseling Services can be contacted at or 972.881.5126.

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