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woman at a crossroadsWelcome to UAMS, especially to students in the College of Nursing! You are the reason I’m here! I am the Student Success Center faculty member who specifically works with College of Nursing students. I’m excited to be a part of what we get to offer to students: Academic Coaching, Peer Tutoring, and many other resources!

When I was invited to write this welcome post, I started thinking about what I would say to my past self. It would be this: Choose what matters most to you, and make time for those things.

As you go through your program, you’ll have multiple things vying for your attention: classes, career, family, yourself. All of these are good things, but by being picky and creating margin in your life, you can make time for the things that matter the most to you.

Choose to Be Picky

When you are choosing where to spend your time and energy, be picky.

It’s easy to think that the more things you do, the better your experience will be. That’s not always the case. In the 1991 comedy City Slickers, the cowboy Curly tells Billy Crystal’s character that in life only “one thing” matters, but that he’ll have to figure out for himself what that “one thing” is.

For some of you, the “one thing” may be forming a study group that works hard together and supports each other; it may be seeking out Peer Tutoring (or being a Peer Tutor) so that you can get the most out of your educational experience. For others, the “one thing” may be deciding with your family how to plan ahead for study time while also leaving space for family time.

Choose the Margin

As you choose to make time for the things that matter the most to you, you will have to say no to some things in order to say yes to others. This is the idea of “margin”.

Margin in life is just like a margin around a page – it’s a planned space that allows for life to be imperfect. I used to try to say yes to everything I possibly could: spending time with friends, volunteering at every event that came my way, reading every book that I thought would help me accomplish my goals. What I finally realized was that spending time doing everything left very little time for the things that actually mattered to me.

I started creating margin in my life. I volunteered at one place I really cared about. I stopped scheduling events on top of each other & hoping that I somehow could magically create more hours in the day. For you this may look like leaving 10-15 minutes earlier so that you can arrive refreshed for class or work even if traffic is bad. Or it may be saying no to a night out 3 days before a test so that you can say yes to doing well on the test and yes to a celebratory night out when the test is over.

Choose the One Thing

When you think ahead to this semester, and your next few years here at UAMS, choose what matters most to you, and make time for these things. Be picky about where you spend your time and energy, and give yourself margin for life to be messy. Your “one thing” may look different from someone else’s, and that’s okay.

As you work through decide what matters most to you, and make time for these things, I’ll be happy to help in any way I can.