Reaching Your Mental Peak Performance within Honors

By Breanna Naegeli
Associate Dean, Honors College

Serious young student writing in book while studying at table in university

I am a firm believer that “the best way to predict your future, is to create it.” As an incoming honors student, you already made the decision to embrace the challenge to enrich your future. You seek to broaden your worldview and expand your intellectual limits. As you prepare to embark on this academic, emotional and social journey, here are three quick themes to keep in mind:

Be Where Your Feet Are

As honors students, “over-involved” and “busy” tend to be the understatement of the year. You like to take on new opportunities, you challenge yourself with rigorous, honors coursework and engage in extra-curricular events, social outings and employment.

We can often get swept up in the chaos, we blur our many roles and responsibilities and we can reach a point of feeling overwhelmed. Be where your feet are. Work diligently to stay present at all times. When you’re in UNV109HN, be present, mentally focused and engaged and use your time to effectively think about your coursework and the experience.

Stop worrying about where you’re going to grab lunch, when you’ll get that laundry done and when you’ll have time to study for your BIO181 test. Stay focused–which often requires a very intentional effort. When getting an ounce of downtime and spending the afternoon having lunch with friends make sure you be present.

Engage in conversation, enjoy their company and put away your phone! When studying, don’t attempt to multi-task with chores, social conversations and other distractors. When working, focus on your responsibilities, serving in this role as effectively as possible and learning and growing as a professional. Maximize your mental energy and stay present.

Control the Controllables.

We can often spend time dwelling or stressing over things entirely outside of our control. There are things entirely outside of your control, things you have minimal influence over and things you can fully control. At the end of the day, you control your attitude, your effort, your behavior and your response to any given situation.

Whether in relationships, in the classroom, with your roommate, at work–evaluate and understand how different stressors or factors make you feel and how you currently respond.

Further dissect what in those situations you can or cannot control and focus on you and what you can control. As honors students, we can sometimes allow a grade on an essay, the behavior of our roommates or the lines at the campus restaurants to derail our focus. Let go of what you can’t control so you can maximize and build upon what you can.

Time Management

Time is the ultimate equalizer. Regardless of our story, our situation and whatever we have on our plate to manage, we all get 24 hours in a day and 168 hours in a week. Effective time management and proper planning is critical in helping you stay present and focused in all your activities and helps you manage stress and frustrations throughout the week.

When we say ‘we don’t have time,’ determine what you don’t have time for verse what you don’t have time for right now. Instead of a “To Do List”, consider a “To Day List”, a “This Week List”, and a “This Month List” and remain flexible and willing to shuffle tasks and priorities as things come up.

Here is a tip for success: Identify two-to-three daily items you would like to complete each morning and write it down. Do the most difficult and challenging task first and try to tackle this list early. Our discipline and self-control is like a gas tank. We start full, but it burns and dwindles throughout the day. Checking off items on that list and taking care of those more challenging, less desirable tasks get emotionally and mental harder to start later in the day.

Grand Canyon University and the Honors College have several resources and support staff to assist you throughout your academic journey. Do not hesitate to ask for help or advice as you transition into and through the honors experience. As mentioned above, the best way to predict your future is to create it. Master your mental approach to maximize your results.

To learn more about how you can join a community of likeminded honors students in making change in the world, visit our website or click the Request More Information button on this page.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Grand Canyon University. Any sources cited were accurate as of the publish date.

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