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Student Health & Wellness Tips
Below you'll find a list of helpful health and wellness tips curated by our executives, related to managing life as Criminology students!
Something that helps me stay on top of my responsibilities for school/life when I’m feeling overwhelmed is to create a daily to-do list. I ensure that goals on my to-do list follow the SMART technique for goal-setting. SMART is an acronym that stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time bound. I find that if I add too many tasks on my daily to-do list, I often feel overwhelmed, anxious, and defeated when I’m unable to achieve all the tasks listed. By following the SMART technique for goal-setting, I set myself up for productivity and success everyday! For more information on the SMART technique for goal-setting, read this MindTools article.
Something that I love to do before the semester starts is to create a calendar for the semester and as soon as all of the syllabi are posted for the courses that I am taking. I jot down assignment, quiz, presentation and exam deadlines which gives me a heads up for the responsibilities that I need to take care of as the semester goes by!
Another thing that always helps me when I feel overwhelmed by my studies and other responsibilities is to take a walk outside and just embrace nature, it clears my head and the fresh air rejuvenates me.
I always buy or create my favourite drink when I sit down to study, in my case it's usually a vanilla iced coffee or any matcha drink, it adds an essence of happiness for me.
Try to sleep as much as possible, and the moment you start to feel burnt out or emotionally drained, put everything down. I find taking that time to do nothing and recharge allows me to feel better and more motivated to do work/school at a later time.
When I feel unmotivated to complete my homework or study, I use the Pomodoro Method - which involves setting a timer (I usually do half an hour) and putting your phone away to work efficiently. After the half an hour is up, give yourself a short break (5-10 mins). Repeat this four times and you’ve done two hours of work! The app “Flow” is great!
I also use the app “HeadSpace” for meditation and mindfulness. They have tons of meditations of varying lengths for different situations - for example they have one for before you begin an exam! You do have to pay for the subscription but it is a really useful tool if you have any sort of anxiety relating to school.
Take breaks! I tend to work from when I wake up, until midnight, and it takes more of a toll than expected. Even as an adult, set yourself a “bed time” where you turn off your work and get ready for bed. I also suggest creating a self care bedtime routine. Whether it is a face mask, playing a round of your favourite game, or watching an episode of Netflix. Personally before bed I read a couple pages of a non-academic book and watch some Tik Toks. Thank your body and mind for how hard it works for you everyday!
I have recently started making a conscious effort to appreciate the small things in my day to help me get through those long study days. Very simple stuff! Like appreciating my coffee in the mornings, a hot shower, a conversation with a friend, watching a football game etc. Whatever it may be, find daily positives and recognize them!!
I also find my psyche much more relaxed when I do something active or workout - not only for that day, but for the following days I feel better.
Lastly, I recently purchased a whiteboard and that helps me compartmentalize my tasks / to-dos rather than having them just float around my head.
I really want to note that I have been notoriously bad at making time for self care, so don’t feel bad if you have no set routines yet. They take time to develop and are meant to be tailored to you specifically.
If I can’t stay focused with my work, I’ll go do something enjoyable (video games) for an hour then come back to my work just so that my head has cleared up and so that I’ve done something enjoyable for the day.
Don’t be too hard on yourself and ask for help when needed!
I try to start my day by working out, it really helps clear my head.
I try to sleep early in order to help get good night sleep for my busy days.
If I am very overwhelmed, I take a break and watch a show, scroll on TikTok, or take a nap.
I try to balance my work life by setting a 9-5 schedule and past 5, I try not to do any work to give myself a break.
I make sure to try and hang out with my friends even though it's hard with everyone's busy schedules.
Sometimes I spend a day doing absolutely nothing as a break.
At the beginning of every week, I try to plan out my schedule and make note of all the things that I need to complete so that I don’t feel super overwhelmed with upcoming tasks or deadlines, and I know exactly what to expect that week.
I try to distribute my tasks on different days so that I can give myself at least one “self-care day” during the week (usually Sunday). This self-care day is where I try to dedicate a big chunk of the day to relaxing, watching Netflix, cleaning my house, going grocery shopping, etc., and just doing things that are not related to school or work so that I can reset before the next week starts.
At the beginning of the week, I plan out my schedule based on school, work, and volunteering. I usually do this by filling out a calendar or writing it down so it doesn’t get overwhelming.
I dedicate my Sunday morning’s to preparing food for the week, cleaning, doing laundry, and recharging.
Maintaining a workout routine is important. I like to book my gym times and plan runs for the week. I try to run every day. In the winter I try to snowboard 2-3 times a week to get that brain break and completely disconnect from technology and school work.
Connecting with friends, taking the time for breaks, and dedicating time to do fun activities are important!
On Sunday nights, I like to plan my week by getting out my planner and highlighting everything I want to get done that week. For each day, I make sure it will be a do-able workload, meaning I will not put down more than I can feasibly take on. This way I also feel most accomplished! I like to look ahead to the next week, and make a sticky note and put it in the week before for what is upcoming. This way if I have a big paper due, I will not forget and I can get started on it ahead of time.
When I am studying, I like to take breaks to get movement, food, etc. I like to do 2 hours studying, then a two hour break to go to the gym. Then, I will begin again. It is important to take breaks to absorb all the materials you are studying!
Planning study dates with friends is also motivation to get work done!
Try not to stay up late and study; it is hard to shut the brain off. I like to study during the day and then relax before bed so that I’m not thinking about school when I’m trying to sleep! (sometimes it does not work though, and that is okay!)
What is the CSA?
CSA stands for the ‘Criminology Student Association’. The CSA is a Student Union at SFU that is composed of welcoming Criminology undergraduate students. CSA members have an objective to create a sense of community within the Criminology department and produce engagement for all Criminology undergraduate students. The CSA is involved in hosting a wide spectrum of various social events, presenting educational and fun blog posts on our student-run website, running academic events pertaining to Criminology, such as Q&A Sessions from graduate students and professors, as well as discussing a variety of Criminological topics for our podcast!
What are the benefits of joining the CSA? Why should students join?
Joining the CSA offers exposure to the realm of Criminology in a professional and academic sense. It also provides a sense of community, bringing Criminology students together by enhancing student experiences through social events and academic events.
Being a member of the CSA also offers a broad range of network opportunities with academic professionals in the Criminology field. It also gives students the opportunity to meet other students that share similar interests which can spark many friendships! You can also receive recognition on your co-curricular record if you have obtained an executive position!
Here are some first-hand personal statements from current CSA members!
“It is my first semester joining CSA and I can already see that my
communication and leadership skills have improved. Joining the CSA has offered me an opportunity to meet and connect with new people and be more involved at SFU!” -Tahin Rabbani (Executive Assistant)
“I’ve been with the CSA since I transferred from another school (about 3 years ago) and it was the best thing I did! I was able to connect with students in my program immediately which helped me make friends. The CSA also provided so many opportunities that I wouldn’t have otherwise had or even knew about such as events like the Career Series where you’re able to speak with professionals in various fields related to Criminology.” -Margaret Wang (Public Relations Director)
“This is my first semester on campus due to the pandemic. The CSA has been a fantastic opportunity to meet other people with similar interests and get involved on campus in your field of study! The CSA has been teaching me many new things about the field of Criminology and has given me many opportunities to listen and hear professionals in the area, as well as other students who are great role models for those of us in our lower-division courses. It is so fun to chat about Criminology and crimes with others who feel the same way about it. It is an excellent professional working environment to expose yourself to real-life scenarios in the field of Criminology!” -Laura Rincon (Media Coordinator)
“When I began my studies at SFU, I felt disconnected from the student body and department. I decided to join the CSA after a friend convinced me to do so, and it was the best decision I have ever made! Being a part of the CSA opens the door to so many opportunities, both on-campus and off-campus! I have had the opportunity to make friends, develop connections with faculty members, and enrich the student community.” - Asia Clarke (President)
“When I was in my third year at SFU, I realized that I wanted to become more involved with others at the University and help make change during my Undergraduate Degree. That is when I decided to join the CSA as I had many friends already involved and they thought it would be a great way to get involved! I joined in Summer 2021 and was able to connect with so many amazing people and have encountered so many great opportunities since!” -Courtney Robertson (Treasurer)
“I’m in my 3rd year at SFU in Criminology, and since 2 of those 3 were largely online, it’s amazing having friends on campus now that we’re back. The CSA has been really helpful with making career connections, as well as making new friends, and joining has been one of the most beneficial decisions I’ve made in my degree so far.” -Ava Wood (FASS Council Representative)
How can students join CSA?
Students that are in a declared Criminology major or minor program, or are taking at least one Criminology course in the current semester are eligible to apply for an executive position or be a General Member/General Member at Large. All General Members/General Members at Large are permitted and encouraged to attend the weekly CSA meetings.
To obtain an executive position, students will need to be nominated and voted for a specific position at our general election, which occurs at the beginning of every fall semester. Executive positions include: President, Vice President, Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Director, Events Manager, Undergraduate Curriculum Committee Representative, FASS Council Representative, Equity, Diversion, & Inclusion (EDI) Representative, Surrey Campus Representative, Vancouver Campus Representative, SFSS Councillor, Executive Assistant, Media Coordinator and Member at Large.
Make sure to follow our social media page on Instagram (@sfu.csa) to meet our team and get updates on available positions, position duties, election details and upcoming Criminology-related events!