Dear Students,

Well, the semester has really started now. Assignments are due. Exams are happening. Quizzes are piling up. And there are too many hours of video to review.

I'm guessing that for many of you, your stress levels are rising. We often think about strategies to alleviate stress like: exercise, practicing mindfulness, eating well, getting enough rest, talking to a friend, and many more. And these are important practices that we should all work to employ. But we should also pay attention to what our bodies are trying to communicate to us with stress.

If we are stressed about an exam, it is likely because the test feels important to us, right? Harness that stress as a reminder of what you want to accomplish. Stressed about a particular topic? It is likely because you are still learning those concepts and working on them is uncomfortable. Remind yourself that struggling is a natural part of learning, and learning is what we are all here to do. Stressed about something else in your life? Take note of it, so that you devote time and attention to getting it sorted out (rather than wishing it will just go away). And always strive for a balance. Too much stress is, of course, bad for your body and your well-being. So use the tools at your disposal to both keep stress in check and harness what's left of it as a tool for where to focus your attention.

Finally, always remember that learning isn't complicated; it is just hard work. Sometimes uncomfortable work. The first step towards amazing yourself with what you can accomplish is hanging in there with the discomfort—and pushing through to having learned.

Dr. Vanden Bout

Joke: A photon walks into a hotel. The desk clerk says, "Welcome to our hotel. Can we help you with your luggage?" The photon says, "No thanks, I'm traveling light."