Troxel Athlete, Rachel Gagliardi, is a member of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Rodeo Association competing in Barrel Racing, Pole Bending and Breakaway Roping. She is the current Reserve Champion in Breakaway Roping and loves everything about competition. Here, Rachel shares 8 tips she uses to juggle her competitions, schoolwork, social life and more.
- Plan Ahead–Use a planner to help map out your week. If you have events coming up, start by putting those commitments on your calendar. Add deadlines that you have to make, such as turning in an assignment in or an upcoming exam. As you receive assignments, be sure to place them on the day received and make sure you also note when they are due. This will help you create a to-do list based on priorities in order to meet all of your deadlines.
- Prioritize–Make sure the items that have firm deadlines get completed first. In order to reduce stress, make a list of what is due the soonest, so you can complete it on time and move on to the next task. Be sure to make studying a priority as well. Don’t wait until the day before an exam to begin studying.
- Ask for help when you need it–If you’re struggling, let someone know. As difficult as it can be to admit when we need help, it's crucial to ask in order to ensure success. We’re all human and we can’t be great at everything. We can however work to become great at anything we set our minds to.
When I'm faced with a difficult task that I'm not sure how to handle, I reach out to family and friends for advice. If I’m having trouble with material that is being taught in one of my classes, I speak with the professor. I attend extra study sessions to strengthen my understanding. Never be afraid to ask for help when you need it!
- Expand your horizons–Try out an interesting elective, get a job or volunteer. I enjoy volunteering with the University of Maryland Pre-Veterinary Society and participating in the University Jazz Band. Being active outside of the classroom helps me meet new people and relax. Don’t be afraid of trying new things. You won’t know whether you like something until you’ve tried it!
- Meet new people/Network–Don’t be afraid to meet new people and engage them in a conversation. In college one of the most important things you can do is get to know your professors. They are responsible for writing letters of recommendation that can help you gain employment, internships, scholarships and other experiences that will help further you on your career path.
In addition to getting to know others in a school setting, it's essential to be able to hold a conversation with professionals and peers. Work on being comfortable introducing and talking about yourself, as well as asking others questions about themselves to engage in conversation. Make a great first impression by practicing your self-introduction!
- Reward yourself for a job well done–Set aside time to do something fun or relaxing after finishing a task. It's important to provide yourself with self-motivation to complete tasks. I usually reward myself with a few minutes of my favorite TV shows after finishing a large project or an exam. Creating a positive environment while working, such as sitting outside to do my homework rather than in my dorm room, provides a small reward that helps me complete my tasks sooner.
- Make time–School comes first, but be sure to make time for what is important to you besides school. I love riding my horses, as most all of you who are reading this blog do as well! While my horse is located about two hours away from the University of Maryland where I attend school, I set aside a few weekends each semester to go home to ride them and compete at barrel races and rodeos.
- Relax–Life can be stressful, but your health is extremely important so be sure to set aside time to relax. Relieve stress by exercising, listening to music, meditation/breathing exercises and letting your feelings out.