“I’m most of the way through my undergraduate program and have accumulated $40,000 of student loan debts. I graduate in two quarters and I’m freaking out about how I’ll start repaying it.”
First of all, congratulations on being so close to completing college! Life coaching is about getting beneath the surface of your worries. You mentioned that you are “freaking out” which is a pretty strong statement; try exploring that statement even further. What is the root of your “freak out?” This will help you pin point where to go next. For instance, does your anxiety come from uncertainty about finding a job when you graduate? Or does your anxiety come from a lack of knowledge on loan repayment options? Or are you the type of person whose anxiety is relieved by a specific, detailed plan? Perhaps even the most detailed plan won’t alleviate your anxiety because what you really need is to confront your apprehension about leaving the school that’s been your home for years. Or maybe “freaking out” is your way of motivating yourself toward action and is actually very helpful to you. The answers to these questions will help you to deepen your understanding of yourself and your situation.
If you feel you need more information or knowledge to alleviate your anxiety, where will you start? You could brainstorm options, including researching websites such as www.brokegradstudent.com, talk with financial aid counselors, and ask friends or family members who have been through the same situation about what they did and how they handled it. Really push yourself to come up with as many options as possible, even crazy ones.
You could create a spreadsheet of exactly how much you need to pay each month and how long it will take you to pay it. You could make two copies of the spreadsheet. Keep one and burn the other to show those loans that you’re the boss! Brainstorm until you can’t think of anything else, then think of two more ideas. Write them all down and pick the ones you think will work for you. How will you feel once you have accomplished those ideas?
Once you have picked an action to accomplish, when will you do it by? Be specific: “I will research three loan advice websites by May 1st.” The more specific you are, the more likely you are to accomplish the task and reduce your anxiety. Find a friend and ask him/her to keep you accountable. Most of all, enjoy the learning process. Good luck!
Ask The Coach is a new, regular column in the Vital Source. In each edition, Life’s top intern life coaches provide guidance and support in response to students’ questions about pressing life issues. You are welcome to submit your question to faculty member Dr. Cherry Collier at: email@example.com, who will maintain your confidentiality by keeping your identity anonymous.
What would you like help with? What are you juggling in your life that you need a fresh perspective on? Get writing!
Q: “I am a full time student and very focused on my classes…to the point where my spouse is telling me we do not spend any time together anymore. How can I remain focused on my classes but also show my spouse how much I care about our relationship? I need help balancing the two”.
A: Wow, that sounds stressful! Let me first recognize the courage you had to have in order to take on pursuing your education while also being in a committed relationship. I see that your commitment to school is very important right now, but since you also don’t want that to take away from your relationship with your spouse, I think you and I should work collaboratively to come up with a plan that helps you feel balanced.
I would like you to participate in an exercise called the “Future Self.” To start this exercise, find a comfortable position in a place where you won’t be interrupted for at least ten minutes. While focusing on the in-and-out of your breath, let yourself relax further and further. Next, I want you to imagine yourself after you have graduated. Imagine what your appearance looks like, the look on your face and notice how you feel. Then, let your current self approach your future self and start a conversation. Share with your future self everything about how you currently feel, including your concerns and what you desire to happen. After you have fully expressed yourself, pay close attention to the sage advice your future self will give you. Let your future self tell you how you made it to graduation and what you did in order to get there feeling balanced. Since you and your future self are the same person, you can trust this advice. Make sure to find a way to remember what your future self tells you so you can go to that advice whenever you need it on your educational journey.
I hope this exercise helped lead you closer to your goal of feeling balanced. However, if you find yourself needing more, please come visit The Coaching Club on Tuesdays at 5:30pm in CUS room 206 to speak to a coach in person.
Ask a LIFE Life Coach is a new, regular column in Vital Source. In each edition, Life University’s top Life Coaching interns will provide guidance and support in response to students’ questions about pressing life issues. You are welcome to submit your question to faculty member Dr. Cherry Collier at firstname.lastname@example.org, who will maintain your confidentiality by keeping your identity anonymous. So, What would you like help with? What are you juggling in your life that you need a fresh perspective on? Get writing!
Q. – I need help! I am a busy wife, mom and student and I work full-time. I give to everyone else, and I have no time at all for me. I am starting to resent this situation I have found myself in. What can I do to make more time for myself, when I have run out of time?
A. – Sounds like you would benefit greatly from working with a Life Coach! All the discipline in the world doesn’t matter, if you don’t know what you really want. What I’m hearing is that you are feeling cheated and perhaps a little resentful for your lack of “me time.” Am I on the right track? You have let everything and everyone else dominate your time. Since you’re only given 24 hours each day to accomplish your tasks, we will have to find a way to make your life work within those parameters.
As your Life Coach, I am here to support you in discovering how you can push past the things that may be blocking you, so you can help yourself succeed. Considering what you have on your plate right now, how can you find a way to live within the 24-hour day?
As we work together to reach your goal of having “me time,” I want to ask you to reflect on a few questions: What would happen if you took a little more time for yourself? What would it look like for you to feel balanced? What values do you have that are not being honored?
Here is a Breakthrough Exercise I would like you to try:
List three things you need to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to three things just for You.
Part of the Life Coaching process of self-discovery will be for you to recognize your “core values,” eliminate excess “noise” from your life, and set goals that are in line with your values. A Life Coach can help you create structure and effective strategies to accomplish your goals reasonably, which will perhaps lead to fulfilling your life dreams. By holding you accountable for what you want to achieve and helping you to consider your interests first, you will be able to take care of things, set your priorities, and create a shift in thinking that will help you carve out a path that works for you.