[Gateway Student Voice] Stress-Coping Strategies: Time Management

Thursday, July 07, 2016

We’ve probably all been there at one point or another – it’s 11:31 on a Sunday night and a paper assigned in your least favorite class is due the next morning in exactly 9 hours, 29 minutes.

You had the whole weekend to finish the assignment, but assured yourself with each passing hour that you had plenty of time to do it. There was always something more important grabbing your attention. You had to work. A meeting was held that you couldn’t miss. Your niece insisted that you stayed to watch the whole fairy princess movie series rather than just the one movie you initially agreed to.

I get it.

Balancing a heavy load of college coursework can be a challenging feat to undertake. Add working a job, staying true to familial commitments, or parenting to the mix, and falling victim to undesirable stress may be virtually inevitable.

While it may not be possible to eliminate the obligations that take time away from your studies, there are multiple tools available to help reduce the stress these circumstances cause – one of which being the ability to manage time: a useful strategy meant to help you evade “night-before cramming.”

Time management is a favorite stress-reducing tool of mine for the sheer purpose that it is not an avoidance strategy, but a prevention strategy. Committing to managing one’s time is unique in the sense that it tackles potential stress by way of intercepting it, rather than waiting until after the fact.

Here are my, personally tested and frequently used, tips on how to manage time in college:

The Busy Student’s Guide to Time Management

1.)   Compile Important Dates

To begin, mark down any important upcoming semester dates into a calendar.

-       Look through your syllabi to list tentative test, quiz, and project due dates

-       Mark down the dates of your midterms and finals as soon as you are made 

aware of them

-       Make note of any personal dates. Important family events and commitments 

should be taken into consideration


2.)   Take Inventory of Current Assignments and Ongoing Commitments

List all assigned coursework, as well as their due date (or prospective due date).

-       Make note of which professors assign homework on a regular cycle. Use this 

information to gauge a how you will incorporate that pattern into a schedule.

-       Figure out your non-school related commitments. Keep certain questions 

in mind such as:

  • What days do you work, and until what time?
  • Do you have weekly meetings for work?
  • Are there any days that your kids need to be taken anywhere after school?  
  • What day do you normally go grocery shopping?

3.)   Create Schedules

Once you are aware of all important dates and have a general idea of what you need to get done within a typical week, you can begin to lay out prospective schedules.

-       Long-term: Allocate specific amounts of time per week to work on sizeable, 

continuous objectives.

  • If you are aware of a challenging project due within the next month, designate 
  • between 1 and 2 hours each day to work on it.
  • If you are aware that your midterm is scheduled for 2 months into the semester, 
  • designate a particular amount of time each day/few days to review past material

  • -       Short-term: Allocate specific amounts of time throughout the day to work on 
  • small, fleeting assignments. Make weekly and daily schedules.
  • At the beginning of each week, establish what short-term goals must be 
  • accomplished.
  • At the end of each night, establish, review, or edit the short-term goals that you 
  • plan to accomplish the next day.

4.)   Allow Yourself to Rest

Always allot time in your schedule for periods of relaxation. Space things out so that you are not spreading yourself too thin within a short period of time. Give yourself 5 – 10 minute breaks between assignments, and at least one long break each day to do something you enjoy. At the end of the day, your mental state is the most important factor to consider over all else. Managing time, if done wisely, has the potential to save students a significant amount of “night before cramming” stress, but if taken overboard, may burn a student out before they’re able to receive any benefit. Listen to your body. Understand what you can and cannot handle, and always stay true to your individual abilities.

From one student to another, good luck in all your academic endeavors.


Eden Shaveet is a Gateway to College student from Mount Wachusett Community College in Gardner, Massachusetts. She is an LAS major looking to pursue further degrees in psychology and neuroscience, and currently works as a Student Leader in Civic Engagement out of MWCC’s Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement.

Portland–based Gateway to College National Network receives $2.44 million grant for New England expansion

Thursday, June 16, 2016

PORTLAND, Ore., June 16, 2016 – Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN), a Portland-based educational nonprofit organization, has received a $2.44 million grant from Boston’s Barr Foundation. The award will support the addition of six new community college-based Gateway to College programs in New England over the next five years, as well as support program improvement and college-readiness initiatives in GtCNN’s regional programs.

“We are pleased to the support the expansion of Gateway to College programs in New England,” said Jenny Curtin, senior program officer for Education at the Barr Foundation. “Their proven model is linking thousands of disconnected youth to success in and beyond high school. We look forward to working with Gateway to College over the next five years as they build on their existing sites in Massachusetts (already some of the most successful in the country), and broaden their impact in our region.”

Gateway to College National Network supports 41 programs in 21 states, including six programs in Massachusetts. Nearly 5,000 students are enrolled in Gateway to College programs nationally, with nearly 2,200 served in Massachusetts since 2006. Gateway to College began at Portland Community College in 2000, prior to expanding nationally. The program at PCC currently serves nearly 300 students. 

In establishing programs, GtCNN partners with colleges and school districts to implement a dual-enrollment model, with a focus on reconnecting out-of-school or significantly off-track youth to their education. Students complete their high school diploma on a college campus while earning significant credit toward a postsecondary credential. Once operating at full capacity, Gateway to College programs are financially sustainable through public K-12 per-pupil expenditures. GtCNN continues to support programs through data collection and research, program improvement, and national convenings.

"Gateway to College has been in New England since 2006 and our six Massachusetts programs are doing exceptional work,” GtCNN President Emily Froimson shared. “We’re grateful to the Barr Foundation for the opportunity to expand our New England presence and impact, as we work to put some of the most vulnerable youth on a pathway to a high school diploma and a meaningful college credential."

About Gateway to College National Network  
Gateway to College National Network (GtCNN) supports communities in building sustainable pathways for disconnected youth to a high school diploma and meaningful college credential. GtCNN’s core strategy is to support and replicate Gateway to College programs around the country. Through Gateway to College, students who have dropped out of high school, or are significantly off track, complete their high school diplomas at college-based programs while simultaneously earning credits toward a postsecondary credential. www.gatewaytocollege.org, @gtcnn

About Barr Foundation
Barr Foundation’s mission is to invest in human, natural, and creative potential, serving as thoughtful stewards and catalysts. Based in Boston, Barr focuses regionally, and selectively engages nationally, working in partnership with nonprofits, foundations, the public sector, and civic and business leaders to elevate the arts for vibrant, vital, and engaged communities; advance solutions for climate change; and expand educational opportunity. With assets of $1.6 billion, Barr is among the largest private foundations in New England and has contributed more than $710 million to charitable causes since 1999. Barr’s Education Program is focused on the goal of connecting all students to success in and beyond high school. www.barrfoundation.org, @BarrFdn

Education Advocates, Students Share Strategies for Improving Oregon Public Education

Thursday, June 02, 2016
By Richard Greensted

A few times each year, the Oregon House and Senate Education Committees hold meetings in conjunction with Legislative Days, which provide an opportunity for constituents to share input on specific policy. At the Oregon Capitol last week, elected officials invited education advocates to share their work and knowledge on what we are getting right and where we need to improve in the state. There is no question that, when it comes to education, we have much to improve upon, as was noted on a few occasions by our leaders as they asked questions and commented. 
Testimony was heard from middle school students participating in a program called Researching and Empowering All People (REAP). They shared the leadership skills students are attaining through the program and ideas for improving our education system. The need for additional counsellors was noted, as was a desire for less focus on high stakes testing. Students also asked for culturally-relevant instruction including ethnic studies classes. 
Dr. Salam Noor, the recently appointed Deputy Superintendent for Public Instruction at the Oregon Department of Education, spoke at two meetings I attended – the House Education committee and the Senate Education Committee. Dr. Noor spoke alongside the president of the Oregon Education Association, where they discussed the work being done to develop a plan to meet the new federal requirements of the Every Student Succeeds Act. Dr. Noor shared what he has learned from educators and the public across the state about how we should best assess and rate schools. He plans to have a draft proposal by fall that will include less of an exclusive focus on standardized testing, and a move toward a more balanced model that helps inform instruction. 
Finally, a discussion about out of school youth was presented. The Oregon Youth Development Council presented before the House Education Committee. They outlined the reasons we need to develop a statewide reengagement policy. The state average dropout rate is just over 4%, with rates as low as 0.41% (Wallowa) to rates as high as 17.59% (Crook County). Oregon law allows districts to educate students up to the age of 21, but most districts do not make efforts past the age of 19. Some districts, such as Portland Public Schools, have dedicated staff and allocate resources to reengagement. This work helps many students, but actually lowers PPS' official graduation rate. The OYDC spoke about the need to remove this disincentive and create incentives for reengagement. A statewide policy could incentivize all districts to improve their reengagement efforts and, in turn, provide opportunity to our most vulnerable students. I expect we'll be hearing more about this important issue in future legislative sessions. 
I left Salem with a renewed sense of optimism. So many are working tirelessly to make improvements. I find myself frustrated at the pace of change, but today I feel that we are on a path toward sustained investment in the education of future generations. Many moving pieces need to fall into place over the next year. IP28 is a proposed ballot measure that is likely to appear on November's ballot (abetteroregon.org). If passed, it could bring revenue up enough to adequately fund education. Most importantly, we must continue to push our leaders to act and we must make the case to voters that an investment in education is not only the right thing to do, but essential for the future success of our state. No matter where you live, get involved and let your representatives know that you support investment in public education! 
GtCNN is a founding organization of the Oregon Youth Reengagement Coalition, which advocates for a statewide policy to reengage out-of-school youth. Richard Greensted is a North Portland resident, school volunteer, and member of GtCNN’s Oregon Ambassador Council.

Become a Dream-Maker for Youth: Leah's Story

Tuesday, May 31, 2016
Hello, my name is Leah.
I was kicked out of three high schools in three years. Once I got clean and sober, off the streets, and committed to school—it appeared to be too late. I felt hopeless and depressed. Despite my best efforts to commit to living a better life and completing my education, I was still failing. I felt like maybe school wasn’t for me, and if so, I would never be able to achieve my dreams for the future. In my mind, if I couldn’t have a future career that I was passionate about, I wouldn’t ever be happy.
I discovered Gateway to College through a high school referral. At Gateway, I had the support of a community of adults and fellow students who believed in my aspirations as much as I did and who supported me, even when I made mistakes. They treated me like an adult with my own choices, and they provided me with bus tickets and financial assistance to help remove some of the barriers to success. Most importantly, I was surrounded by an educational culture and opportunities to get involved in productive and fun social activities to replace the party environment I was used to.
Since I graduated the program in 2004, I have completed two associate degrees, a bachelor’s degree, and a master’s degree. I am currently working as a grant writer, editor, and communications coordinator for multiple nonprofit organizations in Portland, and I am starting a Native American jewelry business. My husband and I are proud homeowners and are expecting our first baby this July. You could say that all of my dreams have come true, and then some.
I hope that my story inspires you to become a dream-maker for youth at risk of dropping out of high school and not being able to achieve their fullest potential. It is through the support of community members like you, many of whom have stories like mine, that programs like Gateway to College exist. Your contribution will help us to serve more youth who need the intensive support that this program provides.
Please join me in the effort to make dreams come true.
Thank you,

Gateway Grads: Elena's Story

Thursday, May 26, 2016

Before I became a Gateway student I was on what some people call a “no plan” plan. Growing up, no one in my family had graduated high school, let alone stepped foot in college. My two siblings and I were the ones who had to teach my parents English and translate everything in this foreign country for them. 

By the time I was in high school my mind wasn’t anywhere near ready for me to even want to attend college. When you’re raised in the hood it’s easy to get side tracked with the daily struggles that come with your environment, and almost makes it feel as if college isn’t created for someone with your background. Every single person I knew—myself included—was feeling pressure to help provide for their families which created a worker mentality instead of student. 

What drew me to Gateway to College, at first, was the fact that I would be in high school and college at the same time. But what made me decide to stay was the clarity in their goals for the students, and the sense of family between the students and staff. I felt really motivated by the fact that I wouldn’t be alone through my journey in the program. Any questions I had could be answered by the counselors and learning coaches. There was a sense of security in knowing I was surrounded by people who were reaching for the same goal as me and who were there to support me every step of the way, which made the transition from high school to college really easy.
It felt reassuring to know that even after I graduated, I could always come back and find any type of help I needed as a full time college student. 

My first day at Gateway was the day after my 18th birthday, which gave me a small sense of adulthood and made me feel like for the first time ever I was finally able to control what I am doing with my life. Being exposed to college made me realize I had never wanted to attend college because I was afraid I wasn’t good enough and most likely couldn’t handle the work. As time went on, I learned that school isn’t something that’s made for people with a specific background, but for people who have a rigorous and positive mindset. Once I changed my mentality I realized how important education is, especially for those who come from the same background as me. It is necessary that we teach our youth the significance of education, but crucial that we make them aware of the fact that they are deserving of it, and can achieve anything they set their minds to. I know now that college isn’t a single destination, but rather a gateway to a lifetime of learning. I would have never seen school as a path to success if it wasn’t for Gateway to College. 

Meet Eden Shaveet, Gateway Student Voice Writer from Mount Wachusett Community College

Tuesday, May 24, 2016
Who I am:

Hi, my name is Eden Shaveet. I’m an 18-year-old aspiring psychologist from Hubbardston, Massachusetts, who was born in Petah Tikva, Israel, in 1997. I love to travel and consider myself a fierce social and political activist. As an advocate for community outreach, I also volunteer as a mentor for a children’s program whose objective is to emphasize behavioral and emotional well-being. My passions lie within the field of social sciences and in educating others on the importance of empathy and non-judgement. I believe that education has the power to open minds to a seemingly infinite potential, as well as open doors to a vast range of opportunity. The experience of being a Gateway to College student has provided such opportunities to me, along with countless other students from innumerable eclectic backgrounds. My hopes for this blog are to share my experiences as a Gateway to College student, to pass along advice, detail stories, and to initiate important dialogues about our society and how emerging situations affect us as youth, students, and human beings.

Why I came to Gateway:

My discovery of the Gateway to College program came at a despairing point in my life where I had essentially relinquished any hope of finding happiness or success in my academics. After leaving conventional school and spending 4 years in social seclusion, I was convinced that my life would continue to fall into a downward spiral of depression and skill-based inferiority as I sat on the sidelines, watching the rest of my peers excel in their social and scholastic settings. Gateway to College gave me the chance to redeem myself and pursue opportunities that would help sculpt me into the person I am today. The experiences I’ve come across as a Gateway student have allowed me to attain my once-distant aspirations and encouraged me to develop a sense of fortitude and resolution that once seemed insurmountable. Although the road from troubled teen to successful student has not been an easy one, I have Gateway to thank for helping me find my way.

Where I want to go from here:

Once graduated from Gateway, I would like to go on to pursue a bachelor’s degree in psychology, attend graduate school to earn advanced degrees, then complete postdoctoral studies in neuroscience. I intend to become a neuropsychologist whose focus lies within research and clinical work in regards to the treatment of mental illness. I would like to establish a wellness center dedicated an all-encompassing approach to treating mental illness, in which individualized wellness plans are designed for each patient and their specific needs. Depending on such, patients could be matched with a slew of professionals such as psychotherapists, nutritionists, life-coaches, personal trainers, meditation experts, clinical physicians, yoga instructors, aromatherapists, career counselors, herbalists, hypnotherapists, prescribers, mental-health counselors, social workers, voice pathologists, massage therapists, and virtual-reality specialists (for purposes of emersion therapy via the oculus rift) on an as-needed basis who all work together in a team to guide and assist the patient through their particular coping process. This would ensure that all factors contributing to any certain mental complication could be addressed, from both an internal and external perspective.

Had it not been for Gateway, the confidence I have in this goal would be non-existent. 

Gateway Grads: Lauren's Story

Friday, May 20, 2016
Lauren enrolled in Gateway at age 16 with only 3 high school courses completed. Traditional high school didn’t work out because she missed many days due to debilitating migraines. The later start time, reduced classroom hours, and new environment provided the breath of fresh air Lauren needed in order to reduce the migraines’ frequency and severity.  

Lauren became the first Gateway student at MWCC to simultaneously earn her high school diploma and associate’s degree (Broadcasting & Electronic Media), graduating with 100 high school credits, 69 college credits, and a cumulative college GPA of 3.12. Lauren also pursued her passion for writing through her contributions to the college's annual literary journal.  

Lauren attended Brandeis University and earned a double major in English and creative writing. Her goal is to become a writer with a focus on the arts and ultimately to weave her love of writing and photography into a cinematography career.  

When asked how Gateway made a difference in her life, she said the campus atmosphere was student-focused; the staff was supportive, helpful, and really cared about student success. The aspects of the program which contributed most to her academic success was the self-accountability which motivated her to do her best. Lauren feels she has a more mature outlook toward education and works harder because of this experience.

Gateway has changed the way Lauren views herself in that she is much more positive about herself and the future, where education is stimulating and not a chore. The environmental change enabled her to focus on academic success and not merely on the “survival treadmill” of managing the traditional high school workload/schedule with medical absences.  

Gateway Grads: Jose - Madison Area Technical College

Thursday, May 12, 2016

During high school, Jose made some poor choices and dealt with a lot of peer pressure. Reflecting on those days, Jose states, “I used to hang out with the wrong crowd. I knew they weren’t a good influence, but I guess I just wanted to fit in.” He dropped out of high school during his junior year and earned no credit his last semester due to his attendance. He spent three years out of school before he applied to Gateway to College at Madison Area Technical College.
Shortly after dropping out of high school, he began working at an Italian restaurant in Madison’s downtown area and was hired as a dishwasher. Working in the kitchen, he began to take notice of the head chef and fell in love with cooking. He has now worked at the same restaurant for over 4 years and notes how supportive his employer was when he decided to go back to school.

In his application essay, he wrote, “thinking about what I can become once I set all of my goals and accomplish them is a very good feeling. With this second chance I can finally say ‘I did it, I got my diploma.’  That’s something I would like to do and make my parents proud of what I have accomplished here and what I yet have to accomplish further on.” His perseverance is testimony that hard work really does pay off. He worked tirelessly to complete assignments, even during spring break week, to ensure that he didn’t fall behind while holding his job in the food service industry.

Jose was one of the five graduates who participated in the college’s first Gateway to College graduation celebration. His family cheered him on as he walked the stage and received his high school diploma. He has been accepted to Madison College’s Culinary Arts program and will begin in the fall to fulfill his dream of becoming a chef.

Length of time out of school: 3 years
Number of high school credits needed at entry: 10
Number of college credits earned: 8
Current college GPA: 3.33
Estimated time working in food service: 4+ yrs
Admitted to the Culinary Arts Program

This spring, celebrate student success with a gift to the Gateway to Graduation campaign! Help more off-track and out-of-school youth reach their graduation stage. 

Gateway Grads: Allison and Trey – Owens Community College

Thursday, May 05, 2016
Early in her senior year, Allison—a teenager with attention deficit disorder and test anxiety—found herself with a full schedule and got overwhelmed. She dropped out of high school. She had other forays into education, such as a stint at a dropout recovery school with a mostly online curriculum, but she decided six hours a day in front of a computer wasn't for her.

Her prospects weren't bright.

"There was a point in my life where everything came crashing down," she said.

Allison, at 19, had a breakdown. This is the point where many young people give up.

But these days, she has a job and her own place and is back on track at school, thanks to the Gateway to College program at Owens Community College.
Allison said she thinks she's found a second chance in a school setting geared toward her. "Here," she said, "they actually care."

Gateway provides formal help, with mentors, advisors, and coaches. If you forget a pen, the Learning Center's director, Willie Williams, told students, staff will get you one. If you need bus tokens, they've got them.

"Ask for it," he said, "and we will find ways to support you."

Gateway lead resource officer James Jackson, Sr., challenges them on their drive—a legitimate question because most had given up on school at some point. They need to want to graduate.

"We want it for you guys," Mr. Jackson said, "but we can't give it to you."

Trey McBrayer, 17, found himself stuck in neutral at Start High School. Laziness, he admitted, led to little school work. He stopped gaining credits and eventually left for Phoenix Academy.

"School just didn't matter to me then," he said.

But when young McBrayer heard about the Gateway initiative, something clicked. He saw a second chance. Realizing how hard it would be to find a good job without a high school diploma, let alone a college degree, he decided to take the opportunity.

"At some time, you gotta grow up," he said.

Learn more about the Gateway to College at Owens Community College by listening to this audio story from PRX.

This spring, celebrate student success with a gift to the Gateway to Graduation campaign! Help more off-track and out-of-school youth reach their graduation stage. Click here.

Reengagement: Bringing Students Back to America’s Schools, Book Release

Thursday, May 05, 2016
It’s graduation season – what can we do to ensure all young people graduate?

Reengagement: Bringing Students Back to America’s Schools
Book Release and Panel Discussion

Tuesday, May 10 at 6:00 p.m.
Portland Community College
Cascade Campus
Terrell Hall, Room 122 

Please join Gateway to College National Network, Portland Community College LINKS Programs, the Portland Public Schools Reconnection Services, Worksystems Inc, and the National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families. 

Using examples from promising practices around the country, a panel comprised of Oregon-based contributors to the book will discuss how reengagement strategies can play an essential part in raising Oregon’s high school graduation rate.

RSVP by emailing Glenn Fee, Associate Vice President of External Relations at GtCNN: gfee@gatewaytocollege.org


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