Thursday, February 24, 2011

Help significant others help YOU

Do you struggle with balancing the time and effort it takes to succeed in A&P with the time and effort you'd rather be devoting to family, friends, or your partner?

Welcome to the club!  This is a common issue in rigorous, time-consuming courses like anatomy and physiology.

A&P is a foundational course, one that you really cannot skimp on because the whole rest of your training and your career rests on success in learning the concepts of A&P thoroughly.  But then again, you need your personal relationships to succeed, too!

One strategy that I've seen work well is summarized in my book Survival Guide For Anatomy And Physiology: Tips, Techniques And Shortcuts. It's actually pretty simple and pretty easy, for something that works so well!

As early in your studies as possible, take some quality time with those close to you to bring them on board with your commitment to doing well in A&P.  Explain to them what your career goals are and how success in achieving those goals may benefit them as well.  If for no other reason than they love and support you.  But sometimes, career success may bring many other rewards to family and spousal relationships.

After they are on board with your careers goals, make it clear how hard--and how time-consuming--some of the steps along the way are going to be.  Explain how success in A&P is a critical first step . . . a step that will be particularly draining and time-consuming.

After explaining the sacrifices that you'll be making--the great effort that you'll be putting into success--ask them if they are willing to help support you by giving you the time you need.  Explain that by doing so, each of them will by part of your team.

Assuming that those who love you want to be part of your team, work together to find specific ways they can help you.  The more that they can come up with on their own, the more ownership they will take in their part of the team effort.

Here are some examples your team may come up with:
  • Trying not to pester you when you study

  • Taking over one or more of  your household/farm/yard/work chores

  • Not giving you grief when you have to occasionally reduce your fun time with them

  • Agreeing to occasionally help you with your studying (like quizzing you with flash cards)

  • Acting as a child sitter or backup child sitter when you need to go to

    • class

    • participate in study sessions

    • get help from your professor

    • visit the library or learning center

    • have time alone to study

Such a discussion, if handled well, can go far in helping you balance things in your life while you tackle A&P . . . by bringing your loved ones on board early and making them part of the process.

Something that is especially helpful for families, couples, or friendships, is to work together to compose a pledge that you can hang on your refrigerator or keep in your notebook.  This pledge would state the kinds of support that you can expect.   And your pledge to be mindful of their efforts and your intent to be appreciative. When things get tough, it may help diffuse the frustration by calmly renewing your mutual pledge.