Category Archives: General

The default category.

Finding Balance (even when it all hits the fan)

Almost exactly a year ago my wife and I welcomed our son, our first child, into the world. It’s been a roller coaster of an experience, filled with moments of sheer joy and absolute exhaustion. Having a child has helped me empathize better with college students. Now please hear me out, I am not being paternalistic or patronizing—what I mean is that having a child has reminded me how easy it is to sacrifice taking care of yourself in times of stress and extreme demands.

In my role in the OAR I’m constantly imparting (ok sometimes preaching) the virtues of self-care and balance. However after my child was born many of the things I typically need for balance or taking care of myself suddenly took a backseat to the immediate demands of our newborn and my wife. So many sleep-deprived, frozen pizza and gym-less months later I am realizing I need to be more intentional in prioritizing some more healthy habits and practices in my daily life; however, that’s easier said than done!

As a college student you know that there are a multitude of unexpected events, assignments, and problems that arise during a given semester (or week!) and finding a work-life balance can sometimes seem impossible, especially when it seems there is always work to be done.

In my personal experience and from years working with students I’ve noticed the first thing we sacrifice when it hits the fan is sleep, eating habits, exercise and/or our healthy mental or spiritual practices. This creates a vicious cycle that can be really hard to break. Often we don’t realize how unsustainable or damaging this cycle is until we pause, and realize something doesn’t seem right. Possibly during the break you had one of these moments (I did!). The first step to finding balance is identifying the stressors or any underlining reasons we’re sacrificing what we need to feel whole. Pressure to get the grade? Desire to please a family member, faculty or another person you value and find important. Or does self-care normally take a backseat every semester? Question the legitimacy of that pressure. Is it causing you undue stress? Is there someone you can talk to about it?

Once you have addressed a cause you can begin trying to find a better balance. Here are a few things that have helped me kick the cycle.

Don’t compare yourself to others listen to what you need. Reflect on what gives you energy. Make a list of things you enjoy doing and prioritize doing one or two of them every week of the semester.

Prioritize YOU, even at the expense of other things
How? This can often be the most difficult first step because it involves saying “no”. But it’s OK to say no, you can’t do everything and feeling burnt out is your body’s way of saying, “slow down”. It might be painful to back down from a commitment at first but in the end you will be grateful—trust me. It’s better to do two things with a whole heart than five with a third of your passion. If it’s sleep you need, draw a black line on your schedule and do not study or schedule anything past that line. Maybe your problem-set or essay doesn’t get done but the sleep you gain will help you be more productive in the long run. If it’s finding more time to be social or hit the gym, prioritize those things in your planner before scheduling  time to study.

It’s better to do two things with a whole heart than five with a third of your passion.

Balance is different for everyone, we all gain and expend energy in different ways:
What I need to do find balance (listen to music, go for a walk in nature, cook, spend quality time with my wife) is what I need to do, not necessarily what you need to do—everyone is wired differently. Some people need to be alone, maybe, with a comfy chair, a good book or their favorite record. While others need a night out on the town with friends or a good conversation over coffee. Don’t compare yourself to others listen to what you need. Reflect on what gives you energy. Make a list of things you enjoy doing and prioritize doing one or two of them every week of the semester.

Make a plan: Journal your progress
What is your goal? What are the challenges you face? Take time to put your goals in writing. Take time at the end of the day to reflect on what is working or what barriers are keeping you from achieving a better balance, maybe even develop a plan or strategy to attempt tomorrow to address difficulties you experience today.

But it’s OK to say no, you can’t do everything and feeling burnt out is your body’s way of saying, “slow down”.

Accountability: Find a wellness partner!
You are not alone. Ask your fellow Fords, including your professors or Dean, how they balance everything. You might find their still learning too. Feel free to borrow from their good ideas on how they find time for themselves. Find other classmates with similar interests and hobbies and make time to do those things together. Find someone you trust to ask you honest questions or check in on you.

Expect the unexpected
Julia Child, a personal hero of mine, once quipped “Do everything in moderation, including moderation”. The semester is comprised of peaks and valleys and there will be challenges. Some weeks might force you to buckle down, but make sure you follow it up with a break and some fun.  Anticipate the unexpected but pace yourself. You can’t and are not expected to do everything. You can’t sprint the whole marathon. An outcome of establishing a work-life balance is knowing when to slow down in order to finish the race and finish strong.

Here is pic of the little guy that threw me off my game… totally worth it!

Attend the Course and Major Fair for Sophomores & First Years/Student-Led Academic Tea with Chicken Tenders and Rice Krispie Treats

Sunday, October 16 from 7pm-8:30pm in Founders Great Hall

Undecided about your major? Trying to decide which courses to take in the spring or how to plan ahead to fit in a semester abroad? Whether you have your heart set on a particular major, are having trouble deciding between two or three, or really aren’t sure which majors interest you most, the Course and Major Fair will be a great chance for you to explore your options and ask upperclassmen candid or clarifying questions in an informal setting.

Student representatives from academic departments will be available to answer questions about their major, present information about interesting classes in their field, and generally talk about their own experiences choosing a major. Remember, many majors require specific pre-requisites so the more informed you are about departments and courses, the better prepared you’ll be to take full advantage of your time at Haverford.


And did we mention there will be free chicken tenders and rice krispie treats?

For more information and advice about choosing a major visit the Academic Departments & Programs page and the Choosing a Major section of The Year After sophomore blog. 

Please Pardon Our Appearance


You may have noticed things are pretty quiet around here…. a little too quiet. We’re in the process of revamping and revising so please be patient as we use the fall break to work on the new blog.

In the meantime…

We need writers! Have an insight or advice you would like to share with the Sophomore class? Are you a sophomore willing to chronicle or share your experience this coming year? Want to share tips on how to balance between academic demands and nonacademic deadlines? Need a space to share the best food cart in Philly? Want to build an argument on why The Get Down is hands down the best thing to drop in 2016?

We are looking for guest bloggers and committed students to serve on the Year After Editorial Board. Please contact your interest to serve in either capacity to We look forward to hearing from you!


Studying Abroad- Let’s Start the Conversation!

Hi sophomores!

The Office of International Academic Programs is excited to have you back on campus and ready to help you plan your semester abroad! Now is the perfect opportunity to seriously consider if a semester or academic year overseas is right for you.

Here are some important questions you should ask yourself:

1. When would I go, if I did study abroad? (Fall/Spring? Full year program?)
One of the keys to studying abroad involves figuring out the best time during the school year for you to go. Sometimes, majors, minors, or concentrations involve a particularly crucial course that is available in one semester, and students are encouraged to plan their study abroad experience around this course. This is also true for sports (with active seasons), committees, and other clubs/jobs on campus. Talk to your advisor, your coach (if you play a sport), or other students with similar commitments to see how they consider study abroad. If you plan ahead, you CAN study abroad!

Other things to factor in are family commitments during the academic year, like weddings or important graduations to attend. You should also check out the academic calendar year of the country where you are considering studying. For example, in Germany, the fall semester runs through February. Check out our Program Descriptions to see the program start and end dates for each program.

2. What do I want to gain by going abroad that I couldn’t gain at Haverford?
Consider why you’d want to be traveling abroad, and what you want your goals to be. Can you accomplish your goals in the same way at Haverford as you would while abroad?Here are some ways that study abroad can transform and positively impact your college career. Which of these are important to you?

  • Language immersion
  • Fulfill language requirement in one semester (at some of the programs)
  • Specific courses (i.e. Nordic studies in Sweden)
  • Practice independence
  • Take a break from the routine, while still furthering your academic studies
  • International work/abroad experience
  • Studying abroad has significant career benefits, and will make you stand out in an interview

3. What kind of experience do I want?
The abroad programs available to Haverford students are diverse, and the kind of program that is best for you will not necessarily be the same as your friends’. Explore the Factors to Consider section of our FAQ to learn more about the different kinds, and also consider what each individual program may bring to the table– our Program Descriptions will include that information. Some programs may involve an international internship component that is integrated into the curriculum (so you’re going to school and interning at a company/organization), others promise a fully immersive language component where you can test your language skills every day. Others involve an intense single-course of study for students who are interested in delving into a single academic interest, or fulfilling a language requirement with courses in the host culture’s language.

4. How can I finance study abroad?
52% of all Haverford students who studied abroad last year were on financial aid. Studying abroad in certain countries is more expensive than in others.  If you would like to compare costs of living check out: There are many resources available to make the trip more affordable, and remember that your Haverford financial aid travels with you!

Mark your calendar!! Be sure to check our website and Facebook for a complete list of upcoming events:

Mandatory Information Session
Wednesday, September 14th
6:30 PM Stokes Auditorium
*All students studying abroad are required to attend one information session prior to studying abroad-start the process early and attend an information session!*
September 2016 information session


Study Abroad Fair
Saturday, October 29th
1:00-5:00 pm, First Floor Hallways of Stokes
Study Abroad Fair Flyer 2016

Mandatory Oxford, Cambridge, and London School of Economics Information Session
Thursday, November 10th
6:30 PM Gest 101
**If you are interested in attending one of these schools for the 2017-2018 academic year, you are required to attend this information session in order to be nominated!**
Oxford and Cambridge Info Session

Questions? Let’s talk! Attend a mandatory information session, send me an e-mail (, check out our website, stop by Chase 213 and pick up some program brochures, or come check out the incredibly helpful black binders. Write down all of those concerns/worries that you have, and let us help you sort things out. Remember, Dean Mancini and I are here to help you with the process, and there are tons of resources for you to use- all you have to do is ask!

Ps, Start applying for a passport now if you don’t already have one! Your passport must be valid 6 months AFTER your intended return date to be able to study abroad. Check your passport’s expiration date ASAP!