Monday, September 30, 2013

Controlling Textbook Costs at RSC

Monica Castellano, RSC instructional designer
Increases in the price of text books and course materials have outpaced the rising cost of tuition by as much as seven percent in the past five years.

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ Consumer Price index, on average, tuition has gone up by 24% since 2008 while books and supplies have experienced a 31% increase.

 In its effort to provide accessible and affordable education, Rio Salado College has implemented a variety of solutions aimed at lowering the costs of course materials.

One way Rio Salado reduces costs is by using royalty-free content. For example, literature that was created prior to 1923 is in the public domain and no longer subject to copyright. Using text selections from the public domain and a college-provided database subscription, course designers at Rio Salado were able to create a textbook for Early American Literature (ENH241) that is completely cost-free.

Other courses are designed using open educational resources (OER) made available through creative commons licensing. OER materials like the ones used in Massively Open Online Courses (MOOC) allow students to access digital materials online, eliminating the need for a textbook altogether.

Using the same book for multiple courses is another Rio Salado practice that can save students money. Students taking progressive levels of Calculus will use the same book for MAT 221, 231, and 241. Additionally, the textbook used in these three classes is custom built in partnership with Pearson PLC as a part of the Rio Salado College Textbook Savings Program. Not only do students save on the overall cost of the book, but they are able to re-use the same book across multiple classes.

“Rio Salado faculty and administration are sensitive to the costs for students,” said RSC Instructional Designer Monica Castellano. “One important way we have addressed that is to actively pursue a custom Pearson text whenever possible, so that students in those classes get the savings benefit. In fact, there is an emphasis on trying to use textbooks that are part of the textbook savings programs for our highest enrollment courses.”

Keeping costs low is important, and the college does what it can to address the issue without sacrificing the quality of education.

“Decisions regarding required text and course materials are made by residential faculty before course design begins. Materials are chosen based on what will best address the knowledge and skills being taught by the class,” Castellano said. “Having said that, if a publisher bundles software and peripheral activities with the text, our faculty does consider the overall cost savings to students versus something like a subscription based resource.”

It’s also important to note the impact of the college’s one course many sections model in reducing costs for students.

“Where other colleges might only have a few instructors build their courses to utilize free or low-cost materials, at Rio Salado the decision is scalable to every student,” Castellano said. “Since there is only one set of materials used in all of the sections for given course, management for faculty services and the bookstore is also simplified.

In addition to institutional efforts to lower the price of course materials, students can also take steps to lower their own costs. Used books can be purchased for a fraction of the retail price, and the Rio Salado bookstore offers both rental and sell-back options for students who don’t want to keep their books when their class is over.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Maricopa Foundation Scholarship Applications Now Available

The Maricopa Colleges Foundation will accept applications for Spring 2014 scholarships now through October 31. Students can browse available scholarships by visiting the Scholarship Tracking And Review System (STARS) website and clicking the Scholarships tab. Educational funds are available for a variety of qualifications including:
  • Single Parent 
  • Veterans
  • University Transfer
  • Dental Program
  • Sustainability
  • AZ Retirees 
  • Much more... 

The Maricopa Community Colleges Foundation is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization designated by the Maricopa County Community College District to receive and manage gifts on behalf of its ten colleges, two skill centers and multiple satellite centers. The Foundation actively seeks contributions from a variety of public and private sources including individuals, corporations and other foundations. It acts as a trustee for donations to assure that gifts are distributed in the manner specified by the donor.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

KJZZ's SPOT 127 Receives Student Production Emmy Nominations

Story submitted by KJZZ Public Relations Coordinator Annette Flores
KJZZ’s Youth Media Center SPOT 127 officially opened its doors in November 2012, but the participants are already turning heads in the television industry!

Last week, the Rocky Mountain Southwest Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences nominated two SPOT 127 videos for Student Production Emmy Awards. The category is Arts and Entertainment/ Cultural Affairs.

The nominated video projects were produced by four high school students living in the Maryvale area, neither of whom had any previous experience in video production. The features are The Heart of Dance and Teenagers Coming Out. You can view both now by visiting the SPOT home page.

We are incredibly proud of the hard work that all of our participants have put into these projects,” said SPOT 127 Director Greg Pereira. “Their work would not be possible without the support of our colleagues at the Division of Public Service, Rio Salado College and our program partners so this really a win for all of us.”

NATAS will announce the winners during a formal ceremony on Oct. 10.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Knowledge Commons Open House Sept. 30

You’re Invited to an Open House!
Come and see Rio’s new Knowledge Commons
Tower @ Rio – 5th Floor
Monday, Sept. 30, Noon – 1 p.m.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Noon 

Did you know: The Rio Knowledge Commons combines the Library, Computer Lab, and Tutoring departments in a shared space.

Enjoy cookies and drinks as you view our beautiful new location!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Academic Advisement Now Available at RSC Downtown

Advisor Patti Blanco will meet with students at RSC Downtown to plan their classes and degree plan. 
Rio Salado College continues to expand its services beyond the Tempe campus by offering academic advising, counseling and testing a variety of Valley locations. The RSC Downtown, on 7th Avenue between McKinley and Fillmore Streets, is the latest to begin offering in-person academic advisement on all RSC certificate and degree programs.
Visit to see all Rio Salado College locations with available in-person advising. 

To schedule an appointment with Patti Blanco, please call (480)377-4050. RSC Downtown is located at 619 N. 7th Avenue Phoenix, AZ 85007.
Story submitted by Michael Murphy, Interim Assistant Director of Academic Advising at Rio Salado College. 

Saturday, September 21, 2013

The Economical Education

September is national “College Savings Month” and these days a month focused on savings can be appreciated by all.

But simply having a month dedicated to saving money on college doesn't necessarily make it an easy task to accomplish.

It seems the cost of everything is on the rise, and our money trees in the backyard aren’t growing any faster, so for those looking to complete their degrees, it might seem financially daunting.

But don’t worry, there is light at the end of the tunnel, or at least a ladder so you don’t get stuck in a hole of looming debt.

Online Learning = Savings

First off, students who do their first two years at a Maricopa Community College save an average of $7,000 a year on tuition costs compared to state universities in Arizona. That is because tuition is only $81 credit for Maricopa County residents.

Second, online students don’t have to pay for a daily commute because classes can be attended from the comfort of your own home, or anywhere with an internet connection.

Rio Salado Student
Alanna Gittens
“I like the fact that Rio Salado is affordable,” said student Alanna Gittens, a mother of two who is taking general education classes while pursuing a career as a registered nurse. “With today’s economy, and the gas and housing prices, online classes are definitely convenient.”

Online students also avoid the added cost of buying an on-campus parking pass, which can be very expensive and needs to be re-purchased every semester.

Third, students can live anywhere and still take online classes, meaning students won’t need to worry about how close to campus they live.

The freedom to live anywhere allows for a fairer rent price and many times, better amenities.

Students can also have a job while they go to school without the stress of trying to schedule work in between classes.

This is because online classes allow you to create your own schedule and are very flexible should something come up last minute.

Other Ways to Save

While expenses can still pile up, there are ways to manage what you spend and keep your per diem to a minimum to help ensure that getting an education doesn’t break the bank.

Eating out can be expensive, especially for students who don't know how to cook or feel uncomfortable with the idea.

You can take some cooking classes at your local community college or take a few minutes to watch some instructional YouTube videos to get some inspiration.

Learning how to cook on a budget can be a great way to save some money and has life-long pay offs.

And when it comes to clothes, it’s now chic to go to the local thrift shop and pop some tags off their wardrobe selection.

Times may be difficult, but that doesn’t mean you need to put yourself too far behind financially while you work to get ahead in your education.

This story can also be found in the Sept. 21 edition of The Tempe Republic.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Follett Scholarship Helps Pay for Books

Students can get help paying for textbooks through the Follett Scholarship at Rio Salado College. Students with an academic history at RSC and a 2.0 GPA can apply for the scholarship by submitting an essay of no more than 500 words specifying why the money is needed.

The Follett Scholarship is intended to be accessible and to provide students with an opportunity to succeed. Students are encouraged to apply as soon as possible, as this open-ended scholarship is on a first come, first served basis.

Award amounts are based on demonstrated need and enrollment status. For more information visit the Maricopa Community Colleges Scholarships website.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Library New Titles: The Cuckoo's Calling is here!

The new crime fiction novel by J. K. Rowling, published under the pseudonym "Robert Galbraith," is now available at the Rio Salado College Library. Check out the complete list of new titles below:


Blind Justice by Anne Perry

Claire of the Sea Light by Edwidge Danticat

The Cuckoo's Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling)

Daughters of Mars: A Novel by Thomas Keneally

Flora: A Novel by Gail Godwin

The Kill List by Frederick Forsyth

Motherland: A Novel by William Nicholson

Poppet by Mo Hayder

Then We Take Berlin: A Novel by John Lawton

Your are One of Them: A Novel by Elliott Holt


Anne Frank: The Biography by Melissa Muller

Asperger's Syndrome Workplace Survival Guide: A Nuerotypical's Guide to Success by Barbara A. Bissonette

Breaking Out: How to Build Influence in a World of Competing Ideas by John Butman

Do You Believe in Magic?: The Sense and Nonsense of Alternative Medicine by Paul A. Offit

Double Double: A Dual Memoir of Alcoholism by Martha Grimes and Ken Grimes

Gifts from the Garden: 100 Gorgeous Homegrown Presents by Debora Robertson and Yuki


Matthew Brady: Portraits of a Nation by Robert Wilson

The Storied South: Voices of Writers and Artists by William R. Ferris

To the End of June: The Intimate Life of American Foster Care by Cris Beam

Why Teach?: In Defense of a Real Education by Mark Edmundson


Great Museums

Kind Hearted Woman

This list is updated throughout the month as new books arrive. To view the archive of new titles from previous months please visit the Rio Salado College Library website. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Constitution Week Highlighted at RSC

On September 17 citizens of the United States of America will celebrate the 226th anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution. When the Constitution was signed in 1787, the population of the United States was 4 million people; today it is nearly 314 million people. Thomas Jefferson, founding father, and third President of the United States said that in order for the country and its citizens to maintain their freedoms, people need to be educated and informed.

As an educational institution, Rio Salado College not only prepares students for successful careers, but helps them learn about the government and their role as citizens.

“Responsible civic engagement can only be achieved with an in-depth understanding of the contents and foundational political concepts that are imbedded in the U.S. Constitution,” said Rio Salado College Social Sciences Faculty Chair Patricia Case, Ph.D.

She went on to say that while the media plays an important role in keeping people updated on what is going on, it is necessary to have a firm understanding of the Constitution and how government works.

The college offers political science classes focused on the U.S. Constitution. It also offers courses in U.S. government for students who want to better understand the history of the United States.

Being actively engaged in something, whether it is politics, the community, or a cause can bring a sense of fulfillment to individuals and it can also lead to positive change, according to John Bastian, coordinator for Student Life & Leadership at Rio Salado College.

The Constitution guarantees that people are free to assemble for a cause, free to speak and express themselves, and to work for the improvements they may seek in their own life or in their community.

Students might want to “express their views and to give voice to those beliefs and ideas that are important to them,” Bastian said.

He said that through classes, campus groups and initiatives students can learn how to be engaged in a democracy. Education about the Constitution and the U.S. Government can strengthen any student or citizen regardless of what degree they seek or academic discipline they have chosen.

In support of Constitution Day, Rio Salado College will also make available pocket-sized copies of the U.S. Constitution for pick up at all of its locations throughout Maricopa County while supplies last.

Written by Matt Loper

Monday, September 16, 2013

What to Expect From A Career Counselor

Submitted by Rio Salado College Counselor Autumn Cardott 

Rio Salado College Career Counselors help students with both career and personal issues. They help students find rewarding career paths by giving them the research tools and resources necessary to make wise and informed decisions. Career Counselors also assist students with personal issues that may influence their educational goals, grades, and career path.

Career Counselors help students:
  • Discover career interests and natural abilities.
  • Take career assessments.
  • Develop resume and interview skills.
  • Research various majors and educational paths.
  • Manage time and stress.
  • Manage emotions related to school and career choice.
Although it is ultimately up to the individual to research, learn and take action toward their future career, a Rio Salado career counselor will assist with the career choice process and provide helpful feedback and information.

Career Counselors Help With:

Increase self-awareness
Exploring interests, skills, and abilities through classes or assessments
Addressing personal concerns as well as managing time and stress
Questioning your future and career direction
Make decisions
Knowing ‘what you need to know’ to decide
Learning how to make educational decisions
Equipping students with skills to make decisions that will lead to success in college and their future career

Saturday, September 14, 2013

New Faculty Chairs add to Rio Salado’s Teaching Core

Rio Salado College welcomes three new residential faculty chairs this fall.

Holly Harper, M.Ed.

Holly Harper, Faculty Chair for Dental Programs, is a walking example of Rio Salado’s mission to serve working adults. Harper earned her bachelor’s degree in health science 26 years after graduating from Temple University with an associate degree in dental hygiene.

“I know first-hand what it is like to return to school as an adult learner working full time,” Harper said.

Harper decided to pursue a career in dental hygiene while in high school.

“My high school was vocational based,” Harper said. “I had great mentors and teachers in the dental assisting program, and was hooked after that.”

Harper began her teaching career at Rio Salado in 2008, so coming back as faculty chair was like a homecoming.

“I am so excited to be back,” Harper said. “The faculty are great. Everyone has been so helpful and welcoming. I feel like I am home!”

Rosslyn R. Knight, M.Ed.
Rosslyn R. Knight, Faculty Chair for Reading, is no stranger to Rio Salado College. Knight has taught in the Maricopa Community College District as an adjunct for the past 10 years, and has been in the education field for 20 years.

“I began my professional career teaching English to adults in Sierra Leone, West Africa,” Knight said. However, she began teaching even earlier.

“When I was in eighth grade, my mom ran a preschool out of our home,” Knight said. “When I came home from school every day, my job was to teach basic Spanish to the children. I was so intrigued by the whole process of teaching and learning, I decided then that teaching was my calling!”

Knight enjoys teaching in the online environment at Rio Salado.

“As an instructor, I like the flexibility that online learning allows,” Knight said. “For students that may have many responsibilities, it allows them a way to participate when it is convenient for their schedule.”

Corey Pruitt, M.S.
As Faculty Chair for Communications, Corey Pruitt brings a wealth of communications experience and knowledge to his new position, as well as a true passion for the discipline.

“I have always been fascinated by how people communicate, even when they think they are not communicating,” Pruitt said. “Communication impacts all areas of our lives. If we were more effective at communication, it would positively impact our relationships, businesses, and families.”

Pruitt pursued teaching to help others be more successful in a flexible learning environment.

“Online learning combines the rich experience of the instructor with the latest technology and easy access for an enhanced learning environment,” Pruitt said.

As for using technology as a communication tool, Pruitt is on board.

“I connect with my students by sending welcome videos and answering many of their emails with video email responses or Screenshare responses,” Pruitt said. “I figure, if the student can ‘see’ me talking, they can see my smile, hear my laugh, and know that I am here to support them in their journey.”

This story can also be found in the September 14 edition of the Tempe Republic. 

Friday, September 13, 2013

RSC Northern Hosts US Department of Education Assistant Secretary Brenda Dann-Messier

DoEAssistant Secretary  Brenda Dann-Messier and
Rio Salado College President Chris Bustamante
 listen as students share their experiences.
US Department of Education Assistant Secretary for Vocational and Adult Education Brenda Dann-Messier visited Rio Salado College Northern last night to sit down with students, adult education leaders and policy makers. Dann-Messier's visit was part of the 2013 "Strong Start, Bright Future" Back to School bus tour being conducted by US Secretary of Education Arne Duncan.

Dann-Messier began her visit by observing and visiting with students in a Student Success Seminar. She then led a roundtable discussion by asking each participant about the challenges they faced and the type of support they needed to be successful.

"I am here to listen and learn," Dan-Messier said.

Rio Salado College Bridge Pathway students, Ashley Haas-Bazzi, Darrellen Birzer, and Stephanie Carroll were the first to share their experiences.

Haas-Bazzi is a recent graduate of the Integrated Basic Education Skills Training (IBEST) program in Dental Assisting Technology. She earned 24 credits in dental assisting technology while simultaneously preparing for her GED.

"There were a lot of ups and downs," Haas-Bazzi said, "but with the help of other students and the instructors I was able to make it through."

Birzer is a participant in the Adults Achieving a College Education (ACE) scholarship program as well as an IBEST graduate. Birzer is currently working in a dental office and plans to become a dental hygienist.

"I got started when my kids were in school," Birzer said. “I’m now working toward an associate degree and hope to get in a dental hygienist program."

Carroll, who was Rio Salado’s 2013 GED Graduation speaker, stressed the importance of being a role model for her children and the opportunity to have a second chance.

"I am pursuing a degree in elementary education, and my kids now want to go to college too," Carroll said.

Dann-Messier also heard from adult education as well as local community and government leaders on the importance of collaborative partnerships, education funding and the future of adult education in Arizona.

As the meeting came to a close, Dann-Messier shared her own thoughts on the matter.

"We need to view education as an investment, not an expense," Dann-Messier said. “We need to increase the capacity to provide high quality services. We need to make sure the message is clear that there are pathways for adults to go on to college."

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Arabic & Arabic Humanities Subject Guide Now Available

The Rio Salado Library is proud to introduce the Arabic (ARB) & Arabic Humanities (AHU) Subject Guide. The guide provides links to key library and Web resources for Arabic and Arabic Humanities students. These resources are arranged by topic so that students can instantly access the information they need the most:
  • Arabic Media & Culture
  • Books and eBooks
  • Newspapers & Magazines
  • Countries, Cultures & Customs
  • Biographies
  • Videos & Images
  • Citation Help
  • Arabic Web Resources
Developed by Kirstin Thomas, Instructional Coordinator for the Library, this subject-specific guide is designed to be a one-stop shop for all of your ARB and AHU related research needs.

Questions/comments about the guide? Contact

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

MCFFA Scholarship Deadline Approaches

The October 15 application deadline for Maricopa Community Colleges Faculty Association's Fall 2013 Academic Scholarship is fast approaching. In order to qualify for the $250 and $500 award, students are asked to demonstrate a specific need, an academic goal, and provide details on how the scholarship funds will help them give back to their community.

Scholarship Criteria:
  • Applicant must be enrolled at a Maricopa County Community College or Skill Center. 
  • Applicant must have a minimum GPA of 2.5.
  • Applicant must be currently enrolled in at least 6 credit hours.
  • Applicant must submit a completed application form with two faculty signatures. 
Applications and additional information can be found on the MCCFA website. Please direct questions to Melanie Abts (

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Creative Job Hunting Class Now Available

Rio Salado College Students and graduates currently in the market for a new job may want to consider taking Creative Job Hunting (CPD102AC). The two-credit elective offers a comprehensive approach that teaches the strategic elements of a job search and addresses the psychological strain of prolonged unemployment.

The creative job hunting class is best suited for recent graduates or job seekers who have an immediate desire to start working.

"This is not a career planning course,” said instructor Kamela Craig. “This class is for recent graduates or other community members who already know what kind of work they want to do."

According to Craig, the course teaches students to be better communicators so that they can not only write better resumes and cover letters, but they can also perform better in an interview. Students gain confidence and become more comfortable with the interview process through simulated interviews. Craig said she believes this helps students identify their strengths and weaknesses in an interview setting.

"As with anything, practice makes perfect," Craig said. "For the final, students set up a mock interview with an employer to practice their answers and receive feedback in a pressure-free environment." She added, “I think the mock interview can be an 'ah-ha' moment for many students."

With an online delivery format and flexible Monday starts, attending the creative job hunting classes does not have to interfere with the actual job hunt. Participants can expect to learn how to create a job search plan, write a compelling resume and cover letter, use social networking to find job leads, deal with stress to stay motivated, and stay calm during an interview.

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Transforming Adult Basic Education in Arizona

RSC Northern Student
Amanda Qualls
RSC Associate Dean
Blair Liddicoat
As the largest provider of adult basic education in the state, serving 10,000 students each year, Rio Salado College is leading the way for preparing Arizonans for career and educational success.

Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways offers several programs that give adults access to educational opportunities through STAR-PATH (Successful Talented Adults at Rio-Practice, Analytics, Technology, and Help), a five-tiered college and career student support model that acts as a bridge to post-secondary education.
  • Adult Basic and Secondary Education - In-person classes for students who did not complete high school and high school graduates who need to review basic academic skills.
  • Adults Achieving a College Education (AACE) - A scholarship-based college and career preparation program for adults, 16-years-of-age or older who are ready to commit to completing a degree, certificate, or workforce training program.
  • English Language Acquisition for Adults (ELAA) – In-person classes for legal residents who are 16 years or older. Classes focus on listening, speaking, reading and writing the English language.
  • GED Preparation – In-person and online classes designed to help students prepare for their General Educational Development (GED) high school diploma equivalency exam.
  • Integrated Basic Education and Skills Training (IBEST) – A program offering students skills needed in various career paths while also providing instruction for the GED exam.
“Rio Salado College’s Adult Basic Education program has made drastic and deliberate changes this past year to ensure continued student success,” said Blair Liddicoat, associate dean of adult basic education.

The major change was restructuring College Bridge Pathways as a way to serve the entire pre-college community.

“The program has expanded its focus on GED completion to include post-secondary enrollment and career attainment,” Liddicoat said. “We introduce students to college and career pathways the first time they walk through the doors and reinforce it as they make progress toward attaining their GED.”

Other changes include implementing the STAR-PATH model at all Rio Salado College locations and aligning College Bridge Pathways programs to follow best practices already implemented for other college services.

“STAR-PATH helped me see where I was and how much work I needed to do to get my GED,” said student Amanda Qualls. “I wasn’t having any luck finding a job and I knew that not finishing high school was holding me back.

Qualls earned her GED in May, and is currently enrolled in community college classes to pursue her goal of becoming a physical therapist.

“Rio Salado is an awesome choice to receive help in getting your GED,” Qualls said. “The Student Success Seminar helps you understand the program and once in class, the teachers are a big help in your success.”

Rio Salado’s College Bridge Pathways programs are offered in-person and through hybrid classroom instruction at locations valleywide.

Classes are provided using multiple resources including the Arizona Department of Education, Adult Education Services, Arizona Department of Corrections and through multiple profit and non-profit organizations.

For more information visit

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

NAU Representative On Site at Cafe at Rio Thursdays Throughout September

NAU Transfer Specialist Erica Collins typically meets with Rio Salado College students in the Academic Advisement office on Thursdays. Throughout September, she is taking it to the people by setting up near the CafĂ© at Rio every Thursday from 11 a.m. until noon.  Rio students and staff, as well as District Office staff and the general public are encouraged to stop by and discuss how to best transfer Maricopa coursework into an NAU upper division program.

NAU offers a number of programs which allow Maricopa County Community College District students to transfer up to 90 credits. This means students can complete three years of a four-year degree at MCCCD tuition rates. Many NAU programs are available online, so in some cases Rio Salado students can complete an entire degree program from home!

Students who prefer to sit down and talk to Erica individually, can still make an appointment to see her in the Academic Advisement office Thursdays before or after her Cafe at Rio visit. Call, email or stop by Academic Advisement to make an appointment with Erica, or to speak to a Rio advisor about a class or program anytime!

Story submitted by Michael Murphy, Interim Assistant Director of Academic Advisement at Rio Salado College. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Resource Guide for Spanish Language Courses Now Available

The Rio Salado Library is proud to introduce the Spanish (SPA) Student Resource Guide.  The guide provides links to key library and Web resources for Spanish students. These resources are arranged by topic so that students can instantly access the information they need the most:
  • Spanish Media & Culture
  • Books & eBooks
  • Newspapers & Magazines
  • Countries, Cultures & Customs
  • Biographies
  • Videos & Images
  • Citation Help
  • Spanish Web Resources

Developed by Kirstin Thomas, Instructional Coordinator for the Library, this subject-specific guide is designed to be a one-stop shop for all of your Spanish related research needs.

Questions/comments about the guide? Contact

Monday, September 2, 2013

Stress Management: Handling Stress

Submitted by Rio Salado College Counselor Ethel Tease

Stress can be managed to live a healthier and more productive lives. Stress is a state that everyone will encounter during the course of a lifetime. Stress occurs when a person believes that the requirements necessary to do something — such as excelling in school, building relationships, or work expectations go beyond the ability to manage.

Experiencing a little stress can be good. It helps to keep focus, energy, and motivation to get through situations perceived to be overwhelming. However, too much stress can cause students to become immobile.

When students feel overwhelmed and stressed there is a tendency to do nothing or choose unhealthy coping strategies such as food, alcohol or drugs. These coping strategies can magnify and lead to other serious problems.

There are many ways to control stress; however, because everyone is unique, the key to handling stressors is to identify strategies that work for each individual. Trying out various strategies, will help students become aware of what works for them and what is the most effective method to control the stress they are experiencing.

Here are some tips that will help students to cope more effectively:

  • Choose to be positive. What we tell ourselves has a great deal to do we how we react to a situation.
  • Become aware and accept that we cannot control every event in our life.
  • Be assertive. Act assertive by expressing feelings and beliefs rather than showing aggressive behaviors such as anger, defensiveness, and/or passivity).
  • Learn and practice relaxation techniques (yoga, meditation, etc.).
  • Exercise because it helps the body to fight stress.
  • Be sure to incorporate a healthy, well-balanced eating regiment in your life.
  • Learn to say no to requests that create more stress in your life.
  • Make time for yourself. Take a break from the stressor. Give yourself permission to take a mental vacation from the situation. It will give you a new perspective.
  • Get enough sleep and rest. It will help the body to recover from stressful events.
  • Smile and laugh. It can help to relieve the tension.
  • Identify social support. Talking to someone that you trust and who understands can help to relieve the tension. 

Finally, Rio Salado offers several tools that can help students to cope with the stress in their lives. Take the online Stress Management Workshop to learn more about how to handle stress and contact the Counseling Department  to meet with a professional who is trained to help with stressful circumstances.