Think back to a time when you were getting ready for a HOSA competitive event. You tried to study three times a week but things kept coming up; family dinners, birthday parties, other unforeseen circumstances, and sometimes you just needed a day off. You weren’t able to get that final study session in and on top of that you couldn't sleep the night before. Anxiety got the best of you and reminded you about all of the things that could go wrong. This is called competition anxiety, many people go through this, and it happens when your skills do not meet the requirements needed. A little anxiousness can be good and is in fact normal because it could potentially give you the push you need to tackle challenges. Uncontrolled anxiety can lead to a variety of bad outcomes if not managed well. There are sixty HOSA competitive events, and hundreds of students striving to win top ten and top three. It can get overwhelming when thinking about what you're up against, instead of focusing on your abilities and what you need to do to succeed.
Managing your time wisely, planning your study sessions, and maintaining consistency can help you reduce cumulative stress, which is a common trigger for anxiety. HOSA always has the competitive events guidelines up, meaning you can begin to study and practice whenever you choose. Time management should be a top priority at all times so you are not pulling all nighters the week of or cramming the day your event is scheduled to run. Your brain will not be able to retain that much information at once, so those sleepless nights you spent reading and re-reading the material would go down the drain. Instead of waiting until the last minute, build study methods that work for you. As a state officer, it was crucial to have top-tier and effective study methods that allowed me to work for long periods of time without getting distracted, tired, or burnt out.
My all-time favorite go-to, and most progressive study method was influenced by the Pomodoro Technique. When I tried out this studying technique it immediately increased my productivity and completely changed my outlook on long study sessions. The Pomodoro Technique starts off by having you choose a task you want to accomplish in preparation for your competitive event. Proceed by setting a timer on your computer or phone for twenty-five minutes, and tell yourself you will only be focused on that one specific task during that time. Continue to work diligently on that task until the timer runs out, then reward yourself with a five-minute break after time is up. This study method allows you to focus on one thing at a time; rather than feeling like the world is spinning and you don't know what to do, or where to start. The timer creates a sense of urgency which helps you focus on making progress towards your goal, while the breaks allow you to rest and prevent you from feeling burnt out. After about four twenty-five minute sets, increase your break time to ten minutes, this technique allowed me to retain and absorb information like a sponge!
Making sure you are prepared for your event is key. This includes preparation for the event itself and the trip. You need to jot down notes on your competitive event guidelines sheet over dress codes and materials needed. Printing out your guidelines sheets, writing questions you have on it, and carrying it around making sure you didn't miss anything is a better alternative to just pulling it up online and skimming through it. Missing the materials needed or not meeting the dress code guidelines can result in loss of points. No matter how well you know the material, skills, and requirements needed for the event you will not get a perfect score if not dressed and presented accordingly. In fact, some competitive events like EMT, offer bonus points for proper dress. In regards to packing, it is specialized to your school and how your chapter wants to handle it, but try to only bring what you will absolutely need. A helpful packing method is creating lists, one with only the necessities required for your event. Then make another list with things you might use to your benefit, such as flashcards, your laptop, and extra clothes if your business attire is compromised. Then finally, take into consideration the attractions around like gift shops. HOSA’s State leadership Conference is filled with stellar products and you might want to buy a souvenir or two to remember how good of a time you had.
You should enjoy every moment of HOSA’s State Leadership Conference, the journey there, the event itself, the interactive booths, and guest speakers. You won’t be able to get the proper State Leadership Conference experience if you are worrying about cramming for your event or looking for your ID. Being completely prepared will reduce stress, which in turn reduces competition anxiety. This allows you to perform to the best of your ability and lead us towards a better tomorrow!