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I speak to college women, most often as part of Panhellenic Council programming, about how many high-achieving college women and sorority women feel “a little OCD” and what they can do about it.

We all fall somewhere on an OCD spectrum. That’s exactly why my strategies can help anyone, young women very much included, interact with thoughts in an entirely new way. They’ll conserve energy and brain-power to stay curious, focus on figuring out what they’re most interested in, and get the most out of the college experience.

Today’s college women are more ambitious and goal-oriented than ever before. Many college women pride themselves on how involved they are. The students I’m talking about are the ones who often have resumes that are already two pages before senior year.  Most college women can’t remember the last time they turned off their phones (not counting incidents where their phones got wet) and most of them use their cell phones as alarm clocks. Thus, they sleep with their phones on and somewhere close to their heads.  In more ways than one, college women are always on.

College women’s non-stop schedules and high expectations for their own productivity and success can cause some anxiety. In some cases, this anxiety can look or feel a little bit like OCD, whether that takes the form of excessive list-making, color-coding their iCals, scheduling themselves to be busy at every available moment, or having repetitive thoughts or worries that don’t respond to logic (or deep breathing).  Many young women study excessively, because they want certainty that they’ll get the GPA they want or that they’ll be competitive in the job market.  But the extent to which they put pressure on themselves does them a disservice.

After my talk, female students will walk away having learned:

That it’s great that college women are so ambitious and goal-oriented.  The key is to not run oneself into the ground or take things so seriously that they stop being fun—or that the quality of your work declines.

How college women can decipher if something that they are stressed about is rational or irrational. I encourage college women to ask themselves, “In a room of 100 young women my age, how many would be stressed by this situation?”  This usually provides an instant dose of perspective.

How to make yourself comfortable! Women college students don’t make much time for “downtime”—in fact, some may even avoid it or find that short periods of unstructured time make them panicky.  I encourage college women to schedule downtime, and to have a list of things they can do that are enjoyable and that charge their batteries, when they have ten minutes, when they have 20 minutes, and when they have 40 minutes.


The Alabama Panhellenic Association was incredibly excited to host Liz Funk as a guest speaker. She did an amazing job at directly touching on many of the struggles millennial women feel about always needing to be involved and active. Liz taught us the importance of learning how to incorporate self fulfilling personal time into our daily schedule in order to make sure we aren’t consumed by so much stress and anxiety we can not complete tasks as well as we could. Her humor, honesty, and experience, allowed the audience to feel safe to express their concerns and encouraged to find solutions for the future.

– Emma Farrow, Westlake Village, CA

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Liz Funk came to speak at Saint Leo University on March 7th. She spoke with our Panhellenic Council about maintaining work/life balance and finding ways to be successful while finding time to recharge. As our students are high achieving and hard working they sometimes find it difficult to find time for themselves, so Liz’s program was a breath of fresh air for our sororities to know that their well-being and happiness need to come first. We’d love to work with Liz in a future date, as our leaders always need to be reminded that it’s ok to take some time for themselves!

– Thomas Martin, assistant director of Greek life and community engagement, St. Leo University

Interested in learning more?

Please reach out to me. I look forward to discussing delivering a presentation for your organization that will help your female students harness any anxiety they experience and leverage it to be more creative, more productive, and more positive.

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