Today I want to talk about what it's been like to readjust to being at school and deliver some pointers for people who are enjoying their very first term at college.
It can be a rough transition sometimes, but this year it was a pretty easy immediate adjustment. Little physically changed about my campus during the summer and being back around my friends here has been very, very nice. It wasn't that I expected them to be completely different, or suddenly hate me, or something similar, but that I was afraid I had hyped them up in my head and imagined how much we had together. Nope, we still have a bunch of fun and we live together really well (as is probably noticeable by the last post).
On Making Time To Be Alone
I have a new roommate this year, but so far we live pretty well together! It's always hard going form having your own room to having to share one with someone else, and that's actually been a little rougher for me this year than it was last year. One thing I've started to do is make sure that I actually do take time to be alone. I don't mean ostracizing myself, but sometimes you just have to take advantage of the opportunity of being alone and enjoy it. If you're like me, an introvert, there are a few ways to make sure you get that time alone to recharge. Just ask. Yes, this is the hardest one to do so I'm going to start off with it. You can just ask your roommate(s) to let you have some time to yourself. Save this for when you have something major that you really, really, really need to be alone for and need them to vacate the room for. Or, let people know you need some alone time and carve out a space in the corner of your library. I'm sure there's room. Don't tell people where you're at. But don't do it in a way that would distress anyone. Seriously. Don't do this late at night, or when you're in an unfamiliar place. I do this during lunch sometimes or when I'm studying in the library. I'll get a group message that asks where everyone's at and I ignore it not to be mean but because I need recharge time. It happens, not very often, but it happens and it's okay and not that selfish if you need the time. Wake up early. College kids tend not to get up that early if they can avoid it. I used to be the same. But then I realized that by waking up at 7 or 8 in the morning, especially on weekends, I got something like 4 hours of alone time in the morning. I couldn't be super loud because I didn't want to wake people up, but I go out in the common area, or the library if it's open, and just enjoy the quiet and solitariness to do whatever I want. Artificial alone time. Basically, a white noise machine (or app. And brown noise is preferable if you ask me). Plug in and use it as background noise for whatever you're doing- reading, studying, homework, blogging, art, whatever. You may have another person in the room, or another several people, but it does a good job of fooling your brain into thinking you've got a little more space.
On Schoolwork and Studying
On Mondays and Fridays I have about 4 and a half hours of class. On Wednesdays it's more like 7 hours. Tuesdays are completely free for me, and Thursdays only have an hour and a half of class time. Overall, that's three classes that take up a total of 13 hours (if I did the math correctly). Going to class can get really arduous but so far so good. Going in is the best way I learn, so I try to force myself even when I don't want to. As far as studying and doing work outside of class entails, I try to work for three hours a day outside of classes on either homework or studying for tests. The only exceptions to this rule are Wednesdays, where I only dedicate two of my hours to homework, and Fridays, which I'm never that productive on after the last class gets out, where I dedicate no time at all to homework. Does this work? Well, I've managed to not only keep up on classes, but get slightly ahead, or at least ahead enough that certain levels of stress are taken off of every day. Will it work for you? It really depends on the number of classes you take and what the intensity of the classes call for. Try starting with three hours of time set aside each day and see how that gets you for a week. If you need more, keep track of how much more time you need.
I did take a two week break from blogging, and that's a nice cushion when adjusting back into classes, but I do wish I had taken an extra week. I think next year I might. We'll have to see. It isn't that hard to carve time into my day to blog as long as I keep up on everything. I don't let myself plan more than three things a day to really spend time blogging on, and only one of those three things can be writing a post so that I don't lose all my energy in one place. It works pretty well but it won't work for everyone. However you keep up on everything, do that. Falling behind can lead to overwhelming feelings and being overwhelmed can lead to quitting blogging. Don't be afraid to take some time away from the blog, or to start limiting what time you do spend on the blog. If you do find yourself starting to struggle, pick one day a week to sit down and dedicate an hour or two to blogging. If it's something you care about, don't let it fall by the wayside. I learned that the hard way. And this can be applied to things other than blogging, like art.
Food here sucks. Like, it really seriously sucks. I'm going to dedicate a whole post to talking about what you can do when your school has terrible food, but for now I'm going to give you the rundown of things I'm going to start trying to do in order to combat the crap food. Cooking my own meals. I don't have to go at this one alone thanks to my friends. We'll all be taking turns making meals and deserts and it's going to be a bunch of fun (I predict). Okay, so this is really the only plan I have at the moment. Which is why there will be another post about food coming at some point, though maybe not until the new year when everything has been figured out for sure.
On Dealing with Stress
Another post will be coming related to this topic as well, since I'm still figuring out how to deal with all my stress again. Reading is something that helps a lot, but I haven't had much time for that. Watching Youtube is another thing, but same with reading I have no time. It hasn't been overwhelming, perhaps because I do have a hand at navigating these waters, but I do slightly feel as if I'm on the edge of a tipping point and I'm a little afraid to fall off.
That's it for this week but I'll see you all in a few weeks. As always, if you ever have a specific question regarding college, or need any advice, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll make sure to answer either privately or on a post depending on what you want/need.