2019 is coming to an end, and I have had quite the year. This year has been full of stressful moments and mental growth, and I’m very ready for this decade to be over. While there have been many impactful moments this year, I would like to narrow things down to one thing in particular — my first semester of college!
I had taken a year off in order to work and save up money, so I started college a little later than most. While I was a little embarrassed to have started so late, I was still excited to start this new chapter of my life. Over the last three months, I have learned quite a few life hacks and general tips that I would like to share with all of you!
Coffee Is Your Best Friend (And Your Worst Enemy)
Don’t get me wrong, that bitter bean juice is my favorite part of the day, but after consuming it so often I had learned that there were more disadvantages than advantages to increasing your caffeine intake.
- There is the potential to worsen anxiety. I noticed a significant increase in panic attacks during these last three months than I have experienced in the last two years. If you’re a nervous wreck like me, then do yourself a favor and try to limit how much you drink each day.
- I had constant face twitches that were a terrible distraction. They were never very extreme, but definitely a general nuisance.
- My sleep schedule became a disaster. I could never fall asleep when I needed to, and I often found myself close to passing out in the middle of the day due to restless sleep. After just a week of drinking less coffee (because I could never give it up entirely), my sleep was already starting to improve.
I have to take extra good care of my health thanks to my heart condition, but that doesn’t mean someone in perfect health should be abusing caffeine either. Make sure to be aware of how much coffee or energy drinks you are consuming when you need that extra kick in order to get things done. If anything, take a quick power nap if you are able and then start back up afterward.
Learn To Manage Time
Now if you can’t drink copious amounts of caffeine in order to stay up and finish that paper that’s due soon, then how will you keep up? It’s fairly simple (after a bit of trial and error), but learning to manage your time can help get you a solid eight hours of sleep each night and also ensure there is a suitable amount of time to unwind with your latest read or newest video game.
My go-to method is to create time blocks and to-do lists for what I need to get done each day. It’s incredibly flexible and easy to move around if you need to. Each week I write out when an assignment or paper is due, and then I space things out evenly so I am never overwhelmed with too much work to do.
It’s mainly thanks to this practice of time management that I was able to spend the majority of my finals week in my room playing video games and manage to get all A’s. Instead of writing an entire paper in one go, I would start with an outline, and then draft it, and with the extra time, I would be able to read over and revise many times until I felt that it was perfect. Here’s a general list of my time management process:
- Write a to-do list of what needs to be done in a day. This helps me realize that what I need to get done isn’t as lengthy as I had anticipated. It takes a bit of the anxiety away when you realize that there isn’t actually that much that needs to get done.
- Set aside time that day to get the tasks done. Setting a time limit seems to take away my desire to procrastinate and I tend to get more work done overall.
- Cross of the tasks on the list as you go. This may just be me, but I enjoy watching the list quickly become completely crossed out. It becomes a bit of a game to me and I feel more motivated than if I had simply kept a general note of what needed to be done in my head.
I should mention that I am a workaholic that spends most of my time working anyway, so keep in mind that this method would probably only work out for people who just as crazy about working as I am.
Budgeting Is Very Important
As a full-time student, I only have the time to work part-time. With that in mind, I don’t make a lot of money and financial aid is only a temporary solution to a large amount of money needed to pay tuition and textbook fees.
So, in order to alleviate some of my monetary stress, I create budgets. It helps me see that while I don’t make a lot of money, there is still money that I can set aside for little treats for myself. I have used this monthly allowance to get things like bath bombs, tasty snacks, and new books. These budgets have given me the ability to still use a little retail therapy now and then to raise my spirits, and it also has kept me from spending my money recklessly.
Find An Outlet for Stress
I like to think that with the years of practice I’ve had that I have a solid ability to fight my stress and keep myself from burning out. Unfortunately, that is not the case. I’ve still found myself pushing past my limits to the point where I feel completely drained. It takes longer to recover from that intense burnout, and it is incredibly frustrating when I can’t be as productive as I want to be.
So, in order to combat the neverending stress that comes with living an adult life of any kind, I have a nice little activity that I can do. You can feel free to grab a paper and pencil so you can play along too!
First, write down a list of some things that make you happy. My list would be (in no particular order):
- Studio Ghibli movies
- Soundtracks from my favorite video games
- Any Harry Potter book/movie
Then look through the list, and see what on that list makes you feel the happiest at that moment. I would have to go with the soundtracks option because when I’m burnt out I have no desire to actually do anything. This way I can be carried away by the music and eventually get back into the flow of being productive again.
The overall takeaway is to just do what you love. While the lows can get rather intense for me, it is important to remember that these lows are just temporary things. There’s going to be another good day in the future, so do your best to trudge through the hard parts so you can get to that good day a bit quicker.
What was your favorite part of 2019? Mine would have to be my first day working at the library. Being able to lose myself in the stacks is my favorite part of the job, and I enjoy being able to help out other students with their research. I would love to hear more about your favorite memories of 2019 below!
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