Wake up, go to class, attend extra-curricular meetings, work an on-campus job, call my off-campus job to tell them I’ll be running a little late, do homework, go to sleep, repeat for the next four days. This constant running from place to place has become a normal routine in my chaotic life. I wonder so much of the time, why do I do this to myself? Working one less job wouldn’t hurt me and I could always cut back on the extra-curricular activities.
But no. I am woman, I can do it all. On top of that, I can even have a social life. At least, that’s what I tell myself when I’m awake at 2 am finishing a homework assignment that I didn’t have time to do during normal human hours.
As a college senior with any hope of having a successful future after graduation, I am constantly torn between writing that five page paper and eating a meal that isn’t either cooked in a microwave or cereal. As much as I enjoy Frosted Flakes, sometimes real food is just top priority.
Then, if you factor in procrastination because you just can’t find it in yourself to do any more work that day, suddenly it’s almost morning and you have an exam at 8:30 am that you haven’t studied for yet. It seems like 24 hours just isn’t enough time in the day.
As young adults, we have to make some time to break our mundane and exhausting routine for a little rest and relaxation—and to ensure that our social lives don’t go down the drain before winter break. So what keeps us going full steam ahead during the hectic months of September-May?
Caffeine. Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Rook all know my face and some of them even know my order. Having a Keurig coffee maker both at home and in one of the offices I work in is a life saver as well, because when it’s 10 p.m. in the middle of an assignment with three pages to go you’ll do anything to keep your eyes open. I used to take my coffee with plenty of milk and Splenda but now it comes straight out of the pot and into my cup sans milk and sweetener. If I could inject the stuff straight into my veins I would strongly consider it.
The weekends. Sure, most of us still have part time jobs we’re expected to be at and homework to be done by Monday morning but if we’re lucky, we have a couple of hours to ourselves. Whether it’s sitting down for a meal with your family or meeting up with a few friends for yet, more coffee, we cherish every minute that we’re not obligated to anything or anyone before the pre-Monday depression begins on Sunday night.
Seeing your friends. Since so many of us work weekends, school is one of the few places we see our friends and classmates. Sometimes just seeing the faces of people in your classes is comforting because we’re all in the same boat. Sure we’re stressed, but we’re stressed together. Also, they can tell you stories about their weekend work experiences and you can share yours, because if you work in retail like many college students, you know something weird is going to happen at least once during your extra long Saturday shift.
Future incentives. With work comes reward, right? Maybe you promise to treat yourself to a manicure or a couple hours of Netflix binging if you get that one assignment done by Thursday night. Or maybe—just maybe—you will allow yourself to go out one night next weekend. It could be something as small as downloading an album you’ve been meaning to listen to for a month now, but be sure to treat yourself. If there is no incentive, eventually you’re going to stop caring and putting effort into the work you have to get done.
Winter break. Just one month and three days until Christmas break! A whole month where you have no classes to attend and relaxation is futile. Maybe you made plans to go on a trip or maybe you plan on never leaving your couch after all of the running around you did during the semester. Regardless of your plans, they don’t include classes or homework and there is no sweeter feeling. You will have just enough time to de-stress before returning for the spring semester, where the seemingly endless cycle will repeat.
Fourteen weeks of classes can seem like four years sometimes, but other times it will feel like it was just last week that you sat down for syllabi and class introduction day. Either way, you will look back at the end of your four years and think to yourself, “that was it?” In the moment, time may feel like it’s at a standstill, but in the end, they mean it when they say college flies by, throwing you into adulthood as gently as it can.
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