Hello, everyone! It’s raining and freezing where I’m at right now, but happy Monday! If you are also in school, you know what time it is: midterm season. Sigh – this annual stress fest always seems to sneak up on me, and I’m never quite prepared for it.
I’m incredibly happy to be in school, I am enjoying all of my classes, and I am not typically a stressful person. Yet, something about college is just very different from high school. Maybe it’s the fact that I’m in charge of so much more of my life – my parents can’t come and take care of me when I’m sick, or make sure I get to work on time, or help me book appointments anymore. Maybe it’s that I’m constantly surrounded by amazing, ambitious, competitive peers 24/7. Maybe it’s just that it’s February, it’s cold, and I’m craving some Vitamin D.
Whatever this “it factor” is, however, one thing is for certain: I have never been more grateful for my calendar till now.
I am a planner. I thrive off of knowing exactly where I’ll be, at what time, with which people, doing what thing. Routine relaxes me, and helps me focus on the task at hand, rather than worrying about what lies ahead.
As it is midterm season, in additional to my daily classes, my work schedule, my extracurriculars, etc., I’m also having to make a time slot every day for extra review. My classes are top-ranked and curved, so at first I was setting aside four hour time slots to cram all the information I needed into my brain. I had to succeed!! I needed to become a superhuman!! Ah!!!!!!!!!!!
This resulted in a mini burnout last week and me calling my parents to ask how much they would actually mind if I dropped out of college and became a hobo.
Why? Because I kept alternating between actually intensely studying, and worrying about studying as I did everything but study. I would need a break from derivatives, but I kept pushing through and ignoring my intuition, leading me to feel exhausted and miserable. I would take that break, and it would turn into a three hour long Youtube spiral. Right now, though, I’m in a MUCH better state of mind. How did I accomplish this?
I’ve scheduled time to study and time to chill, and I’ve placed them in equal importance in my calendar.
When I’m studying (2 hour blocks, woo-hoo!) now, I only focus on studying, and I feel a lot more relaxed and energized because I know that I’m only going to concentrate for two hours. I can see the light at the end of the proverbial tunnel, so to speak.
Likewise, when I’m relaxing, one hour for every two hours of studying, I don’t even THINK about schoolwork, emails, exams, fees, deadlines, etc. I just stretch, read my book, make myself some instant noodles, and let my brain take a breather.
In order to have a good work-school-life balance, you need to actually have balance. In today’s highly-driven society, where people regularly brag about pulling all-nighters and working eight hour shifts without stopping, it’s easy to look down on the idea of chilling and daydreaming. But those moments are just as necessary for our mental health and well-being as being productive, and we shouldn’t forget to schedule them into our lives.