Here’s the deal. I’m on my 6th year of post secondary education, I have a three year college degree in Child & Youth Work under my belt, and am on my final year of my Social Work Bachelors degree. After all these years of essays, projects, study sessions and meltdowns, I’ve developed a few rituals and habits that have allowed me to survive this far and remain somewhat myself while achieving my education goals.
1. Caffeine; It’s not for everyone. I only developed the taste for coffee in the past year or so, and I can see how some people become addicted to it. I easily feel the energy rush after a single cup and am content for the rest of the day with the single boost that usually gets me motivated, especially on those painful mornings where bed > desk.
I’ve also discovered the joys of tea! My absolute all-time favorite tea is “Movie Night” by Davids Tea. A green tea that tastes like caramel corn and apples. Yeah you read that right. It’s the most comforting drink I’ve ever had and crave it in the fall/winter months. I prefer tea since it has no calories and more health benefits, and have began bringing it with me to class during the winter with my fancy shmancy Travel Tea Mug. It keeps your tea at the perfect temperature and has no spill packaging, so I can toss it in my backpack and not worry about it.
2. Planning special “me time”. It sounds cheesy, but trust me, most students struggle with balancing school, work, family, friends and relationships. I know I sure do. Reserving a time for yourself can sound silly, “I’m alone every other night, I don’t need to do that!”. Yes, yes you do. I aim for once a week but sometimes have to compromise to every other week. I like to wash my face, slap on a LUSH fresh face mask (if available), sit down with a book (or something that isn’t a screen), a cup of tea, and let my mind relax. One evening where you don’t think about deadlines, schedules, and other obligations. I promise it will be worth it! Your equivalent to this can be a gym session, manicure, girls night, painting, sketching, anything that soothes you!
3. Planning ahead.This is where I struggle the most. If there’s one thing I retained from my education, it’s that I’m a procrastinator, but only when it comes to school (greaaaat). When you get all your assignment dates (first week of class), sit down with either your planner, or a calendar, and write down all of the important dates. THEN, the most important step that will save your life, is to plan when you should start working on the assignments, and reserve time blocks for research and writing of said assignments. This will spare you from the last minute, night long cram session that will make you hate yourself and your life choices.I love purchasing those enormous calendars that take up your entire desk. I’m very visual, and seeing my month with all the planned events and scheduled study sessions helps me plan ahead and manage my time efficiently.
4. Use those breaks wisely. In most college schedules, you will have the occasional gap in between classes. A great time to browse the campus, meet up with friends, run some errands and go shopping. OR or or or or, go through your notes and understand the course material, study for that pesky exam, get ahead in your readings, do some research at the library and maybe even finish that essay ahead of time! It sounds lame, maybe even “nerdy”, but you’re already investing a whole lot of money into this experience, why not invest your time as well? Working on campus leaves more time for other things at home.
Take a deep breath, you’ll do great!