I have to admit that getting back into the student mindset has been harder than I had anticipated. I was really thrown for a loop during my first few weeks, but thankfully people kept calming me down and reminding me to be patient (I am horrible at this) and that it was going to take some getting used to.
Well they were right. I am slowly but surely figuring out how to do this. I am getting used to — and actually loving– my random and inconsistent schedule, am getting back into the swing of studying for exams (flashcards had escaped my vocabulary for the past 4 years but are making a serious comeback– see pic below), and am actually getting pretty good at balancing everything.
I’ve realized that as busy as I get with school work, three things are still really really important for me to have in my life on a daily basis:
1) Seeing friends and staying connected to friends all the time. By nature, I am extremely independent. Over the past month or so, I have become so thankful for that because I spend a LOT of time by myself. However, in this day and age, you are never really “alone”. With all of the outlets to connect to people- emails, texts, calls, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter- it’s easy to stay up to date on what is going on with your friends during the day. I also make a lot of plans so that I am seeing friends almost every day. Whether it be walks in the mornings, meeting for lunch, drinks/dinner after they get out of work, or even just stopping by their offices for coffee midday, I literally build in these times to my day (I have an amazing color coded calendar…haha!).
The number one question I have been asked since I started school is if I get lonely since I am not in a corporate office with a ton of people around anymore. Honestly, I would say 95% of the time, it is the opposite. I feel constantly connected to people, plus I see people in my classes, and I am too busy to even feel lonely for a second. The other 5% comes in when I am spending multiple days studying for a big test, and I am not able to see people as often. I can sometimes isolate myself and put a ton of pressure on myself to keep studying, but I am slowly learning how to maintain some sense of balance even during those higher pressure times.
2) Staying Active. In college, and even when I was working full time, when things got super busy, I would usually sacrifice a workout. These days, I am so much better at that. I do something active almost every day. During especially busy days, that may just mean going on a 20 minute walk, but I try to at least do something. I’ve realized over the years that study breaks are essential. They help me focus, and although sometimes I don’t feel like I have the “time” to get in some fresh air, I am more effective in my work when I do.
I go to Central Park a lot. I am really into walking these days and just roaming around.
I will go for a run maaaybbbee once a week, although I am not really into running right now. Every now and then, I’ll go to a class at my gym, and I’ll occasionally zone out on the elliptical while watching a TV show. One of my favorite things to do is meet up with a friend for coffee and a long walk. Whatever it is, I almost always try to get some sort of activity in and that has helped me feel energized and balanced.
3) Good Food. Obviously, right? 😉 Food is really important to me and I love trying out new food, new restaurants, and also continuing to experiment in the kitchen. One thing that I have come to love that I never really knew existed… Lunch Specials!! All of these great restaurants have really cheap lunch specials during the day since they don’t get nearly as much business. About once a week I’ll treat myself to a good lunch or breakfast at a restaurant I’ve been wanting to try.
Usually though, cooking is where it’s at. As busy as I get, I try to make time to eat a decent meal and stop what I am doing to enjoy it. On Tuesday, for example, I was cramming for a big test I had that night, but I literally closed the books at around noon, went out for a run, and came back and made these tacos in less than 10 minutes:
Corn tortillas with some refried beans spread on top. Sautéed Portabella mushrooms and onions, plus corn and salsa. Cheap, easy, and so delicious.
So those are three things I’ve learned about myself so far as I continue on this interesting journey. I used to struggle with balance A LOT during college and even after college, but slowly but surely, I am getting a little better 🙂 I guess you live and you learn!
What helps you stay balanced during busy times? If you are a student, any advice in this area??