BY ALEXA CHERRY
For the UAS Whalesong
College can be rough sometimes. It’s easy to forget about the weekly slog of classes and homework come Friday night, especially if your classes are online or if you only have a few 3-hour ones that meet once a week. But if you, like me, find yourself lying awake on Sunday nights and dreading the approach of the coming Monday – don’t worry. I’ve scoured the Internet and drawn from my own personal experience in order to bring you some pointers on how to be more prepared for the week ahead.
1. Prepare the night before. Sunday night, and every night you have classes the next day, try to put together the stuff you’ll need in the morning the night before. I know it’s easier said than done, but trust me; it makes your life easier. If you’re pre-emptive about picking out the next day’s outfit and packing your backpack and even making yourself lunch, then all you have to worry about the following morning is only hitting the snooze button once (instead of six times) and choosing what mug to put your coffee in. And ideally, you’ll complete the homework due the following day the night before. Trust me, it takes a load off and significantly depletes your stress if you can actually relax between classes instead of desperately trying to complete something that’s due in two or three hours.
2. Eat food. Here’s where the importance of learning how to hoard snacks comes into play. Some days, you just don’t have time to stop and eat lunch, and that’s when you dig out those granola bars and have at it. If you didn’t pack granola bars or any other snacks, stop at the cafeteria and order a sandwich at least. It doesn’t have to be a sit-down meal, it just has to be something substantial. You can’t live on breakfast for the entire day – or, more commonly, morning coffee (and then whatever other coffee or caffeine you can find until you can crawl home and stuff some ramen in your mouth). Speaking of ramen, you can buy pre-packaged Cup-O’-Soups at the store for roughly 66 cents a piece. Buy like, 20, and stick one in your backpack every day. There’s a Keurig in the Student Government Office, and you can use the hot water to fill your Cup-O’-Soup up and give yourself that speedy substantial meal I was talking about. It’s really hard to concentrate if you’re hungry, and on really busy days, you can’t afford that. Love yourself and work food breaks into your daily schedule.
3. Make sleep time sacred. This is something even I struggle with, even though I know it’s good for me. For example, I like to plug my phone in next to my bed so I can watch some YouTube before I fall asleep. Problem Number One with this is that my phone is also my alarm, meaning that when I wake up in the morning I can just slap snooze instead of having to actually get up, walk across the room, and turn off my alarm. Problem Number Two is that there are numerous studies about how people who sleep with technology like phones and iPads next to their heads don’t sleep as well as people who put their tech somewhere that’s not in the vicinity of their bed. Your sleep is important, and if you associate weekdays with getting way less than normal, no wonder you dread them. I also read that college students ideally need a solid 10 hours of sleep per night in order to get enough rest and stimulate their brains for the best learning ability and knowledge retention. Let’s be real – none of us are getting 10 hours of sleep a night, except maybe on weekends. But if you’re in bed by 10 and up at 6, that’s 8 hours – or, if you’re morally averse to being in bed before midnight, 12 to 8 AM is still the same amount of time and a fairly reasonable time to be up. I know it’s hard to get up early, especially if all of your classes are in the afternoon – but, speaking as a vehemently non-morning person, even I find myself feeling more accomplished and better if I get up early and get stuff done as opposed to staying up half the night to complete it and then sleeping until 1 PM.
It’s important that you know yourself and your sleeping habits, though. I have a devil of a time waking up naturally, much less with an alarm, so when I get up early to work on things they’re usually very urgent things that don’t allow me the luxury of being able to hit snooze. Even so, it’s very easy to convince yourself when you’re still ¾ of the way asleep that The Thing isn’t as urgent as you thought it was when you finally crawled into bed three hours ago. Some people just have to stay up late and get things done the night before. Other people cease functioning around 11 PM, and it works much better for them to go to bed ASAP and get up at the crack of dawn. If you haven’t figured out which type of person you are yet, experiment – it’s better to find out late than never, especially since it’s time to set up your class schedule for next semester.
4. Set aside some “you” time. Sometimes college can seem like nothing but one huge rush of responsibilities and due dates and social obligations, with no time for personal projects or pursuits. So make time! Set aside an hour, or even 30 minutes, out of every day (morning, afternoon, evening – whenever you can get it, and still be able to want it) to do something you want to do. Assemble a puzzle, make a video for your YouTube channel, write a chapter of your novel, try out that new recipe. Give yourself something to do for you Monday through Friday – it doesn’t all have to be about other peoples’ deadlines. And remember: don’t be that one 80’s song. “Everybody’s workin’ for the weekend?” No? Okay, I’ll see myself out.
BY ALEXA CHERRY