Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Back to School Refreshment

I've thought about this blog post a lot. And much like my post from the end of freshman year, which came from a lot of stress, I'm still at a little bit of loss. A lot of my close friends at home are a year younger than me and about to start their freshman year. Sometimes I still feel like I'm about to enter college with no experience and really have nothing to say to them about what it will be like. We all go to different schools and have different experiences and lives and personalities, but it kind of got to me that maybe there are a few things that I learned and could benefit from. Of course, I write all of these with some being things I actually applied and some being things I know now that I need to apply. So know that even though these may look like good ideas, that I'm still learning. We're all still learning.

Keep up with what you love. In high school, it was easy to find those sorts of things that truly made me happy, but that was during a time of ease of living at home where I got to discover those things. College can be so new and exciting and a time where you feel like you can drop habits and routines you developed while at home and completely change and be your own person, but remember those routines of comfort. This summer, I've read a ton, and I've realized how much I missed it while at school. Reading has always comforted me and brought me peace, but I didn't read one single book for pleasure while at college. If you de-stress by running, keep up your running. If you take photos, keep taking photos. I kind of just abandoned a lot of things that used to relieve so much stress and replaced it with napping, playing on my phone, or socializing. Not that there's anything wrong with those things, but the concept of a routine that's something familiar to home is something I wish I had kept up with better.

Get off campus more. This one is one that I'm really excited about doing more of this year. The days I was able to get off campus last year were the ones that always made me feel so refreshed. I had a field trip for a program I was in that went downtown for lunch and a few other events and once I came back, I felt so much more refreshed. I often got too stuck in our little bubble of campus, feeling like there was never a new environment. I love that bubble more than anything because it provides a feeling of comfort and safety, but sometimes it's a little claustrophobic.

Surround yourself with good people. 'Good' is so vague, but I'm trying to refrain from saying 'like-minded' people. Some of my best friends were people that were so similar to me and some of my best friends were people that were just so different than me-- both were good. It's best to have a good balance, but I say 'good' because it is absolutely not worth it to surround yourself with people who don't care for you or don't respect you. If someone treats you poorly, drop them and don't let them push you around. Toxic people are the worst and if someone is making you feel insecure about yourself, don't keep them in your life.

Don't feel like you have to do what everyone else does. If you don't want to go out one night or any night, don't. I think there's a strong sense of FOMO in college and especially freshman year, but don't let that change who you are. I'm someone who likes to be by myself in quiet at times, and there's nothing wrong with doing that on a Saturday night. Don't be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone, but don't be afraid to do what you like to do.

Keep things clean. This goes along the same lines of keeping a routine, but I think there is something to be said about staying up to date with laundry, showering, and clean sheets. Bad days for me start when everything is a mess, so take a few minutes every day to keep yourself organized and clean. You'll feel better and won't get into a bad mess.

Don't be a negative person and don't talk bad about people. This is 10487428x more true for people at a smaller school, but also important and a good thing to remember if you're at a big school. You live with all of these people and you will for the next four years, so don't let one piece of gossip ruin your relationships with future friends. Just be nice.

Take accountability for yourself. It was easy in high school to blame poor grades on a bad teacher, or blame things you did on your parents, but this easily one of the biggest give/take things in college: you are responsible for only yourself. If you make a mistake, own up to it and learn from it. Don't blame others for your problems.

Go to people when you have problems. If it's with a class, talk to your professor, go to a tutor. If you're feeling under the weather, go to the health center. If you're feeling like there are things you simply can't deal with, go to a professional that can help guide you in the right places. Whatever you do, don't feel like you have to hold your problems all to yourself. There were so many times where I didn't want to share my struggles because I was finally on my own and wanted to try and prove I could do everything all on my own, but we need to lean on others and college has so many resources to take advantage of.

Try to eat well and exercise. This is one I do struggle with a lot and especially because it's so easy to stress-eat, but I'm trying to get into a better habit of eating well and exercising more. It's your only body, so take care of it because it affects every aspect of your life. And you'll feel better, I promise.

I hope some of these help in some way-- they're all on my list to remember and act upon! If you have any other ideas or tips, let me know! I love hearing from y'all. Best of luck with this new school year to all!


xoxo,
Meredith

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