Well, I’ve nearly made it. After seven semesters, four at the University of Nebraska- Lincoln and three here at UMKC, I’m one semester away from graduating. And exciting as it is, this semester seems like it will drag on for years instead of months.
When I started college four years ago, I was excited for every class. A new semester meant new teachers, new things to learn, new chance at excelling.
But after a couple years that excitement just wore off a bit. As classes grew more challenging, my free time shrank and my hours working and studying increased, learning seemed to become less of a joy and more of a burden. How can I possibly work 40 hours, go to class for eight hours each Tuesday and Thursday, work at the paper all Sunday, and find time to study, much less relax?
I’ve at least found a solution to the last two- studying gets wedged into long Saturday study sessions, and occasional free time during the week. And to relax, I found the best trick is…my dog.
Last August, I adopted a puppy named Penny from Wayside Waifs, and she has made my lackluster life so great. She cuddles with me while I study, and gets me to take a break because she needs walks and playtime. The simple joy of caring for a dog mitigates all the other stressors in my life.
Since getting Penny, I’ve found that making time to relax is as important as working and studying. And when I take that time for myself, I rediscover the love I have for learning.
It’s easier to like my classes and enjoy studying (yes, I said enjoy studying) when I don’t feel like it’s just another burden in my full, college-student life. I know there are plenty of people with fuller schedules and harder lives than mine, and I hope they’re able to find a little R&R time. I also hope they’re able to enjoy their schooling, too.
Aside from getting a dog, there are plenty of ways to fit in fun time. Make meal plans with friends. You have to eat, so why not make double use of that time and chat with friends while you do? If you like cooking, try a new recipe or invite people over to cook with you.
You can always take a few minutes to enjoy a nice book if your eyes are tired of staring at your computer screen all day. Reread a classic, like “The Lord of The Rings” trilogy, or pick a new one. The librarians at the Plaza Library can help you find a book you’ll like, and the staff at Barnes and Noble always has tables full of suggestions.
Or you can play a board game, which can even be used for studying if you’re tight on time. Just swap in study questions for truth or dare. Or use only French vocabulary words to play Bananagrams.
Overall, the point is just to find out what relaxes you best, and find a way to do it so life doesn’t seem to overwhelming.