As promised, I have the second half of my lessons to share, mostly for me to remember and hopefully draw some connections between other university students universally. With this in mind, here is what I learned as a sophomore.
1.Cleaning is therapeutic.
I have never hated cleaning, but never particularly loved it either. However, once you have your own space (without a mother to help), cleaning has become a necessity. While my boyfriend is a much more thorough cleaner than me, when we work as a team everything is done more efficiently. And nothing compares to sitting back and admiring a clean apartment with a lit candle and hairless couches.
2. Accept that not every day has to be extremely productive.
I used to be very hard on myself after the days in which not much got done besides getting out of bed. However, I understand now that days like this are perfectly normal, and actually a healthy part of being a human. I do my best to not exhaust myself everyday with the nagging thoughts that I need to get everything done right now.
3. Watching The Bachelor/Bachelorette brings people together.
I never thought I would sit down every Monday night for two hours to watch a fabricated drama, but watching this franchise has brought a routine of joy and closeness for a lot of my friends and me. Now I can talk about something other than my personal problems with my coworkers!
4. Limit the caffeine intake.
Iced coffee is a whole personality in college. While I do enjoy a cup every few days (reusable of course!), my anxiety when combined with caffeine is amped and racing, keeping me from being as productive or energetic as usual. Too much caffeine actually drains me rather than fuels me. Decaf iced tea has become my go to.
5. The more you have to do the less anxiety you have. ***
*These stars emphasis how this lesson may specifically only work for me in this time of my life*, but I found in this year that the more I had on my to-do list, the more focused I became. This resulted in less anxiety in the moment, as I intentionally gave all my energy to the tasks at hand. The past few days after my last final haven’t had any sort of agenda, and I have found myself mindlessly scrolling through social media a lot of the time. With summer school and work coming next week, I can look forward to staying busy once again.
6. How to throw a dog birthday party!
As you already know, I threw a dog birthday party this year, and I don’t regret any of it. I learned how much fun it is to have fun and be silly, especially when it comes to fur babies. Dogs bring people together, and while walking and taking Piper places in college, we have made many friends.
7. I should really try to budget.
This year more than ever, I spent a lot of money. Nothing ridiculous at once (besides a Louis Vuitton purse/wallet splurge), but lots little things here and there. A new shirt, face serum, a cute little plant, a leash for my dog, and a bill at the end of every month that had me looking twice. I tried to formulate a budget plan on an Excel document, but hope to improve this in the future year as well. I really need to..
8. Use the amenities at your apartment.
I chose my apartment for multiple reasons, but one of the best parts are the extremely underrated amenities. A saltwater pool, a tanning booth, a 24-hour gym, business center, and resident events (that hardly anyone ever goes to!), I’ve found myself making friends with the neighbors, getting fit, soaking up some sun, and enjoying free food and crafts at the events. Get the most for your money!
9. How to read my own body language.
After speaking with a therapist who focuses on holistic practices and through personal research at home, it’s become important to me to take in and sense my body every day. Noting how my fingers go numb when I feel anxious, focusing on the spot on the back of my neck that hurts after a strenuous encounter or conversation, and being weary of how my eyes feel during a long day are all important to my self care routine. Try to be conscious of your body movements and interactions today.
10. This too shall pass.
There were a lot of ups and downs in my personal and social life this year, and weeks seemed to be never ending of drama, bad news, and negative energy. Looking back now, what I thought was a permanent problem passed in a few months. Whatever you’re going through right now, it will probably pass sooner than you think. I mean, an entire year seemed to be over when I could have sworn I was just unpacking boxes and reading fall syllabi. I am officially halfway done with my undergrad, and still processing every day what this means for the woman I will become in the next few years.