Staying Upbeat Before Dead Week

College can be a place of edification and education, but it can simultaneously also be a place of depression, monotony, and pessimistic feelings. With the plethora of assignments, extracurricular activities, the hustle and bustle of student life, library study sessions, and review sessions at school learning centers, the semester/quarter could seem extremely slow and sad to pass through. And with the last day of instruction at Cal looming over December 1st on the Gregorian calendar, ready to strike out stressed-out students, Dead Week stands directly on the next horizon. However, fret not! By deliberately changing one’s mindset, scheduling productive and enjoyable time with others, and considering the following six supportive and sanguine tips from Her Campus at UC Berkeley, you could make the most of your college experience while still staying positive and upbeat with everything around you.

1. Look on the Bright Side

Appreciate what you already have. What are you thankful for right now? What are you grateful for right now? Let me name a few: breathing clean air, being able to afford a good college education, have regular healthy meals (if they are irregular, it’s probably due to time constraints or voluntary choice, or willpower — so they don’t count as negativities per se). Many people — populations of people — worldwide do not have many of the things you take for granted and while you probably already know this, the sheer force of the facts doesn’t truly strike you until you actually face the reality of them. Education isn’t a possibility for many — and thus, nearly everything else is impossible to achieve and possess in many lives. Food is scarce — and earned with hard work, toil and severe travail that we cannot possibly imagine. I cannot nearly imagine how many survive with such schedules, routines and brutal realities; I often think my life is hard at times, but really, my definition of “hard” pales in comparison to what many may consider “easy”. Just these thoughts alone are enough for me to start looking at the glass in a more “full” angle. There truly is a silver lining to every dark cloud.

2. Dial Up Friends and Family

My Biological Anthropology class has taught me that we and chimpanzees are more similar to each other than chimpanzees are to gorillas. Our native ancestors were primates, but what makes us a whole lot different from the primates is that we are “social animals.” We need to feel a sense of belonging in order to feel good, because we all live in some sort of society — however flawed it may be. Talking to peers and hanging out with them, spending quality time with loved ones and close relatives, can all make significant differences when trying to eliminate the blues. And for international students, Viber, Skype and WhatsApp all provide cost-effective options for communicating as long as you want with parents and BFFs (with WhatsApp being completely free for calls and chats!)

3. Take a Chill Pill 

 Take a small break (apart from those taken during the Pomodoro Method/Technique). Indulge yourself. “Treat yo’ self!” but in a healthy manner, because moderation is everything! Schedule some “me” time for yourself. Take a bubble bath (ask a friend for couching over in their tub if you have a shower), use up your remaining credit in your Starbucks gift card, binge on two episodes of the new Season 2 of Stranger Things on Netflix (only two though; sleep is NOT for the weak and you know it), watch an entertaining YouTube video for a few seconds or repeat episodes of I Love Lucy or Anne of Green Gables (I would recommend the latter along with an episode of The Vampire Diaries or the Jimmy Kimmel videos of parents pranking their kids about devouring all of their Halloween candies; you do you!) and relax according to whatever you find enjoyable — each activity that one likes is unique to oneself. Stop worrying about trivial details and look at the bigger picture — often this simple act of refreshing your perspective is enough to add some sparkle to your seemingly dull life.

4. Review Past Accolades

Aka = Brag

That time your English teacher praised you in front of the entire class in sophomore year of high school, or even middle school? Yeah, that counts! Look at all the past school projects and portfolios you’ve submitted over your years in high school. This may not appeal to everyone, but personally, for me, I always find it insanely satisfying to go over all of my past college applications, which are the prime places of when you used to brag about everything about yourself. You start to see yourself in a different light — you analyze how amazingly special you are, how much talent you have, and how uniquely awesome you are in your own way, just like everyone else. Seeing your past community service projects, your senior service research and reflection essays, your past assignments, your perfect scores on past tests that mean nothing now but meant everything at the time you took them, just provokes sentiments of prosperity and happiness within your mind — or at least, that’s what I hope will happen. Whatever it is, look over your past accolades, achievements and many, many beautiful qualities, and you’ll start to smile without difficulty. Oh, and maybe broadcast all of these wonderful traits on your LinkedIn profile while you’re at it (or Instagram, if you wish).

5. Repeat Some Mantras

Googling some motivational mantras and quotes reveals that there is more to words than just those essays that keep you up late at night (or nights….). There are so many to pick and choose from, and one way to remain positive through this strategy is to make each quote as your different computer wallpaper daily. Change it up — however frequently you like. It could be weekly, monthly, annually, daily, or every semester! Pick a quote that resonates with your own heart; it will be more effective and will turn your frown upside down quicker than most other quotes, which is truly what matters. Print these quotes on colored stock paper and hang them around in your dorm or apartment/room to remind you to smile and cheer up; distribute them around or decor your roommates’ rooms with them if you like (with their permission!). The more, the merrier! Happiness is contagious, and that is one of the best contagions to get infected with.

6. Do Some Yoga or Exercise

That Vinyasa class costs more than that $7 Chipotle burrito that satisfies your taste buds and serotonin hormones for only seven minutes for a reason. Exercise stimulates endorphins — “feel-good” hormones — and makes the possibility of avoiding Freshman 15 — or weight gain in general — a true reality. Go out of your comfort zone once in a while, since it will add variety to your routine and make you happier. Try the elliptical with a friend after a month of treadmill sessions. Add resistance training through those pink dumbbells every fortnight. Or, attend fun yoga classes and SoulCycle sessions with friends, if your college’s recreational facility or gym offers them. The time doesn’t matter; the very act alone will help you feel better and more optimistic all-around. Endeavor to wear your best gym clothes, since your confidence is key to your mental well-being and happiness, and ladies, don’t be afraid to wear your sports bra with pride; exercise is healthy and satisfying — at least afterwards! Invigorate your workout with fruit-infused water or sparkling water, and make sure to refuel on protein afterwards! Also, exercise with a workout that you like and that doesn’t feel so much like work; you’ll look forward to it more everyday, and won’t quit the next day (or week!).

 

So, whether you’re a student struggling with the academics of college, or a person having trouble to stay enthusiastic about the life you’re living, I hope the six aforementioned tips will help you remain a positive outlook on the world around you while attending college. So, my dearest collegiettes, cheer up, butter cup (s)!

 

A taciturn, though trustworthy, Texas-born teenager with old-fashioned tastes, Aliza is a versatile current sophomore majoring in Economics in the College of Letters and Science at the University of California Berkeley, looking forward to all that life and HerCampus has to offer. She has studied in several different schools in over six diverse countries since birth, and has thus suffered several informal 'lawsuits' over fabricating a new response to every "Where are you from?" question every single time it is inquired; the answer differs, depending on the current location and, occasionally, the asker. She is highly interested in expanding her reach through diverse opportunities for personal and professional growth and making an impact in every opportunity offered. She holds extensive experience in writing and blogging, from college articles to research papers, and has traveled widely, to over four high schools throughout her high school career alone. Determined, self-motivated, and willing to learn new skills eagerly, Aliza has always enjoyed writing, particularly about romance genres and fictional topics in both poetry and prose, and has published a limerick in the fifth grade in a British Library anthology book, Young Writers'​ Sagas. Aliza, perhaps the only Millennial who loves broccoli and cauliflower (and lacks a desperately-needed driving license), enjoys watching romance movies (repeatedly), sleeping - but only during the daytime - with three different layers of clothing on (even in July), and laughing her socks off while binging on some good quality Bollywood comedy shows. Yes, it is also true that while writing poetry in her leisure time, Aliza also watches countless soap operas on her (often) dusty MacBook while dreaming of working in the Middle East upon graduation. Harboring an undeniable affinity for airports and travel, she also loves all things walnuts (except brownies).

If you have any business, finance or leadership opportunities, or simply wish to say hi, please feel free to connect with her via LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/alizasiddiqui/