Hello, Lady Tartans! It’s that time of the year again, when Pittsburgh decides to finally put an end to its second winter of chilly subzero blizzards and bring on the spring breeze with a load of sunshine. Spring at Carnegie Mellon brings forth much excitement and stress. Whether it’s spring break, Greek Sing, booth, career fairs, interviews, endless string of hell weeks, or the anticipation of Carnival, formals, and graduation, everyone on campus is buzzing with some sort of enthusiasm. But during this time of the year, it is easy to become so wrapped up in the thousands of responsibilities we have that many of us find ourselves burnt out and tangled in a mess by the time May rolls around. By then, not only have we completely forgotten our New Year’s resolutions, but are also so drained and just beg for summer to arrive as soon as possible.
However, there are many ways we can stay on our A game while taking care of ourselves and managing the chaos that is CMU’s spring semester.
1. CLEAN. EVERYTHING. And I do mean everything.
People often underestimate how much a clean living space and social media life can do for them. Block out a few hours one day, set a timer, and clean. Get rid of old clothes and shoes that you rarely wear and instead just clutter your wardrobe. Donate anything you can and throw out the rest. Toss out old makeup, nail polish, and care products that are dirty or have just been sitting around in sunlight for way too long. Trust me when I say nothing is worse than clogging your pores with bacteria build up from old makeup. Spend that extra few bucks to buy yourself something fresh, new, and clean. Clear out your desk drawers full of useless old homework or notes. Next, organize everything in your room accordingly. Whether that is buying hanging shoe organizers, bins, lipstick holders, shelves, jewelry holders, or drawers for under your bed or on your desk, you’ll be grateful you have them for the rest of your college career. Color code your things or organize them by frequent usage. Clear out your snack bins and fridge. Throw away all the rotting or stale food in your room. When all that is said and done, wipe down the counters and vacuum up dust bunnies and hairballs. If you have time, redecorate a little! Brighten up your room with new posters, paintings, pictures, lights, or décor items. Now your living space is not only clean and easy on the eyes but also not toxic to your lungs and skin. Now sit down, log onto your social media profiles, and start weeding out the sketchy photos, possibly inappropriate posts, and anything you wouldn’t want your grandparents or employers to see. Delete any unwanted followers and unfriend people you don’t actually know. They don’t deserve to know everything your inner circle does or spectate on the wonderful life you live if they don’t even know you, right?
2. Cut out the unhealthy –ships.
Whether it’s friendships, relationships, or hardships, we are all guilty of holding onto things we should really let go of. Is a friend betraying your trust or creating more headaches than laughter? Is a relationship of yours dragging your mood down more than it is lifting your spirits? Is a skeleton from the past still dangling out of your closet every day? Something I am learning the very hard way is you can’t continue to dance with the devil and ask why you’re still in hell. Sure, the reason why these –ships are still in your life is because there is a whole world of complexities behind it. But, you need to remember that time is precious. If something is not worth your time and energy anymore, cut it now before you waste even more of your precious moments on it. I know it’s hard. I know it takes time. There are going to be days when you’re ecstatic and days you are miserably nostalgic. Just remember, you can do it!
3. Vitamin D, Endorphins, & Nutrients!
Let’s give Pittsburgh some credit. There are plenty of sunny days past March! Seize every moment to be out in the sun. It’s incredible what brightness and a bit of nature can do for your mood and mental well-being. Get some endorphins in you too! Whether that is incorporating an exercise routine into your schedule or just walking/biking everywhere instead of taking a bus, get moving! Take a walk in Schenley Park. Visit Phipps Conservatory’s spring exhibits. Winter is over. This also means it is the end of hibernating with a bowl of ramen, tray of fries, and bags of junk food. There is no need for excess insulation. Start eating a healthy and balanced diet full of vegetables, fruit, nuts, lean protein (no more of that greasy fried crispy chicken!), and nutritious carbohydrates. If you can’t ditch your guilty pleasures, limit them or find the “skinny” versions of them with less sugar, no gluten, or fat free. Cut the simple sugars where you can and ditch the processed foods! You are only going to look as good and feel as good as what you put into your body. Then, you don’t even have to worry about your summer beach bod! It’ll all be there come May.
4. Colors, Colors, Colors!
I have always been a colorful person. However, recently I love wearing all black with a little pop of color here and there. While that may be chic for wintertime, spring has arrived and summer is right around the corner, and it is actually quite astounding how a little color can boost your days or drag you out of the depressing winter cloud. Whether that is tossing on a bright lipstick, wearing a colorful statement necklace, or painting your nails a more exotic color (such as aqua, neon coral, or highlighter yellow), it can make all the difference. My personal favorite is going light and natural on the makeup but dabbing a bright color on my lower lashline to match my jewelry or some subtle hue in my outfit. Give it a try!
5. Keep a calendar of your schedule and list out priorities.
Where do you want to be when May rolls around? Set a goal for the end of the semester. List out the steps you need to take to get there. That is now your list of priorities. Now go get a physical calendar and jot down all the meetings, rehearsals, interviews, and events you have for the rest of the semester. While our iPhones are great, seeing them physically written down and jammed into tiny boxes allows you to gauge if you’re overwhelming yourself or not being active enough. Adjust accordingly and stick to the calendar and list. Leave some room for leisure, pleasures, and you time. Do not leave room for unnecessary stresses, burdens, or distractions!
If there is anything I want you to leave this article with, it’s this: College is the most selfish four years of your life. First off, you’re paying for your experience here. You need to have control over what you want it to be. Secondly, you only have these four years to experiment, screw up, and discover yourself without many consequences. Don’t waste a second of it on something you don’t want to experience or don’t care for! Lastly, your goal is to graduate on time with a clear head, beautiful memories, and bright future laid out for you. The only way to do it is to clean up the mess that is stopping you from reaching that goal.
Happy spring cleaning, Lady Tartans! May you find buried treasures you thought you lost in your closet and make room for cuter clothes, high heels, and worthier people.