A Day in My Life as an ICU Dorm Student

I'm Satomi, and I'm a junior at ICU living in Ginkgo House.

The Ginkgo House is a relatively new dorm built in 2013. It is THE BEST dorm because it is right next to the cafeteria and about two minutes away from the main school building where classes are held. All of the dorms at ICU are located on campus, so the lives of dorm students are really different from those of students who commute from off-campus. To help new students imagine what their dorm life and ICU life might look like, I want to share what a typical day in my life at ICU looks like. 

8:00  Wake up

No matter what time my classes start, I always wake up around 8:00 on school days to create a routine for a healthier lifestyle. My mom is also an early bird, so she used to nag me about being up by at least 8:30 even on weekends. Due to her constant nagging, it's become a habit for me to wake up at around 8:00 and I even start to feel guilty if I'm not up by 8:30. 

I don't have a hard time getting out of bed, so as soon as I turn off my alarm, I head to the bathrooms to wash my face. If you read my last article, The Power of Makeupyou'll know that I have oily skin. I tend to get a bit shiny when I sleep, so I wash my face first thing in the morning to begin my day feeling fresh and oil-free. 

8:15  Breakfast

My favorite meal to prepare and eat is breakfast! I used to have a hard time eating in the morning, but I've come to love it since I started college. Breakfast is actually my biggest meal of the day. At our dorms, the kitchen is shared by everyone on your floor—around 40 people—and, because most people on my floor don't cook in the morning, I have the most time and space to prepare.

For some weird reason, my stomach doesn't do well when I eat rice in the morning, so I have toast, bagels, or biscuits instead. The biscuits I love are from 成城石井, a small supermarket near Musashi-sakai station. On the side, I like to prepare scrambled eggs, sausages, fruits, and yogurt. The reason why I like to eat a lot in the morning is that I know that I won't be eating much for lunch, especially if I don't have classes till the last period. On weekends, I like to treat myself to pancakes or waffles, but on weekdays I have classes in the morning so I try to keep it simple!

While I eat, I like to watch YouTube videos and scroll through my Instagram. Breakfast is my time to relax and prepare myself for the day.

Hotel breakfast room service

9:00  Get ready for class

After breakfast, I go brush my teeth and pick out my clothes. I know some people lay out their outfits the night before, but I just can't do that because my mood for clothes will change by the morning. I do try to think about what to wear at night, but I never end up wearing the outfit I imagine.

I pick out my clothes before doing my makeup, so I don't smudge makeup and get it on my shirt when I change. After getting dressed and doing my makeup, I go over my homework and check my backpack so I don't forget anything. If I have tests, I will go over the material until class, but if I don't have anything, I get on my phone to watch Netflix or other videos.

9:55  Go to class!

My dorm is only a few minutes away from the buildings where lectures are held, but I like to leave my dorm 15 minutes before my class starts. I go early to secure a seat for my friends and I, since I prefer to sit near the windows, which are popular seats. Some people choose to take classes with their friends, but I don't mind being alone for lectures. There are a lot of people like this at ICU, so even if you don't have friends that share the same interests as you, there's no need to worry!

A tip I have for classes with a lot of discussions is to sit near other people so you can naturally join a group instead of having to sit awkwardly while everyone else is discussing. 

10:10 – 12:40 Classes

Classes at ICU are typically seventy minutes each, with a ten minute passing period in between. 

12:40  LUNCH BREAK

For lunch, I usually go back to my dorm to make myself an easy meal. I do occasionally go to the cafeteria but it is pretty hard to get good seats and their food can be hit or miss. When I go back to the dorm, I cook simple things like pasta or rice with a side dish. The kitchen at the dorms can get crowded during lunch because a lot of people come back to prepare their own meal so they won't have to spend money on buying lunch. One of my favorite things about eating lunch at the dorms is hanging out with everyone, whether we're watching TV or just chatting. 

Our lunch break is pretty long, so after I finish eating I take a quick nap. 

13:50 – 15:00 Class

15:20  Go to my part-time job

My part-time jobs are teaching English to children and working at a golf school. When I register for my classes, I try to create at least two days where I only have class until 15:00 so I can work in the afternoons. I teach English twice a week for an hour and a half from around 17:00, so after classes end, I'll take my bike to the train station. Our school is about fifteen to twenty minutes away from the station, so a lot of ICU students use bikes to commute. 

The company I am registered to as an English teacher is a very popular place for ICU students and other international students to work. They have a great working policy and there are many opportunities to be promoted. Lessons are usually held on weekdays, so I work for the golf school on either Saturday or Sunday. It's not too difficult balancing work and school as long as you know what you're able to handle!

19:00  Go to the supermarket

Once I'm done with my job, I'll go to the supermarket to stock up on food. At my dorm, each person gets half a shelf in the fridge, so there isn't a whole lot of space for groceries. I tend to buy enough food for two to three days and go out to buy groceries again when I'm out.  

20:00  Dinner

My least favorite meal is dinner. There's so much preparation that needs to be done, and the kitchen is always crowded at night. People are cooking, doing their homework, or just hanging out—it can get quite chaotic. I try to cook as much as possible, but I do go out with friends to nearby restaurants when I'm feeling lazy. Something that helps me cook is to search for recipes beforehand, so that I know exactly what I'm cooking which also prevents me from buying unnecessary food. 

20:30 Homework

Ever since I can remember, I didn't like to study on weekends, so I always try to finish my homework on weekdays. I just want to get it over and done with as soon as possible. I start my homework the day they're assigned and try to finish them on the same day. For lengthy assignments like essays, I take around three to four days.

When I have reports and essays, the first thing I do is vaguely think about a topic I would be interested in writing. After that, I will go to the library and to online databases to find resources related to my topic. If I think I have enough material, I will start writing my report the next day. All I do is word vomit my ideas onto a document and try to create paragraphs, taking at least two days. I'll go through my ideas, sorting them out and figuring out whether my argument is strong. I write my introduction and conclusion at the end and continue revising until the due date. I lack the concentration to complete essays in one day, which is why I probably take longer than others to complete them.girl stressed at computer

23:00   Shower

If I feel like I've done enough homework, I take a shower. I usually take showers between 23:00 to 24:00 because they are often when the showers are least crowded. Sometimes I have to wait for my turn because all the showers near me are in use. There are nine shower stalls in total on each floor of my dorm, but they're placed in different areas, so if the one's near me are being used and I'm feeling impatient, I'll go shower in another section.

1:00  Sleep

I try to sleep at 24:00, but most of the time I go past that because I'm watching YouTube videos or talking to friends.  

I am someone that doesn't mind the lights being on or music being played when I go to sleep, but if my roommate cares, I try to sleep at the same time she does to avoid problems.

girl sleeping in black and white

And that's my day!  

Sometimes the routine changes because I have other activities after school, like dance on Mondays and Fridays. I think the most important thing for me is to have a schedule that keeps me motivated! COVID-19 has changed all of our lives and I miss the "normal" days, but I'm reminded to be thankful for what I'm able to experience. I hope the day that I can return to campus comes soon, and I'm excited to meet the new students!