Laptop Jeans Ripped Study School

New Habits for a New Semester

It’s a new year and a new semester here at Kenyon, so that means adjusting to new classes and a whole new routine. For me, it means a chance to implement healthy and productive habits while pursuing new interests and generally working to improve (even further) my Kenyon experience. I had a great first semester. I made friends with many interesting, kind, fun, and passionate people; I loved all of my classes (even though my soul left my body several times while writing essays or taking particularly difficult exams); I got to try new things and become a part of clubs and organizations that I feel really passionate about; and so much more! It wasn’t all fun and breezy, though. It was a time of learning through trial and error, big emphasis on error. I got overwhelmed, anxious, and frustrated beyond belief at times. Even though I consider myself pretty independent and capable of taking care of myself, I would still end up with a giant laundry pile sometimes or call my parents for help/advice nearly every day. It was definitely a struggle, but a really valuable one. It’s so strange to be away from Denver where I’ve lived my whole life, but I’ve adjusted to life in Gambier, and I am so glad I chose to come to Kenyon. This semester is another new beginning, and I’ve been making some changes for the better!

 

Exercise

During my first few months at Kenyon I did not step foot in the KAC. I was so busy and overwhelmed that I felt like I didn’t have time to make the trek down the hill to work out. Additionally, I was nervous about going to the gym because I wasn’t sure if it would be super crowded or there would be a bunch of athletes having lift sessions in there or what I would encounter. So, I just did some exercises in my room on my yoga mat and called it a day. However, I talked to my friends about it, and some of them were feeling similarly. We decided to go together, which was honestly such a great decision. I love having a gym buddy, and I find that it helps me be less anxious and more motivated to go to the KAC. Last semester my friends and I tried to go about 3 times a week, but we fell off the wagon toward the end (understandable, considering finals and such). This semester we’ve been trying to go 4 times a week, and I’ve even gone a few times on my own before my 11:10 class on MWF. Despite the weather, this is something that I am driven to continue doing because it is a great break from academics and super rewarding. 

Unsplash / Bruce Mars

Breakfast

Another “healthy habit” that I’ve been trying to implement is eating 3 meals every day. This sounds like just a normal thing that everyone should already do, but… I have historically been the kind of person to skip breakfast and then eat snacks throughout the day between meals, which isn’t great. So, I have vowed to eat something every morning before I go to class, even if it’s a banana or a handful of almonds. When I can, I head to Peirce and make myself something tasty and healthy (like toast with sunflower seed butter and banana slices on top or a fruit & yogurt bowl with granola), but I can’t always get up early enough for that, so I make myself oatmeal in my dorm room. It is really tasty, actually! I have instant oats that I can make in the microwave and I put almond milk, frozen blueberries/raspberries, walnuts, and sometimes honey on top. That is definitely a quick and easy go-to for those mornings when I just cannot fathom leaving my room one minute before I absolutely have to. Another breakfast favorite is Wiggin St. Coffee, which has my favorite thing ever: the (no sausage) egg sandwich on a croissant. They also have my two favorite drinks: mochas and frozen lattes. If I want to treat myself, this is an ideal meal. On the days when I hit snooze 6 times or flat-out sleep through my alarm, I used to skip breakfast. That would leave me feeling kind of off during my first class, and would really throw my whole day out of whack. So, I am making a conscious effort to eat breakfast every day, no matter what!

two yellow pillar candles with a bullet journal and art supplies Estée Janssens

 

Journaling

The final thing that I’ve really been trying to stick with this semester is journaling & bullet journaling. One of my friends and I, at the end of last semester, attended a free bullet-journaling class in lower Peirce. We like to say it was one of the best decisions we’ve ever made. We got free bullet journals, pens/supplies, and learned some methods for using and personalizing a bullet journal. I am definitely not as creative with it as some people are, and I don’t track everything I do, but I find it incredibly useful for keeping assignments/commitments/appointments/events straight and in one place so my scattered-brain doesn’t cause me to forget something important. I’ve always been someone who writes things down to remember them, so my bullet journal is just a brain dump for me to write down anything remotely useful or important and to organize my life. I also like how personal it is. A bullet journal is whatever you want it to be, and you create the format and style yourself, which is such a fun process, in my opinion. I love taking time to plan in my bullet journal every week (sometimes more than once a week) because it allows me to be creative and to do something really fun and calming. I make weekly spreads where I have spaces for each day where I write down my assignments and commitments, I make monthly spreads where I can write down important dates for each month (like a calendar), and I add pages for random stuff sometimes (whenever and whatever I want). In addition to my bullet journal, I’ve started keeping a journal/diary. At the end of days when I feel something particularly noteworthy or memorable has happened, I like to write about it. I write about good things, bad things, weird things, etc. I don’t have time to write about everything, but I like the idea of capturing (in my own words) moments and memories that I will be able to look back on in the future. It’s also very cathartic, especially when I am angry or upset. Putting the words onto a page releases a lot of bad energy, so I can move on with my life! Bullet journaling and journaling in general requires time, patience, and effort, so it is tricky to maintain, but I think I’ve gotten into the routine of it and I don’t see myself stopping any time soon.

 

Overall, this semester so far is going great, partially due to new changes I’ve made in my daily life. Sometimes you have to shake things up a bit to settle into a new and improved routine that can be rewarding and sustainable over time. Hopefully some of my struggles and ideas for improvement can help you get inspired to make some changes and have a great semester!