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This semester has been unlike any other so far. Not only is it my last semester of undergraduate education, but I also had the chance to enroll as a part-time student. Only having one class to attend and study for has been a dramatic change to my usual schedule. For the past three years I have always been at the upper end of the credit limit for each semester, so to suddenly go from taking 16-18 credits per semester to only 5 has been quite the adjustment. I cannot complain though, this is surely an easier adjustment than if the situation were reversed.

Nonetheless, I was struggling to stimulate myself these past few weeks. I was so used to a “go, go, go” mentality that came with having back-to-back exams, presentations, papers, lab reports, etc, that I had longed for a break and a chance to amuse myself with old hobbies. Now that I have more than enough time to indulge myself in such activities, I still find myself tired and uninspired.

As midterms are approaching, I have found a few solutions to my issue. I knew it was unrealistic to fill my days with exciting activities that I knew would take a lot of energy out of me. My lifestyle has never worked for that kind of life and just because I have the time to do all sorts of things, does not mean I necessarily want to do them—nor should I force myself to do them to simply avoid developing FOMO. Instead, I have tried planning activities and events on a weekly basis.

Due to the pandemic, I am of course restricted in my options, but I still manage to keep myself entertained. Though I cannot wait for things to get back to at least some semblance of normal, I do appreciate how living under these conditions has forced me to appreciate the little things in life. Nowadays I look forward to what would have once been considered a mundane meeting with a friend where we just chat for hours and get take out. Even shopping excursions with friends where we just run errands has become a whole event to plan for. Simple outings where we just walk around the neighboring area and look through some unique stores have made me feel more fulfilled this semester. Due to the limitations from the pandemic, I was beginning to worry that my senior year was wasting away. Though it is not how I imagined it would be, it is still fun in its own way.

Being part-time has also allowed me to return to old hobbies and pick up new ones. I have more time to get back into reading, which is something I had not had time for since starting college. I am trying to get in as many books as I can before starting graduate school this coming fall. I have also been taking this time to learn how to cook. Though it takes more time and effort to prepare an entire meal for myself starting from raw vegetables, I do find myself more satisfied from the meals I make on my own than the ones I order for take-out.

Lastly, I have yet to begin this new hobby, but I plan on getting some house plants in order to seek redemption from my history of being a plant killer. I have been educating myself on some of the easiest plants to take care of so that I make a proper decision when I do go to buy one. I figured by taking care of a plant, I could use the opportunity to work on my self-discipline and nurturing skills. Plants also purify the air and give off some humidity, which I imagine can only improve my living conditions and my skin.

For anyone else who is part-time, is going part-time, or has been part-time, I now understand the sudden shift in lifestyle this change in enrollment brings. Though the transition is shaky at first, once you get your bearings it really gives you more opportunity to work on yourself and spend more time with friends and family. I really can’t recommend it enough for those who have the chance to give themselves a lighter load for at least one semester.

Subah Soni

Monmouth '21

I am a Senior Biology major with a concentration in molecular cell physiology. I'm a former RA and current SI leader for an intro Biology class. I do Cancer Cell Research and I volunteered abroad in Guatemala to help build a medical office. I'm passionate about the environment and living a positive, guilt-free lifestyle.
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