I have just started my final year of undergrad, something that seemed so far away just a few short years ago. I was unsure of myself and nervous about college. I didn’t know what I wanted, but over time I learned what I had a passion for, and my grades reflected it. I followed these signs to where I am now, much to my family’s objections. I started off as a business major, then mathematics until I finally landed, somewhat by accident, in art history.
I found something I can get excited over and love with all of my heart. I already even know what specific area I want to study, which is something I have never experienced before! Last fall, I had just switched and had taken on a pretty demanding “part time” job where I was working around 30 hours per week, attending school full time and spending every spare minute I had in the art building working on assignments. I was incredibly stressed out.
The following spring, I wasn't working at all, in fact I was waiting to hear back from another job, where I currently work, and I had so much extra time on my hands. Time that I spent with friends and making art. I spent this time living life the best way I knew how, and it was amazing.
This semester, I decided to learn from this experience. I am still attending full time, and I still have a job, although with far fewer demanding hours. This new job is related to my major and I enjoy almost every minute of it. There are frustrating experiences to every job, however I love my daily tasks and I truly enjoy what I am doing, so much so that I am looking at it as a possible career. While I am working, and attending full time, I am still living my life in my spare time. I am still making art with friends, socially distanced of course, and I am still doing crazy, marginally neurotic, things to make myself happy and less stressed out. Yes, when I took a bat to a watermelon, I got some weird looks, but it was oh so satisfying.
I decided that it would be beneficial to throw out some tips.
- Don’t be afraid of taking a day to take a break for yourself: Do what makes you happy, smash some fruit if that works for you. Create something, destroy something, exercise, read, watch something or play some games. Whatever you do to make yourself feel good, do it. It is extremely beneficial, and you won't regret it even after looking at your email realizing the vast amount of work you still have to do.
- Keep your planner updated constantly: If you need to have a planner and a calendar, that is perfectly fine. I find it extremely helpful to write down my tasks for the day in the morning, or the night before. Keeping track of when things need to be done and having a to do list is a sure way to make sure things get done when they need to be done.
- Find a job that you love, and make sure the hours are flexible: Working a mundane job can be really draining, in a bad way. It can leave you exhausted and get in the way of your life and education. I worked at a grocery store for a while and even on the days where I worked the morning shift, I just wanted to sleep when I got home. I felt like I had no time or energy for anything else. Working a job, you hate, is the worst possible thing you can do to yourself, especially when you're trying to get an education.
- Put your body first, your education second, take care of yourself: We are currently in pandemic mode, so this is even more important for the public as a whole. By neglecting your body, you set yourself up for getting sick. Eat right, get enough sleep, exercise, and take time to breathe.
- Put your education at the top, right after your health: If you need to quit a job because it's getting in the way of your future, quit. Don’t keep a job thinking it’ll get you through college. There are plenty of other jobs out there that have the capability of catering to your needs so you can be a good student. Work on campus if you can. Part time jobs don’t put us through college anymore like they did for our parents. It's okay to take out a loan in the name of education. Apply for every scholarship. Keep an eye out for the kind of job that you have the capability to actually do. Never do work for free. There are a lot of internships out there. Get one that pays you. Put your education first, there’s a reason you're getting one, don’t lose track of that.
Have a great semester and keep up the amazing work. Do your best, not someone else's idea of your best. Be awesome and don’t be afraid to live a little.