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I Became “That Girl” For a Day. Here’s How It Went.

We’ve all seen her around. Viral on TikTok and YouTube this summer, “that girl” lived rent-free on my social media feeds. For those who aren’t familiar, “that girl” navigates life with ease. She wakes up before dawn, heads to the gym, eats an elaborate and healthy breakfast, fills out her planner and dons a cute outfit before most people even leave bed. She documents her perfect morning routine on social media, leaving her followers in awe of her productive lifestyle.

A busy college student, I start my days a little differently. Most nights, I’m up past midnight pouring over readings or problem sets. My classes don’t start till 10, allowing me an 8:00 am wake-up time. This often becomes 8:30 when you factor in the snooze button, giving me just enough time to brush my teeth, do my skincare routine, change my clothes, grab an out-the-door breakfast and head to class. When planning my mornings, I opt for functionality rather than productivity. And I’m okay with that. The “that girl” morning routine, however, intrigued me. There’s something so captivating about the idea of a perfectly curated morning routine. Wanting to feel put-together for a day, I decided to try it.

Here’s how it went.

My Morning Routine

Optimistic about my ability to drag myself out of bed early, I set an alarm for 6:00 in the morning. I always hit the snooze button, so my feet hit the ground around 6:15. When I finished brushing my teeth and washing my face, I remember feeling excited that I was out of bed almost four hours before my first class began. My morning felt full of possibility.

It was a chilly morning and forgoing the warmth of my room for a frigid walk to the gym felt impossible. I opted for yoga and pilates in my room instead. Usually, I squeeze my workouts in late, so I can shower right after and head to bed. Working out in the morning felt odd, as I’ve gotten used to working out at night.

After working out, I hopped in the shower, made myself a warm bowl of oatmeal and fruit for breakfast and started working on some homework. When I was finally ready to head to class, I felt great about myself and prepared to take on the day.

Reflections

Although I had a positive experience with my “that girl” morning routine, the overall trend can become problematic in its promotion of toxic productivity — a culture that ties self-worth to consistent productivity. Being “that girl” every day is not practical, nor is it sustainable. As social media feeds become saturated with displays of hyper-productivity, it’s easy to feel like you’re not doing enough. “That girl” starts to feel like a measure of worth, and a failure to regularly meet this standard feels like a failure of character.

Don’t get me wrong. Having an incredibly productive, perfectly curated morning routine is a wonderful thing. Problems arise when people feel pressured to accomplish this every morning.

In reality, it’s okay to have off days. It’s okay to spend a morning in bed, and it’s okay to skip the gym. Our needs change by the day; it’s important to be receptive of what our bodies and minds are asking for. Self-care doesn’t always look like journaling at seven in the morning. Sometimes it does, but sometimes it looks like hitting the snooze button an extra time. And that’s okay. Whether it’s getting up at the crack of dawn and kicking ass in the gym or if it’s sipping a cup of coffee on your porch for 10 minutes before leaving for class, the ideal morning routine is whatever brings you peace.

So, will I stick with the “that girl” morning routine? Definitely not. All the power to you if that’s your thing. I’m just not much of a morning person.

Preeta Kamat

Northwestern '24

Preeta is a freshman from Rochester, Michigan studying Neuroscience and Global Health Studies in the seven year med program. When she's not working on school, you can find her on coffee runs, exploring campus with friends, baking, or watching reality TV.
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