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7 Ways to Finish the Year Strong

It’s hard to believe that less than a year ago I was standing in the Diag, excited and terrified, about to embark on my journey as a Wolverine. As the first of my siblings to go to college, I had no idea what to expect, let alone how to find anything. My freshman status screamed like a giant arrow pointing at me as I tried to find the Chemistry building, glued to my Google Maps. I am not kidding when I tell you it took me about three weeks to find the MLB.

My first semester in Ann Arbor was like riding a bike with training wheels. I was learning how to manage my time, fit in socially, and how to not blow my monthly allowance in one week (sorry, Mom). Once second semester started, I felt like I could finally take off my training wheels. I found my favorite study spots, made tons of great friends, and overall became more settled in this once intimidating environment. The more comfortable I became, the more the days began to fly by. A couple of weeks ago, I stopped myself while writing in my planner and thought, “Holy sh*t, there is only about a month and a half left of school.” How could that be?! I had just moved in two months ago, right? I couldn’t face the fact that I was almost done with my freshman year of college. From that day, I promised myself I’d make the most out of these last few weeks of school. Here are 7 things I’ve been doing to take full advantage of my dwindling time in the great Ann Arbor.

Try to hang out with friends you haven’t seen in a while

College is inherently busy; trust me, I know. But taking an hour or two out of my day to meet up with an old friend is always worth it. In college, it’s easy to make friends through classes, clubs, and social events. However, maintaining those friendships is much harder, especially when classes end, you join different sororities, etc. So, the other night, I texted my friend I hadn’t seen in months out of the blue and asked her if she wanted to grab dinner at Mojo Dining Hall. She replied seconds later with, “Yes!!!!!” and tons of heart emojis. We spent the next hour dishing about school and our love lives over delicious Mojo cookies. As I walked back to my dorm, I felt fulfilled. I am so happy I took that extra minute to send a simple text to my friend; it really made all the difference.

Spice up your workout routine

For most of the year, my sole form of exercise has been spinning. While I love it, I feel that in these fleeting moments I have left, I want to try some other types of fitness classes that Ann Arbor offers. I went to pole-dancing for the first time ever this week and it was so much fun! Keep your mind open! Even if you swear by running three miles on the treadmill every day, mix it up with a Zumba class, Pure Barre, boxing, or even a dance party in your room. You might try it, realize how great it is, and add it to your daily workout regimen. And you never know, you might meet some new and interesting people.

Take a “me” night once a week

Three weeks ago, I decided that every Wednesday night was going to be a “me” night. This means that once I do all my homework, I spend the rest of the night pampering myself. I take a long shower, paint my nails, put on a cheap face mask, pick up a satisfying dinner, and put on a movie of my choosing. The Wednesday before Spring Break, I picked up a big pesto cavatappi dish from Noodles and Co., put a paper towel over my desk, and peacefully enjoyed my food while watching Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief. As dorky as it sounds, it really was an amazing night. We are constantly surrounded by work, people, and obligations; sometimes a girl just needs to take a night to herself.

Let go of expectations when going out

This is one of the most important improvements I have made since the start of second semester. I used to go out at night with an unrealistic amount of expectations. I painted a picture in my head of a perfect night out; surrounded by friends and tons of interested guys. However, life is not a utopia with unicorns and rainbows. We are all subject to have good and bad nights. Instead of hoping for the perfect night, I just hope for a fun night. I don’t go in thinking it’s going to be terrible, but I also don’t expect that it will be amazing. I try my hardest to stay in the moment and not to think about the night ahead of me.

Spend more time outside

I realize that Michigan can be a tundra for most of the year, but that doesn’t mean you should lock yourself inside all day. Never underestimate the power of a good coat and warm gloves. Walking around Ann Arbor is an inexplicable feeling; it’s refreshing and is a great way to clear your head and think. Not to mention, it’s nice to get a break from the fluorescent dorm lights. But since its getting nicer out, being outside reminds me of why I fell in love with Michigan in the first place. Puppies in the Diag, dozens of hammocks filled with students, and parents taking a stroll with their young children – it’s sights like these that give me great happiness and satisfaction. So, get up and get out into the beautiful town that is Ann Arbor.

Keep your room clean

They say, “cluttered room, cluttered mind.” At least, I think they do, right?! It’s funny to think that I spent all my pre-college years rolling my eyes at my mom when she asked me to make my bed and organize my closet. However, being in an especially small room makes me feel anxious when it’s not made up. I know it’s a little tedious, but this small step greatly improves my overall mental and emotional health.

Take advantage of new opportunities

How many times have you walked passed students on the Diag advertising for some club or event? Now usually I would just give a nice smile and walk away, but recently I have been trying to really take advantage of these opportunities. The university has so many amazing things to offer, and, hey, if I am already paying way too much to attend this university, I might as well try everything I can before my time is up.

So, if you’re like me and trying to savor every moment of the school year, fear not. Just follow in my footsteps and I can promise that you will go into the summer with no regrets!


Images courtesy of: Ari Dayan and University of Michigan

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