Amidst the current circumstances, students of all ages have found themselves attending school from their homes, dorm rooms, or chosen residence. I’m not sure about anyone else, but I can confidently say that it’s been a bit tough for me, y’all. Like many college students, I’m used to a packed schedule, always being on the go, and scheduling various coffee trips with friends several days throughout the week (yes, several—don’t judge me.) While my coffee intake is still through the roof per usual, I am no longer leaving my house except for the occasional grocery store trip with my mom, and all of my classwork and professional work have been completely moved online. I enjoy being around people and taking in some fresh air, so I found myself struggling to figure out what to do with myself, especially since being at home triggers vacation-mode for me. I don’t want to do ANYTHING, but there is still schoolwork to be done.
Through a bit of trial and error, I’ve begun to slowly discover certain things that I can implement into my week that keep me happy and entertained while also allowing me to still get all of my work done.
The biggest lesson I had to learn and remind myself of was that just because I’m at home doesn’t mean I need to beat myself up about constantly being on the grind. Right now, there is a lot of content circulating, telling everyone to take this time to be hyper-productive and work towards goals in order to come out of this quarantine “on top.” For the first two weeks of being at home, I would find myself feeling ashamed for waking up late or only doing one so-called productive task that day when I could have done the never-ending to-do list I created for myself. I started to feel like I wasn’t doing enough or taking advantage of a few extra hours of free time each day.
After talking to some loved ones, I realized that I had to change this mindset and encourage others to do the same. This is already a stressful time, and what is most important is doing whatever you need to do to come out of it healthy. I began to realize that I needed to wake up late because that was the sleep that I was depriving myself of before. I needed to just lie there for three hours because I was always on the go. Taking time to relax and do nothing at all was productive. I was giving my body and mind what it needed when it needed it.
I’m sorry if you expected a more step-by-step set of suggestions for being successful at home. The truth is, everyone’s idea of success is different. But, I wanted to move away from the narrative of maintaining a jam-packed filled day because a lot of people don’t actually need that right now. Sure, if keeping yourself busy with tasks is what you need to do in order to take care of yourself, then by all means, do that for you. But working ourselves into the ground simply to keep up with a standard of productivity is not a healthy reason to fill your day with workout sessions, smoothie cleanses, homework, and extra tasks. Everyone should be focused on doing what we need to do in order to get through each day and maintain or improve our well-being, which looks different for all of us. But I do have one scheduling tip for everyone juggling school, work, and being at home right now.
Many college students and people in general, I’m sure, can relate to this feeling and situation of needing a break, still have things that need to get done, and feeling guilty about taking a break. For me, making a must-do list helped out a lot. Attending school online means that there are still assignments and work to be done, but everyone’s schedule is thrown off. Making a must-do list that includes the 1-3 things that you actually have to do that day still keeps you on track but removes the sense of being overwhelmed by countless tasks. On days where maybe you don’t have anything that you have to do, don’t make a list. Allow yourself to be free and relax. Whatever you get done, great! Whatever you don’t get done, not a problem either. There’s always tomorrow.