College is an endless cycle of telling ourselves that we “just have to get through this week,” but then what? We say the same thing when the next week rolls around. Though it’s definitely true that we need to take things week by week or day by day in life, those days or weeks cannot necessarily look the same every time.
It’s so easy to fall into a slump during college semesters when you’re in this endless cycle of telling yourself to work hard and get through the week. Next thing you know, you’re thinking that way semester to semester for the four years you’re here.
No one wants to look back on their college years and notice that this was the mindset they had — a mindset so detrimental to our mental health and overall well-being. As humans, we need and crave change.
In order to break this seemingly never-ending cycle in college, you need to implement simple changes in variety in your routine. Implementing small alterations can add some excitement to your days, thus preventing burnout.
When it comes to our class schedules, they don’t change week by week. We are in the same building, on the same day, at the same time, learning about the same subjects. Your class schedule can’t change, but when and where you study, eat, hang out and exercise can change.
This could be as simple as studying in a different spot after your 10:05 a.m. class on Mondays and Wednesdays, or perhaps trying a new food for lunch one day.
Simply changing what time of the day you exercise, where you eat dinner and where you study will make each week seem less repetitive and boring. If you routinely go to the dining hall at 6 p.m. for dinner, treat yourself to dinner Uptown one night. If you usually study in Armstrong, try King Library. If you usually go to the Rec Center in the morning, try going at night.
During the second semester of my first year, I had a great weekly routine put together, but it was almost too perfectly followed week to week.
I would go to the same classes day by day and study at either Armstrong or King Library, depending on the day of the week. I would go to the Clawson gym before dinnertime and do the same exercises depending on the day of the week. I would go to the Western dining hall and get almost the same dinner every night.
This daily routine worked for my schedule, but it was so repetitive that I fell into the “just get through this week” cycle. The only excitement I felt was if I had something going on over the weekend or if I was going home for a break, but I believe that was mainly due to the fact that it was a change of scenery.
Once I realized how detrimental this was for my mental health and my overall view on being at college, I started studying at Starbucks and Kofenya Uptown. I started walking to Maple Street Station instead of Western. I started working out at the Rec Center instead of Clawson.
But I didn’t make any of this permanent. It was all about switching up the endless monotony of the same weekly routine.
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After changing my routine more and more every week, I noticed a difference in my overall well-being and how I felt about school. I almost looked forward to doing my homework and studying in a new environment, so it motivated me to be productive and do well in my classes.
These small scenery or environment changes still followed my weekly routine that had worked for me the beginning half of the semester, but kept me from becoming burnt out over the course of the semester. Once the weather started to get nicer, it was even easier to switch up my workout routine from going to the gym to walking on the trails down by the equestrian center and studying at outdoor tables instead of the library.
Though these may seem like such small changes to make, they make a significant difference. Not doing the same exact thing every day for weeks on end can keep you from getting burnt out, whether it’s just with school or with your overall life at college.
My advice to you is to find at least three things you can change about your weekly routine this week. They can be large or small, but try them out and pay close attention to how those alterations make you feel about your quality of life on campus.