Tips and Tricks for Re-calibrating over Winter Break

Note: Proceed with caution, you should do this when you are either ready or have absolutely no choice.

  • A reorganized Google Drive and hard drive on your computer for your files. It gives some bizarre feeling of closure and it is also nice to see it all laid out plainly. It satisfies my obsessively organized but not really just happy urges.
  • Making an effort in small ways with friends again. I typically go off the radar from anything but like, death, destruction and zombies for approximately 1.5-2 weeks after things end in order to figure out where I stand. This can be shorter, but the point is that school is really draining when you do everything at once, and in order to be able to function the rest of the time, you need breaks. I hear fables about other planets (the Europe) where they do this better than ‘Merica, but I have yet to see it for my own eyeballs. Nonetheless, you’ve got to take the time you need in periodic doses to uncover your sanity, and it should be proportionate to how much sanity you loose during the normal life you live. Obviously this is big scale and small scale. Either way, good luck.
  •  Leaving your house. That sounds dramatic. It is not. It is merely a recognition of the fact that sometimes, I need time to be lazy in order to enjoy other things, and I don’t believe anyone should be ashamed of that. I have never really enjoyed this much free time, and it is winter. Needless to say, it does not sound all that bad to me.
  • Reviewing your budget and school books for next semester. Nuff said.
  • Thinking through what needs you might have in terms of un-budgeted expenses, and then making decisions. This is important.
  • Buying textbooks. Duh. Bonus points if you can read ahead somewhat and get a general feel for the amount of work each class will take. You will be able to do this better once the semester starts, because you will have the syllabi. Something I did last semester was to put all of my assignments by class in date in a large master spreadsheet on my Google Drive. It still makes me happy to think about how many times that saved my neck. Generally speaking, it is good to know what teachers expect so that you know how much time and effort you will need to spend on that specific class. Remember: College is for learning in every way, it isn’t for your GPA. That is not true at all, but still, above 3.5 really is beans to most people I’ve talked to if you can cultivate life skills that matter more.
  • Cooking. I miss soup. I’m going to make soup? Yes, gonna make some soup.
  • Re-evaluating how you store your crap. I love being organized. It makes me very happy. I have accumulated a reasonable but still small collection of things. I like to make sure I can find what I need, but during the semester, I often throw everything around looking for things. The thing about a good organizational system is that it is something designed well enough to your brain and thus, makes sense well enough that you can gut your room and/or bathroom and revert to clean in approximately 30 minutes or less. If that is not the case, check yourself before you wreck yourself and make it better. It doesn’t have to be hard. If you aren’t creative, use the internet. But seriously, this will save you time, tears, and anger.
  • TLC To me, this means taking care of you. This could be anything from wearing comfy socks to singing to Barbara Streisand’s soundtrack of Funny Girl because she is really hilarious to moisturizing your skin and hair to I don’t know; just do it. It will be good for you. Trust me. You want to do it anyways. Now you have the time.
  • Savoring wearing your pajamas. This is important. You do not have to be anywhere. I used to take this for granted. As I get older, the point is that each of us has progressively less time (like a bell curve) to enjoy our lives peaking at somewhere between 40-55 and ending at retirement. This time is yours. Don’t screw it up.
  • Invest in your significant relationships. Listen, I may not be a relationship guru here, but for now, I really love hanging out with my dogs. They’re pretty great. I have friends and family too, but in terms of being lazy, my dogs need attention too.
  • Pick up the spare ends. For me, this means getting another job, fixing my car (hopefully; by the grace of God), reflecting on how much time I really want to be spending on things like extracurriculars and what not (answer: not all that much) in the coming semester and ways I might be able to find better outlets to grow my skills. This is not something you need to really worry about now, it will come over time as opportunities present themselves and it makes sense. However, it may be nice and/or helpful to think about what you would like to learn about outside of the classroom in the coming semester, and set a couple goals. I would like to exercise, but as of now, I’m still debating whether I really care to do yoga. Probably! But then again, we’ll see. This is the best part about immersing yourself in possibilities, you will choose over time because it is good for you and you are interested in it, and apart from that, whatever. You want to cultivate a good sense of professionalism, but honestly, you need to know what you like a why at some point, and you have seriously limitless opportunities while you are on campus if you go to a larger public university like KU (or many others). Don’t forget that you pay fees that support many of the services that are regularly provided to you and won’t be regularly provided to you forever. Make the best of it, holmes.
  • Consider whether or not you should make a health appointment for a check up or a flu shot. If you have the option to go to the doctor and you haven’t done that and you need to, you probably should.
  • Realize that you cannot out plan failure, and accept that your life is going to be infinitely more complicated than any spreadsheet you could ever make. Breathe. Deep breath? Mmkay.
  • Anything and everything else you can do in however much time you have left before you are required to care on a structured basis!

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I am a second-grade teacher and pastor-to-be who loves people. I spend my weekends with friends or wandering the museums of DC alone and with a journal, trying to put words on the places of the soul that still feel wordless. I spent most of my days at school trying to learn patience through my students and running on sheer nerdy passion. I follow Jesus Christ, and savor that as my most important identity--that I am a child of God, as are infinite others, regardless of their other identities. Christ is my one thing.

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