Beating the Back-to-School Blues

You know the drill.
It’s your third or fourth year in college. You’ve gone through all your basic introductory courses and boring gen-ed classes. You’ve now moved up to the theoretical classes, causing you frustration and overwhelmsion.
The world must be against you. Practically no time for yourself, it seems.

As frustrating as it is, it’s hard to believe that this feeling is so common.

I’m not very fond of lists, seeing as how millions of other blogs seem to contain the same content over and over again. I’m not going to give you these same cookie-cutter ideas. Rather, I am going to talk about what I do to recover from the back-to-school blues.

1. Join a new group.
This school year, I took the initiative to join our improv club, Chainlink. Having done theatre in high school, I was in dire need of some entertainment and stress relief.  And boy, did I get it. Because of my involvement, doing homework became a lot easier because I had less stressful thoughts weighing on my shoulders.
Yes, being involved on campus is time consuming. You don’t get paid for it (most of the time), and sometimes it involves more work.
But think about it this way: is it really going to hurt you to take time to get away from your mundane responsibilities just to have some fun? Student organizations are just interest groups, designed to bring students of similar mindsets together.
What’s more, showing leadership and involvement on campus has a lot more worth on your resume than does your part-time job waiting tables. Employers like to see that you are willing to invest some time in your school, which may translate to your job as well.

2. Read about your major.
You probably read this headline and scoffed. But I’m serious.
Though this is more geared towards those majoring in Communications, this is still an important part of developing yourself, regardless of your career goals.
I joined Twitter about a year ago, not quite sure what to do with it. I first started following Amy Burger (@justwannawrite), a St. Louis PR professional/freelance writer, who came to campus to present on the revolution that is Twitter, thus convincing me to join. I started to notice Amy posting articles on the PR profession, and I became intrigued. Through her, I found a huge network of PR practitioners and media communications specialists. With them came a plethora of articles about career opportunities, how to maximize my career potential, and more.
I can honestly say I’ve learned more from these articles than from my classes. Classes are extremely valuable, of course, but voluntarily obtaining this valuable material will motivate you to keep reading. So by the time you’re out in the “real world,” you’ll have this knowledge that many other people may not have!

3. Take time to make time.
I. LOVE. MY. PLANNERS. (Yes, I have two.)
When you’re a student, living day to day without any guidance can sure be a  hassle. Organizing a planner is one of the most tedious tasks you’ll have to deal with, but when it’s all said and done, you will find your whole life (or week, at least) laid out in front of you. There is no guessing involved.
With this new visual of your own life, you can *gasp* find time for yourself.
I have personally made time for myself every Wednesday evening so I can catch The Middle, Modern Family, and Cougartown with some friends. This means going out and leaving anything and everything school-related at home.

4. Devote your electives to your personal well-being.
I’m not going to say not to minor in anything. A minor is a great supplement to any degree. However, this is why I am not getting a minor.
Having a minor means dedicating yourself to another field of study outside your major. This means taking intermediate and advanced classes for a subject you won’t even get recognition for on your diploma.
Instead of getting a minor, I have dedicated my elective credits to myself. In the past I have taken a beginning ballet class, a strength & conditioning class, and this semester I am learning yoga. A major part of “surviving” college is a healthy amount of exercise. Why not get credit hours for it?
It doesn’t even have to be exercise. I’m also taking an introductory photography class because it interests me. I don’t want to major in it, and I don’t plan on doing anything with it. Yet it proves theraputic to me because it is a subject I would like to learn about.

As I mentioned before, in no way am I saying these are the perfect solutions for everyone.  But these are what work best for me. And I hope that, even if you think my ideas are irrelevant, that they will inspire you to find your own.

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One thought on “Beating the Back-to-School Blues

  1. ashley70 says:

    We share a very similar approach to school!
    Despite not having wanted to be a photo major, it’s still a major interest and my I have a bookshelf where photography books and magazines take up a majority of the space and have an online bookmarks folder dedicated to just photography. I learn new tricks, new tips, see what others are doing and incorporate it into my own ideas. It keeps my major interesting and almost… exciting.

    I can beat your two planners with my three. I have a calendar on my fridge that keeps track of bills, important dates like birthdays and some major events. My iPhone keeps track of my social life, extra-curriculars andother small things (this is one of the biggest reasons I bought an iPhone) and I have a desktop task list (appropriately named Anxiety) that I use to keep track of assignments. I learned a very important thing from last year, that I definitely need at least one day a week where I do not dedicate myself to anything. It’s my free day. I can make a play date, I can be a hermit or it’s just that spare day I have in my back pocket just in case an extreme emergency comes up and I need to schedule something.

    For the first four years of college, I declared maybe half a dozen minors because I just thought it was what I was supposed to do. But wading through business classes and advertising, I found myself wanting to gouge my eyes out. I remember last year as I sat in my Management class, all I could think of, “I don’t want to do this. I don’t want this. Why the hell am I doing this?” and I dropped after two weeks. I decided “You know what, I don’t have time to be sitting in a class I don’t want to be in. I’m going to take the class about dinosaurs.” I do not regret not declaring a minor during my four years. However, the reason I decided to dedicate my last and fifth year to getting two minors is that I know I probably won’t ever have an opportunity to study these fields once I leave college. I can’t just take some night classes in psychology just because I’m interested, when I’m trying to hold down a full-time job. I won’t have a chance to sit an watch a movie to analyze it’s symbols and interpretations because I’ll be too busy trying to make one, whether in graduate school or on the job. I consider myself lucky, that our school and my parents are allowing me to take these minors. I am grateful for the full benefit for having taken dozens of electives courses that had no real goal except to fulfill my interests. I can now animate a cartoon, fence with foils and tell you that my favorite dinosaur isn’t a dinosaur but actually a pleisiosaur.

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