Anna’s declassified college survival guide: Tip #7 invest in yourself

Most of us have spent the last few years investing time into our future with classes, jobs, and extracurriculars that will make our resume stand out. Though we have now spent the last few months investing in toilet paper, hand sanitizer, and investing time in scaring ourselves by tuning into the news. It is now time to start investing in ourselves and the person we are now, rather than just the person we hope to be someday.

When finals are over, unless you choose to take summer courses, you now have almost a four month break from school. Four months of valuable time that will fly by if you don’t decide how to use it. This is the same thinking of a financial budget. If you don’t tell your money where to go, you won’t know where it went. It is the same idea with your time. 

There are many ways you can use your time in this break. Maybe you are taking summer courses and keeping your nose in your books, good for you! Maybe you are an essential worker and putting in more hours than ever, good for you! Maybe you are quarantining, social distancing, and saving the world, good for you! [Side note: trying to do all three is exhausting; 0/5 huskies, would not recommend].

Regardless of how you are planning on using the break, purposely choose to invest in yourself. There are many ways to do this. A plethora of studies have shown that college students excel in many areas, but sleep is not one of them.

Instead of practicing the quadratic formula, using APA format, writing lab reports, or memorizing Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, practice good sleeping habits. Going to bed after 2 a.m. and getting up past noon is not socially acceptable after college.

Spoiler alert: most employers expect you to report by 8 a.m. Also, living off of a few hours of sleep and drinking energy drinks isn’t a sustainable practice. You may say that the long hours will pay off in the future, but how is your lack of sleep affecting you NOW? 

Most of us probably know that it takes 21 days to make a habit. Well, we have 108 days between the end of finals week and the beginning of the fall semester. What habits do you want to make? What does the person you are TODAY need? What does the person you are TODAY want?

If you need more sleep, work on fixing your sleep schedule to get every hour of sleep you need.

If you need to be more fit, start an exercise program. 

If you need to pay the bills, find a safe job that treats you well.

If you need a little more self love, start treating yourself with a coffee, with an episode of your favorite show, by unplugging for the day, or whatever you may need. 

If you want to have control of something in your life, clean your living space. 

If you want to learn a new language, take 10 minutes every day to immerse yourself in it.

If you want to improve your relationships, take time everyday to check in on people you care about and invest in them. 

A quote that has been handed down for generations is “you can’t pour from an empty cup.” How full is your cup? This isn’t about being optimistic or being pessimistic, this is about not starving the person you are today in order to feed the person you hope to be someday. 

Now please don’t take this advice to mean pushing off all of your responsibilities and stop caring about coursework because the person you are today doesn’t need that. You do. It feels good to accomplish something, to have mastered a new concept, or to open your mind to new ideas. My advice here is to find that balance. I’m not saying it will be easy (I haven’t even found it yet), but I believe it is worth it. 

Now that the end of the semester is here, take a breath and reflect. What do you need TODAY? My cousin told me when I was graduating high school to stop worrying about tomorrow because in just two days, it will be yesterday. Be prepared, but do not live in fear. Even in the most challenging times, humans persevere.

Treat yourself kindly. Treat yourself like you are a gift because you are.

If you enjoyed these tips, please check out my previous tips:

Tip #1: Get involved

Tip #2: Study smarter, not harder

Tip #3: Get to class

Tip #4: Focus on one thing at a time

Tip #5: Take care of your mental health

Tip #6: How to be successful in your newly online classes

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Anna Panek

Anna is a junior at St. Cloud State University and is double majoring in Math Education and Spanish Education, with a minor in Special Education. She is the Managing Editor for the University Chronicle this year. When she is not at campus attending class, working as a learning assistant or math tutor, or writing for the University Chronicle, she enjoys volunteering, reading, being overly competitive at board games, and telling horribly funny puns.

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