“But we’ve only been here for…” — Building Healthy Routines

Here we are, rounding out the fifth week of classes. Every week feels like a month and a minute–dragging by until you blink and it’s midnight Sunday. Going from shuffling around the same building eight hours a day to two or three classes spread across five different campuses can mess with your sense of time, not to mention your ability to form a routine. My first semester was so full of upheaval, I wasn’t able to establish a routine until finals rolled around! 

One of the unique challenges of the college model is the self-establishments of routine that accompany the self-determination of making your own schedule. That means more than just making sure you get to class on time. Establishing a routine means setting a sustainable sleep pattern, ensuring you have time for regular meals, and even fitting in time to socialize. Although it might seem daunting, a healthy routine will help you design a happier, more energentic, fulfilling college experience! 

First of all, use your calendar. Even if you’re not a paper planner person, consider using the google calendar feature attached to your Scarletmail account, or the calendar app that (most likely) comes standard on a smartphone. The most surefire way to wreck a routine is to lose awareness of your time commitments. With a calendar, not only will you be able to remember your due dates, extra-curricular commitments, and availability, you’ll have a sense of what available time might lend itself best to. Hour gap between 12:50 and 2? Go grab lunch! Tuesday afternoon all clear? That might be a good time to block off for studying. And, by the same token, Friday evenings clear? That’s probably best to reserve for friends! 

You’ll also need to learn to prioritize. Maybe your schedule doesn’t allow for both a sit down breakfast, eight hours of sleep, and getting to your 9:15 on time. Well, something’s gotta give. Don’t forget that finding a healthy routine requires compromise and flexibility–prioritization comes into play to help you know where to flex and where not. If sleep is the most important thing, maybe wake up later and eat a granola bar instead of a full breakfast. If you need some time in the morning to ease yourself into a scholarly mood, you might want to wake up earlier and make do with one fewer smack at the snooze button. 

But don’t let making a routine get you down. Setting a regular pattern is a tool to help you adjust to a new lifestyle, assert control over your commitments, and ultimately reduce the stress in your life; if the stress-reducer becomes the stressor, let it go for a while. After all is said and done, the best way to set a routine is just to do it. Week by week.