Happy August, ya'll. It's been a good while!
A million and 1 things are happening in my life right now (what else is new) including but not limited to:
- I started a podcast! You can find it in a number of places on this site including right here.
- I've taken some vacation time which is always nice.
- I competed in my LAST EVER pageant. Insanity.
- My wedding dress came in and I am excitedly planning for my wedding next year. #marriage
- I launched my own media/marketing company with the help of my friend Kelsey. It's called There She Is Co. No biggie.
And the big one that so many of us are preparing for
- Getting ready for back to school.
Whether you're super excited about the back to school grind or absolutely dreading it, I think we can all agree that there are some pretty common anxieties or habits that can quickly creep up in the beginning of a new school year. I'm writing this post to share with you 3 challenges that I've had to tackle throughout my time as a student and how I conquer them so that you can feel super prepared and motivated going in AND have the tools to actively take back to school back from the fears and anxieties that plague every new beginning. Bless it. Here we go.
The Thing I Do: Freak out before it even starts.
I know I'm not the only one. You get super amped up with all of the anticipation of the year ahead and it makes you super excited and nervous and the adrenaline is RUSHING AND YOUVE HAD THREE CUPS OF COFFEE AND THE FIRST DAY IS BARRELING TOWARD YOU LIKE A FREAKING FREIGHT TRAIN AND... you end up in Panic Town USA. Spoiler alert:
We all do it.
So now the question is, how to I pull myself out of this deep dark abyss and better yet, can I even avoid spiraling down in the first place?
The answer is here's some tips and heck yes.
The Thing I Do Next: Take back control.
When you break it down, fear is ultimately a response to a loss of control. For example, the nervousness you might feel sparking up in the pit of your stomach when a cop is driving behind you, even without their lights flashing, is a response to your lack of control over the cop's perception of how you're driving. You might go back in your mind and try to remember if you've shown even a hint of possible recklessness behind the wheel within the last 10 minutes. But when it comes down to it, the only thing you have control over now is how you're driving in the moment. Your next step is to buckle down, hands 10 and 2 on the wheel, and focus straight ahead, maybe changing lanes and praying the cop passes you and doesn't pull you over.
Just like loss of control can exist across any scenario, circumstance, or area of life, fear can also look and feel different in just as many ways. The anxiety brewing while you think about starting a new grade, at a new school, or moving back into the dorm is fear that derives from the fact that you have utterly no control over how this school year is going to go.
The kicker is that that is a total lie.
You have total control over your school year.
Just like you have control over your plans for today.
What it comes down to is how you choose to exercise your control and this can be narrowed down and achieved by doing the following balance exercise literally right now where you are in your own head. If you're a visual person, write it down and keep it on a pretty piece of stationary as a reminder that you control your life.
I cannot control my professor's teaching style... but I can control the energy I bring into the classroom. I can also email my professor ahead of time to establish early rapport, ask questions I have before classes start.
I cannot control that the requirements for my education will manifest in the form of a packed schedule ... but I can control how I invest in mastering time management skills by signing up for a meeting with my advisor/guidance counselor and I can choose which Lilly Pulitzer planner I'll use to map it all out.
I cannot control what the students around me think about me... but I can control how I set myself up with a bomb outfit, emergency chocolate in my bag, and whatever it takes to practice confidence as a habit so that owning who I am eventually becomes the norm.
Do this exercise with every anxiety you have about the new school year. It will take some self reflection, but if you're going to conquer the year, you're going to have to put some time in to taking care of yourself. This is one way to do it.
The Thing I Do: Immediately abandon summertime priorities like working out or dedicating time to my side hustle.
I can already feel my future self getting distracted and abandoning the yoga flow for a Netflix binge session and trading the meal prep time for Postmates.
Not. This. Year.
The Thing I Do Next: Audit my calendar and plan ahead.
If you don't already have a calendar app on your phone that you can access with one tap, download one now. Input all of your classes for the semester, any anticipated work shifts, internship hours, and prior commitments. This will allow you to have a visual of how much available space you'll have each day.
Once you have it all color coded and organized, ENTER IN YOUR WORKOUTS. Sounds excessive right? Enter in when you'll grocery shop each week, how long you'll meal prep for, and anything else you're likely to skip out on that will make your life less stressful in the long run (laundry, reminders on when you should leave for class, etc.).
Just like you wouldn't skip out on a coffee date with a friend if it was in your calendar ahead of time, don't skip out on yourself. Don't be the first person you're likely to stand up if something better comes along because you are worth making time for.
The Thing I Do: Try to prep for the entire year by day 1.
You need mile markers, sis. It's not all coming at you on day 1. I need to remind myself this literally everyday leading up to the first day of school. Day 1 does not require you to polish your resume, interview for the job, go to that doctor's appointment you've neglected for too long, work a 9-5 as a barista, and still make it to psych class at 8PM.
The Thing I Do Next: Identify mile markers.
Like a runner in a marathon, you will literally die if you go full speed ahead from the second the gun goes off all the way to the end. Pace yourself in life so you don't burn out on day 7. Taking all of the things 1 by 1 is a necessity. Plan it out in this way:
Top 3 goals for this semester:
(Written as if I've already achieved them based on the Start Today Journal by The Hollis Co.)
- My grades are the best they've ever been.
- My share of the apartment/dorm is clean and organized.
- I am the healthiest I have ever been.
First steps for each goal.
- Spend at least 15 minutes on each assignment I am given the day each is assigned.
- Assign a day of the week that I will do laundry and schedule it in my calendar so that I don't forget or bail.
- Schedule 30 minutes everyday dedicated to working out as well as grocery shopping/meal prep time.
Protip: Again with the calendar thing, if it's important enough to you, you'll make time for it. You won't make time for it if it's not in your calendar.
Now doesn't that feel better?
You're gonna crush this year one step at a time with the energy and passion you deserve to have for this season in your life. Good luck, fam. I'm right there with you. You got this.