Breaks, Balance, & Burnout

Happy October everyone! I am currently blogging from Daytona Beach, Florida, it’s Midterm season and the Fall 2020 semester is halfway over!

I am very excited for Thanksgiving break, taking finals from home (with my sister’s amazing cooking), and an extra long winter break. I originally didn’t expect that having 3-day weekends canceled this semester would have a huge impact on me, but I was definitely wrong. Today’s topic is how to take small breaks when you can, and prevent burnout.

Pre-COVID family moments that have me looking forward to the extra long winter break this year!

Health is a dynamic part of everyone’s life, and it plays a huge role in how you’re doing academically. This semester I’ve been busier than ever, which is still astonishing to me. Navigating full weeks of classes back-to-back filled with lab reports, essays, homework, quizzes, and exams is rough! Time management and self care will be your key to success. 

Set goals! I keep an outline of my weekly schedule, with recurring class times, meetings, study group sessions, and homework times. I fill in the rest of my free time as my responsibilities change every week with (typically) more homework, workouts, and meetings. Knowing your limits is important. Sometimes you have to gauge if an extra hour of sleep is more important than an extra hour spent studying, or vice versa. I try to keep a similar bedtime every day to keep my schedule consistent. By trying my best to stick to my schedule and by checking off boxes on my to-do lists everyday, I find consistency in the chaos. 

My AFROTC Fall 2020 photobook picture.

You will most certainly find me on a Friday or Saturday night doing homework and going to bed by 8pm from being mentally exhausted at the end of a long week. I’m at the point in the semester where I am heavily reliant on coffee and internal motivation. I find I thrive when I am fairly busy, but there is a fine balance between healthy workloads that challenge you to grow, and feeling burnt out and exhausted. Rest and recovery are equally as important as grinding to get your assignments done and hard workouts. Progress comes with balance!

Hydration, quality sleep, healthy eating, time to de-stress, and time to process what you’re learning in your classes are all very important! I have in-person PT once a week with AFROTC, one Remote-PT, and an in-person LLAB, so I usually wake up fairly early. On the nights before, I set my alarm very early in the morning, I try to go to bed as early as possible, and set my future self up for success by laying out my uniform, prepping my gear, and making sure that if there are steps I can take the night before that will give me a few extra minutes of sleep in the morning, I take them.

Sometimes this is as simple as pouring water in my Keurig and filling my reusable pods with coffee grounds, but it makes a huge difference in my morning routine if all I have to do is press a button when I’m half asleep in the morning. For you this might look like studying for a quiz the night before instead of the morning of, or prepping your cover sheets for your homework assignments for the week on Sunday evenings. Set your future self up for success, anything I can do to make my future self’s life easier, more peaceful, or more well rested, I try to do.

My preferred schedule (that I adored sticking to over the summer) started with me waking up to the sunrise (preferably doing yoga and going surfing) and going to bed at sunset. My Fall 2020 school schedule doesn’t allow for my leisurely preferences, but I am very hopeful that my winter break will be filled with hiking, resting, lots of sleep good food, and my sister’s new puppy! My motivation lately has been looking forward to the future.

Keep on keeping on folks, stay safe, and I will report back soon!

Day to Day

Hello everyone!

I wanted to discuss a bit about what the average day looks like on campus. I know for me,  before coming to school I was very curious about what college is really like. So I decided I would speak a little on my schedule to help out those other curious people like me.

At Riddle we have an alternating schedule of fifty minute Monday/Wednesday/Friday classes and one-and-half hour Tuesday/Thursday classes. Every once in a while a class, typically a lab, will be offered in a three hour time block on one day of the week. For example, I had my airport management class from 5:15-8:00 pm every Thursday.

I normally schedule my classes back to back and earlier in the day. This means I get up and get classes done. Others prefer breaks so they can do homework, socialize, or get lunch in between. And one of the best parts of college is being able to choose classes that start later – sleeping in is truly the best! I also prefer the shorter classes, but I now choose to only have two on Monday/Wednesday/Friday and three on Tuesday/Thursday. This just seems to make the weeks go by faster in my opinion!

In class I usually bring a snack and a drink. I live off caffeine so the baristas at Starbucks and I are on very good terms. I also take notes on my laptop, but it’s all up to your professor. Some classes you’re in a lab with a computer provided and other times you have a professor who prefers no electronics. To me, classes feel very similar to high school. The sizes are small and the professors truly get to know you!

After class I head to work or to grab lunch. I usually find myself back in my room studying or in a lounge in the dorms. Resident Advisers (RAs) do contact hours where we are required to be available to our residents. I do mine after class. Also for this job, I have duty Wednesday nights. Duty is when RAs sit at the dorm’s front desk and walk around the building periodically. We are here to solve any problems in the dorms and be of help to all! On Monday and Wednesday I work as a Student Assistant in the Office of Development, which is basically fundraising for the university.

Homework-wise, because I know everyone is wondering, it seems as an Aviation Business major I have about a couple hours each night. This of course varies. I try to get a lot done on the weekends because after a day of classes, work, then clubs… I’m exhausted! There are jobs on campus where you can do homework during your shift and RA is definitely one. Some nights I will have nothing but others I feel very busy. It’s all about time management. The best advice I ever heard for college was to treat it like a 9-5 job. That means if you get out of class at 1 pm, sit and knock out your homework until 5 pm. When you get caught up in Netflix bingeing, it gets hard to get motivated again. It’s better to take that focus you had during class and burn through it in one sitting. Again, the amount of homework all just depends on your major, class, and professor.

Around 5:00 pm is when all the clubs get started. The campus is still bustling with involved students this late in the evening! I do have clubs that meet at 9:00 pm but those meeting are typically an hour. That was the weirdest part of transitioning from high school to college, seeing everyone out late studying and going to meetings! I love coming back to my room after a busy day and relaxing or even being super productive and cranking out homework. I live in the new dorms and they are very nice and a quick walk to and from classes!

Overall this is a rough outline of my schedule:

(Notice: your schedule will change every week and no day will be the same but you will always have time to relax and have fun!)

Weekends are genuinely open for me to do homework or spend time with friends. While campus is a little emptier on the weekends, there is still a lot going on. Many times I am invited to volunteer opportunities or events with the clubs I am involved in!

Curious about how this schedule actually plays out? Preview Day is coming soon and is a day where you get to experience college classes and learn about the clubs and activities on campus! Mark your calendars for Saturday, April 7, 2018, 8 a.m.– 4 p.m.!

Maybe see you then?!

– Maddie