#BlogTops Challenge: 5 Ways to Inject School into Your “Grown-Up” Life
If you follow my Twitter at all you may have heard about my friend djohns03 ‘s and my 20 One-Word #BlogTops for 20-Somethings. We’re on Week 1 of out 20-week blogging challenge and our first topic is….SCHOOL! (For my friend’s thought on the subject, visit his blog at: http://djohns03.wordpress.com/)
As we find ourselves at the end of September, most Kindergartners and College students alike find themselves beginning to settle into their back-to-school routines. That exciting back-to-school feeling that comes from new markers, clean, fresh paper, and new clothes has begun to fade for most part as stress from tests, quizzes, and homework settle in its place. The promises of Thanksgiving break or the even earlier, MEA Weekend for all you Minnesotans, dangle like a hanging carrot— urging us forward.
Like it or lump it, the nice thing about being in school is that it puts natural breaks in your routine. There’s always something to look forward to, like a holiday, or something to dread like turning in a project that’s been plaguing you. As an #upandcoming #quarterlifer who finds myself in one of those pesky real life type jobs, it’s hard to find that same punctuation in my own life. Something I’ve been trying to do recently is inject “school-like” experiences into my life to help spice it up a bit and break the routine of going to my 9 to 5 everyday.
Here’s my tips for you to do the same!
1. Join a group that has regular meetings/meetups/classes.
Do you love to dance? Sign up for a hip-hop class! Are you more into drinking? Join a wine and cheese group! For “for extra credit” pick something that you love, but also benefits another area of your life like your career or your health.
Me, I love anything artsy so I joined Theoroi (@theoroiproject) a young professionals group which is part of the Schubert Club. Though the Schubert Club focuses on classical music, the young professional group has the chance to participate in art performances of all kinds, including theater and dance. The bonus is we get to blog about each performance so it’ll look great on an application if/when I do decide to return for actual grad school.
Usually these types of offerings have sessions or seasons which helps to break up your life into manageable chunks. Having regular meetings makes it easy to plan for in your schedule, like having a test or paper due. Plus, it’s always something to look forward to after a long day at the office!
2. Buy a Calendar!
No, I’m not talking about your iPhone. Like a real, paper calendar. I like the giant month-long desk calendars.
Put everything on it! Coffee with a friend? Bachelorette Party? Any of the aforementioned classes/meetings? Get ‘em on there!
Being able to see everything written down not only helps you with your brain, but it just feels great to scratch things down on something new, highlight them, and step back to look. It’s almost as good as those first few notes in your brand new Five-Star College Ruled notebook. For the ultimate “back-to-school” feeling, invest in some brand new pens and highlighters in colors you love.
3. Plan a vacation (or staycation).
As newcomers on the scene of careers and employment I think oftentimes we’re compelled to work around the clock and not take any time for ourselves. And, to a certain extent, it’s definitely important to pay your dues, and work to establish footing in your chosen career path.
Still, you aren’t doing yourself any favors if you burn yourself out. I remember at my first real-lifey type job I would go in early, stay late, check my emails from home, and never take a lunch break (unless lunch break counts as lunch at your desk or lunch standing up in the coffee break room behind the office). Before long I became exhausted, forgetful, and just generally unmotivated. No good for a #millennial trying to establish herself in the work place.
If you’re lucky enough to have a job with paid time off, schedule a nice 4 day vacation a few months out, maybe around another holiday so you can get an extra day of R and R without using up a vacation day. If you have a job that’s somewhat less flexible with PTO, at least plan a weekend trip somewhere with a couple friends. Have fun and try to plan it as cheaply as possible! Alternatively, plan out a weekend all to yourself where you’ll go to the spa, or see a movie, and just spend some time recharging your batteries.
And don’t leave it until last minute. While spur of the moment trips can be fun, the stress of pulling everything together could leave you more tired than before. Plus, then it loses the magic that is has when you’re looking forward to it. Think of it as your own personal Spring Break!
…And for god sake don’t sync work emails to your phone. Listen to me people: it can wait.
4. Change up your look.
My favorite part about starting every school year was deciding what kind of person I wanted to be. A big part of this always was picking out a whole new wardrobe or new hairstyle.
You can get some of the same excitement by changing things up for yourself. This summer I discovered the joy of wearing dresses. Guess what—SO much more comfortable than pants. Plus, the amount of compliments I got when I started wearing them really made me feel great!
Go invest in something that you’ve always wanted but don’t normally wear. Wear a blazer instead of a cardigan. Put on some heels instead of flats. Get a snazzy new haircut and put some color in. Even something simple like a new briefcase or a purse can make you feel fresh and re-energized!
5. …Read a new book.
This one is simple. Learn something. Expand your mind. You’ll feel better. Trust me.
How do you keep that “back-to-school” feeling alive when you aren’t in school?