This is the second part of the college tips that didn’t work for me post! I outline a 3 common college tips that were not as effective in my experience, and what I did instead. These three tips are more related to the personal aspects of college life.
What didn’t work for me: Going to the gym on my own
Why: It was (and still is) hard for me to go to the gym alone. I go in, and there is just so much equipment around, and I feel pretty insecure, thinking that I am doing things all wrong. I would always tell myself I’m going to the gym alone, then I wouldn’t go because I felt like I couldn’t.
What I did instead: Enrolling in an athletic class (a quarter credit at some college one credit hour at others) or going to the gym with a friend
Why: Enrolling in a class helped me the most because I had to attend or else I would get docked points. I took yoga, tennis, and self-defense, which brought me to the gym because I was a part of a class and a team. When I was not in fitness class, I asked a friend to go with me to the gym. Getting a gym buddy really helps with accountability in a similar way that signing up for a fitness class did.
What didn’t work for me: Group texts to coordinate plans and study groups
Why: Group texts do not feel as “official” to me as having concrete confirmation from others. It is possible to make plans through a group chat, and it has worked for me before, but for important events, like study groups or coming together to work on a group project, I find that there needs to be extra insurance that people do not forget the event or blow it off.
What I did instead: Google Calendar Invites in conjunction with group texts
Why: I used Google Calendar invites for my own birthday party. I like Google calendar because you can send invitations and reminders to others, and accepting a Google invite automatically integrates it into Google Calendar and sets a reminder for the event. I have found invitations to be extraordinarily useful because it gives that concrete confirmation that I missed when trying to coordinate via group chat. Plus, people can say “Maybe” or “No” on Google Invites as well.
Finally: A big one
What didn’t work for me: Sticking with every commitment until the end and not quitting
Why: This is such a tricky one. I was raised to stay committed to projects or clubs, to the point where I was stretching myself way too thin, but I wanted to see my commitments through. I did not know how to say no, and I did not know how to prioritize my needs over the needs of the organization or club I was committed to. And it is very difficult to find that balance. Why is why I…
What I did instead: Re-evaluated my priorities and quit activities that were harming my productivity and my mental health
Why: This is something I need to remind myself every now and then. I alluded to being on the debate team in undergrad on this blog before. What I did not mention is that it was taking up a lot of my time, effort, and eventually, such a draining activity was harming my research and my mental health. Leaving was not without its issues. I was negatively affecting my teammates by leaving. In the end, leaving was best for me. So sticking to every commitment did not work, and quitting made my junior and senior years of undergrad the most fulfilling and fun years of undergrad for me, because I re-evaluated those priorities.