Cultivating What Matters When You're a College Student
Friends, I have a treat for you today! Team Cultivate had the absolute JOY of working with our first-ever Cultivate summer intern this year, and we could not have lucked out with a better gal for our inaugural post. Lauren is incredibly smart, a gifted writer and marketer, bubbling over with enthusiasm, and a great encouragement to us all. I'm thrilled to share this post with you from her perspective! — Emily
It’s the question every grandparent, aunt, and uncle wants to know: “So, what’s your plan for college?”
You’ve answered it so many times in so many ways. Some days you feel like going to nursing school and other days you think about being a marketing major.
On the outside, you look confident, but on the inside, you’re crumbling—all of these decisions are too much. Besides, haven’t you gone through enough this year? How could you possibly know the plan for your life?
The truth is, you have no clue. And that’s okay.
Being a college student—especially right now—can feel overwhelming!
After spending months at home, thousands of students are getting ready to jump back into school—no matter what that may look like.
While this year of college will look a lot different, we want to make this semester count. We want to make it matter.
Today, I want to share 6 ways you can make this year of college matter—and they may not be what you think!
Find your jazz symphony. I was that kid in high school that listened to the classical radio station instead of pop or R&B. Jazz music has always been my favorite, but I didn’t realize how much I loved it until I ended up at a jazz symphony during my freshman year and left feeling so rested. Now, I make time to go every week, because those two hours bring me JOY! What does joy look like for you? Walking with a friend around campus? Reading at your favorite coffee shop? Find those things and do them often.
Lose at the game of comparison. Whether you’re headed back to campus or to your desk at home for classes, there’s going to be a strong temptation to compare your life with everyone around you. Every student is handling the changes from this year differently. Comparison steals joy, so extend grace--for everyone is fighting a battle that you may not see.
Say yes to the right things. One of the most common pieces of advice I was given before college was this: “Say yes to everything.” I did and ended up feeling overwhelmed--with a packed schedule to show for it :) Instead of saying “yes” to everything, say yes to things that matter toyou! Before I schedule weekday plans, I block out time for the things that are top priority to me--like going to class, studying, leading a Bible study, and getting lunch with three friends a week. This allows me to manage my time well and creates room for any other fun activities I want to do or people I want to meet during the week.
Become unashamed of saying no. When I was a freshman at Baylor, I secretly admired a few people around me that weren’t saying yes to everything. They weren’t afraid to say no and created time in their schedule for rest--which is something we all need. Reevaluate your calendar. How are you spending most of your time? What is something you could say “no” to this week? It can feel terrifying to say “no” sometimes, but every “no” is a potential better “yes”!
Create time blocks in your schedule. This system allows you to cut out distractions and maximize productivity and my PowerSheets® make it so easy! For example, try blocking out 3 hours (with 15-minute breaks between each hour) every day to study or get homework done without distractions. Leave your phone in another room and focus on the task in front of you. Once you finish, you'll have the rest of the day to use your time however you would like, knowing you got your priorities done first.
- Put the phone down. During quarantine, we’ve learned how valuable strong community and relationships are. This semester, set a goal to be more present with your roommates and the people in your classes and organizations. While your phone (and mask!) will always be by your side, your years in college will fly by. Try putting your phone away for blocks of time and do something you love without distraction. This semester, I’m setting a goal to go phone-free for 24 hours during the weekend. More ideas on that here!
How are you going to make this semester of college matter? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!
P.S. Know a college student that's headed back to school? Share this blog with them!