Yesterday my mom called me from work. She was having trouble being productive—the office was quiet, she had tons of work, it just didn’t add up! Then it struck us, put on some music. Even as background sound it can add something extra and get your creative juices flowing.
Now, some people hate distractions when they’re working. They would rather sit alone and work than ever be bothered by people, or worse music. But on the flip side, some people can’t work without it, they need music, or background movement to get anything done.
In fact, this summer at my internship, everyone had headphones in and was glued to Spotify as they completed their daily tasks. I loved it—but then again, I’m team music. It helps me focus while also letting my brain breathe. When it’s silent and I’m studying I feel like I’m boring myself to sleep!
But since the verdict is out, and there are supporters on side of the “to listen or not listen at work” debate, I was surprised to find that some companies are blocking free streaming sites.
My mom couldn’t pull up Spotify, Pandora, or even AOL music—all blocked. But why? Just because these sites exist doesn’t mean everyone at the office wants to listen to them, and just because music is involved doesn’t automatically mean it’s a distraction.
In my mind, the option to listen should be available—music isn’t like facebook, you don’t need to block it! As long as you are doing your work, or studying, or whatever your task list might be, then it doesn’t matter what else is going on around you. While I do agree with blocking shopping, and social media—music is pushing it.
But maybe I’m wrong? Where do you weigh in?
Do you listen, or shut it completely out?
Oh the joys of free time.
Some students loathe it—thinking, “if I have down time, I’m doing something wrong!” Others love it, the only thing wrong about it is if their daily nap gets interrupted. So what do you do on the off chance that you have some wiggle room in your schedule?
Here are a few things to try if you haven’t already:
1) Naps are far from overrated. You haven’t lived in college until you’ve taken a true nap—a deep sleep, middle of the day, nap to give you a boost and revive you!
2) Read a book, and not for class! Reading in your free time with an actual book that you choose can be invigorating. You get so much more into because it’s something you wanted and no one told you to do it. Try it at least once. It makes you feel like a mature student—no one has to know that you did it but I can assure you it will feel great!
3) Cook. Real food. The food on campus can be okay when you’re really hungry, or maybe you like it all the time. But once in awhile take a break from the dining hall and make something special—the microwave can work wonders, and if you’re lucky enough to have a full kitchen, that’s even better! Invite your friends to the lounge, or over to your house and try out a new recipe. It can double as a fun night activity and also a way to eat—both are important!
4) Reorganize your room. I know, I know, not the most fun thing to do in the world, but at this point in the semester you almost need to! You start off with a clean room and everything in its place, but as the semester gets busier, your organization slips. Take an afternoon and check yourself—spruce up your desk, your room, or even your closet. Once you do, you’ll feel ready for anything!
5) Try something new! Go explore! See a show, go out to dinner, and visit a museum! It doesn’t matter where you go to school, there is something out there that you haven’t done before, and have maybe always wanted to try! Search the Internet, or check with your activities office. Broaden your horizons. It will make the free time you do have seem more worth it!
Whether you have oodles of free time, or barely enough to breathe, make sure you’re filling it with real things—whether they are to relax you, or just to have fun. You deserve it!
Freshman year I searched high and low for clubs to join. I had heard so many rumors about making sure to get involved that I didn’t want to waste any time or miss any opportunities. I go to a mid size university in Philadelphia—It’s not huge, but it’s not small by any means either, so finding a niche was key!
Getting involved was one of the best decisions I made. And what was my go-to organization to join? Student Government.
Why student government? Why not?
Student Government, like in high school, gives you a chance to be a voice for your class—however cliché that may sound. Now roles may vary as you make the leap from student council to college. In high school you have a president of every class, a treasurer, secretary, reps, the works! But in college the level jump is huge! As a class rep you are representative to hundreds, maybe thousands of students. Sounds strange, but it’s true.
At La Salle our student government operates under a senate construction. We have 5 class senators per year and then one overall executive board. The entire student body—every student—is a member of the student government. Our senators are the ones who represent them. We sit on various university committees and help make decisions that could potentially impact our day-to-day experiences. Most students think decisions are made without student input—surely they just ignored the students! Wrong! Chances are students that students from your student government are sitting on some of the same committees, at least in some form.
Student government members are a link between the student body and the administration. Their jobs are geared towards a better campus, not planning prom. It’s a thrill, it’s hard work, and at times, maybe a little dense. But, it’s worth it, if for nothing else, than just to be a part of something bigger than you and to learn a little something about where you go to school.
When I joined freshman year, I was hooked. I didn’t just love the meetings; I loved the group of people! I made some of my very best friends sitting around a huge wooden table arguing about random issues—that bonds you!
So if you haven’t already, check out your school’s student government. It will give you something to work for, represent, and be proud of! Three years later, as a senior, it’s still my go-to group.
College is busy. But news flash—you knew that coming in.
Over the last 3 years I have made it my goal to be as involved and “busy” as possible—while of course still keeping up with my classes and grades. My friends look at it as a death sentence. They can’t figure out why I want to always be running around, shouldn’t I be studying? But all arguments aside, I always came to the conclusion that the alternative was worse: Spending 4 years trapped, alone, in my dorm room.
Let’s play a game. Would you Rather?
Would you rather be busy, or be bored to tears?
Would you rather have a jam-packed schedule, or not enough to do?
And last one…
Would you rather have stories to tell (stressed ones, funny ones, crazy ones) or think back on your time and not remember anything but books?
Okay so these are extreme, but you get the point.
I go to a relatively small school, so it’s easier to get involved—maybe even more encouraged. However, I took them up on it and haven’t regretted it since. Sure some days are too busy and I can’t wait to drop everything and take a nap, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything. Everyone tells me they are “too busy”. I want to reply, “good! You should be!”, but always think twice. You should be busy in college, it comes with the territory, or at least it should.
In fact, I’ve watched my friends over the last 3 years do the exact opposite of me—try to stay uninvolved. I love them to death, but I think I made the winning choice. There are days when I don’t see them leave their rooms, or do more than just watch a new episode of the “must-see” TV show. While I agree that they have chosen the less stress-filled path, I think that when we graduate in May, they might be slightly disappointed at what they missed out on.
We all make choices in college, many of which shape who we are. It’s not mandatory to get involved; maybe studying really does take that long. But the way I see it is we have 4 years in college. Classes are most important and studying goes along with that, but what about the rest of the time? Once you graduate the tickets aren’t as cheap, the activities aren’t as readily available. The programs, movies, parties, and friend groups aren’t as easy to find.
Yes college is about the books, but it’s also about growing up and gaining experience—social experience as well as life experience, and a big part of that is learning to balance. College should be a balance of work and fun, books and friends, movies and food. It’s the whole package! Your classes may be the meat and bones of the experience—the thick of it, but the cherry on top of your 4 years is the friends, memories and stories you’ll be able to tell about the other stuff you did. Ramen in your dorm room can’t go in your scrapbook. Trust me.
Everyone tells you it’s important to get involved in college. Well, guess what? I wholeheartedly agree. It’s crucial.
If you go to a big school you have to get involved just to stay afloat. If you go to a school, it’s to your advantage to get involved. You may not have to, but trust me; it’s in your best interest.
I’m in a nostalgic mood so I decided to think back over the last three years at what I was able to accomplish as a result of being involved. Now this list will vary per person—I’m from Kansas, so just moving to Pennsylvania required me to become involved or else I would be all alone.
* Phillies games (lots)
* 3 President’s receptions
* Student Body President (2 years)
* 4 years on Student Government
* Internship in London
* Business class trip to China
* Internship in Salt Lake City
* Two years in “upper classmen” townhouses
* Met the Mayor of Philadelphia
* Competed in Miss Philadelphia pageant
* Spoke to the incoming Freshmen class (twice)
* Helped plan/run homecoming events
* Presented a check during Homecoming Basketball game
* “Besties” with the University President
* Sat on committees with all the Deans
* Made our mascot out of cupcakes—let’s go explorers!
* Voted on a “smoke-free campus” proposal
* Chatting about the upcoming Bball season with the Athletic Director
* Joked with the Dean of the business school to find me a job—no seriously, I did that.
* Got a blogging internship
* Started a co-ed fraternity
* Met my future roommates—this is by far the most important!
So like I said, this list only applies to me, but I bet you could make your own. If you get involved, AWESOME things can happen. The list of “involvement perks” is random—some things are huge, Hello, Mayor Nutter!! But others are subtle, but could have never happened if I didn’t put myself out there—like meeting my roommates, or my boyfriend for that matter. (Cute story alert—he moved me into my freshmen dorm. He was in the same community service hall as me!)
When you get involved you create awesome opportunities for yourself, and frankly, you have a lot more fun than you would otherwise. Get involved and see how your “list” pans out. I bet you’ll be impressed!