Finding “You” Time in College and Making the Most of It
One aspect of college that makes it completely different from past years is the amount of free time that comes with it. Your classes will often be scattered throughout the day, leaving a lot of open time before the next one. This time should be used for homework, of course, and hanging out with friends, but it’s important that you also make time in your schedule just for you.
This “you” time, as I like to call it, is essential for your mental health, as it will be the space for you to do something that’s for your benefit overall. You can choose to spend this time in any way you wish — reading, watching Netflix, using a face-mask, meditating.
Here is my advice on making the most of this time!
Become comfortable being alone.
Being alone is often stigmatized as something uncomfortable and frowned upon, especially in college when you’re supposed to be making your best memories. We think of it as something isolating, something, well, lonely. However, there’s a difference between being alone and being lonely. You just have to think of being alone in a different light.
Try renaming “being alone” to “spending time with yourself.” Spending time with yourself is the best way to know what you like best and what interests you the most. More importantly, it’s a time to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling during the day. It’s a time for reflection. It’s a time where you don’t owe anyone anything — your time, your brain, your talents. You can just be.
Designate your space for work and your space for play.
It’s unhealthy to do work and to sleep in the same place. Your bed, for example, is no place for watching TV and eating every meal! Designate the library, a cafe, a study lounge, whatever it may be, as the place where you’ll do homework and study.
Let your dorm room be a haven, a place where you can indulge in your “you” time entirely separate from the place that you work. Once you cross the threshold into your dorm room, you know that the time spent there can be entirely dedicated to you.
To make this space into your own, choose decorations that will make it feel like home to you. To have an easier transition from high school to college, try making your dorm room the same color as your room from home. Or add a picture collage to your wall and add photographs of your home friends, family, your pet. Whatever makes the room feel more you, definitely include it in your dorm.
Shop the look:
Carve out time for you during your day.
Look at your schedule and choose a time in the day that will solely be dedicated for indulgence. Maybe it’s 7-8pm, after dinner. Or it could be 2 pm after your lecture and before a discussion session at 4. Selecting a period in the day will make sure that you aren’t losing track of your studies whilst you’re spending time with yourself, and hopefully, ease the guilt of not doing homework.
Invest in a cute planner to figure out when your free time is and to make sure it doesn’t overlap with anything else. Then, you can mark this space in your calendar as your “you” time, and have it scheduled just like your class would be.
Shop planners from Amazon:
Don’t feel guilty about taking this time for yourself.
This time is essential for your success as a student. If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself and do things for the sake of your happiness and mental health, you’re ensuring your own failure and unhappiness.
Note: Make sure that you’re still spending time with friends and getting involved on campus. Connections with others are just as important as that connection with yourself, and being too isolated can defeat the purpose of “you” time.
Check out this video on creating a self-care action plan!
Conversely, if you can’t find this time every day, that’s okay too.
Every day is different in college, with last minute plans being made and projects being announced two days before they’re due. This time for you should be something to look forward to, a special part of the day. Don’t punish yourself for not having the time for it because not every day can work out as we planned. Just plan better for tomorrow, and make that time extra special.
Because a yoga studio is so close to my school, I started practicing yoga this year. I love my yoga time. That time belongs entirely to me and my body. I try not to focus on the essay I have due in a week or the exam I just took while I’m there. Rather, I focus on learning what my body can do, watching it change, and working on a skill completely unrelated to my schoolwork.
Check out these simple yoga poses that will help you rewind, relax, and check in with your body and mind.
College is time for self-exploration. You’ll become more “you” than you’ve ever been during this time, for you’ll be studying what you want to study, and you’ll be surrounded by people who challenge and interest you. Check in with yourself, find out what you need, and you’ll be set up for a successful and happy life.
About the author
Bryn Goldstein is a rising sophomore at the University of Southern California studying Creative Writing and Narrative Studies. She hails from Roslyn, New York — the land of bagels and iced coffee. You can most likely find her reading, writing, singing, or practicing yoga. She hopes to work at a publishing house in the future, maybe become an author, maybe a screenwriter. Whatever comes first.