Eliza Zachowicz—Since I began college in 2015, I have accumulated knowledge on multiple topics including work, weather, easy shortcuts, how to get the word count, how American Sign Language became a language, and miscellaneous film facts and director tricks. However, the most important thing I learned about was myself and how to take care of the body I am living in.
Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Eliza, you’re 20 years old. How did it take you 20 years to figure out how to take care of your actual cage?”
But hear me out…college is rough. It has been an absolute rollercoaster, and I still have a year and a half left. Honestly, it is a miracle I made it this far, in my opinion.
I do owe my survival of these college years to two of the best pieces of advice I’ve received that go directly hand in hand. Those two things are studying, and sleep.
In my experience, these are two of the most important things in college. But it is all about how you handle it. That being said, my freshman year, I had no idea how to handle these things. In fact, it wasn’t until I got halfway through my sophomore year that I finally found a grip that I might actually get a hold of.
You will hear it time and time again, but something that is absolutely important to your studying habits is to not study where you sleep. By studying in your bed, yes you will be oh so comfy and cozy, but you will instantly want to go to sleep while studying. And going to sleep won’t feel like a treat, it will feel like you’ve been sitting there for hours trying to write a paper on why hydrogen reacts a certain way to a flame and you just became horizontal instead of vertical. Trust me on this one, by finding a good study space that you can truly be in your element is life changing. When I started actually going to the library, my grades reflected that. Not only did I dedicate that time to reading, writing papers and studying for my tests, but I actually started to retain the information. Before, while laying in bed reading act 3 of Macbeth for the fourth time, I could not keep my eyes open let alone figure out what the heck was going on. Study spaces are key to being successful. Plus, after a nice 10-hour power study, seeing your bed waiting for you is the most incredible feeling. I promise.
Which leads me to my next most important element to surviving college and that is SLEEP. Yes, sleep is seriously so important. Please put down that Red Bull and hear me out because this is also life changing and I have my incredible friends to thank for it. During the day, when you are struggling to stay awake, rethink that fourth coffee. When it’s after a certain point, do not buy another energy drink. Rethink your choices and plan out what actually needs to get done and evaluate whether or not staying up all night will be beneficial, because it probably isn’t. Again, trust me on this, because sophomore year I was living in my own personal dungeon. Every day, I had at least 7 caffeinated beverages in order to survive the long days ahead of me, but the problem with this was that when it actually was time to go to sleep, I could see noises and hear my heart beating in my ears. It was absolutely insane and laying awake in bed shaking at 4 am is not how you want to spend your week. Because, guess what? The next day, you’re going to be even more tired, which means more caffeine, which means another late night, and the cycle repeats. After my friends had a mini intervention with me, we decided to stop my coffee intake after a certain point and reduce that time every so often. Once I did this, I began to go to bed before 3 am. It felt incredible! Now, I’m on a real sleep schedule that actually will get more than just 4 hours of sleep! Plus, when I get back from the library at a reasonable hour, I am set to go to bed and don’t have to watch the sound of wind coursing through my bedroom.
That being said, please take the advice I was given sooner rather than later. Catch as many Zs as you can, and find your space. As long as it isn’t your sacred sleeping zone, any place can be a good spot to study. Whether it is the library, the union, or even the desk in your room. And most importantly, enjoy your time at school. Yes, even during finals week. Because when you go home for break, everything feels different and you may even get bored. But don’t worry, another tiring, caffeine filled (in small doses) semester lies ahead of you.
We will see you all in the Spring! Questions? Feel free to leave them below or tweet them to me @Bport_Eliza! Also, stay tuned on my YouTube channel for videos on my study abroad experience and more!