Letter from Your Future Self

With the start of Spring comes beautiful weather, outdoor activities, and the temptation to hide your books in the back of the closet and not let them see the light of day. Ever. Again.

At this point, you’ve been hard at work since last fall… or the fall before that… or maybe longer. You may be wondering if studying will ever be done… if it’s worth all this hard work…  if you really want to keep going.

Being a few years on the other side of college, though, I can tell you it is worth it.  But there are times when you wonder.  So I hope you don’t mind this note; one that I wish someone would have written to me when I was in the middle of earning my degree.

A Letter From Your Future Self.

Dear younger self,

I know you’re under a pile of work that looks like it will never end.  I know that you worry about assignments and you have nights when you don’t sleep very much. I know that you study either way too much or not at all, depending on the day.  But there are a few things I want to tell you.  Things I’ve learned in the few years since finishing that degree you’re working on. Things to give you inspiration in the tough times and the motivation to finish strong.  So here goes.

Give yourself a break.  Yes, you heard me right.  I know you have a goal for when you want to graduate. That’s great—don’t lose that.  But honestly, delaying that test by three days or a week may be a big deal right now, but you’ll be laughing at yourself in a few years.  After all, you’re still finishing in record time!

Another thing… memories are pretty important too.  Yes, make studying a priority. But don’t forego spending time with people you care about.  That means choosing your priorities. Facebook and other activities may not make the cut.  But if cutting out certain things allows you to make memories that last for years… go for it.

Take advantage of opportunities!  You will never again have a chance to explore and learn and grow like you do now.  When else can you take a random music class or learn a language and have the excuse that you’re doing it for a college degree?  Internships or job shadowing will tell you things about yourself that you could never find out unless you actually did it.  Travel!  You’re in CollegePlus for a reason, right?  Take school with you across the country or around the world!  This is your chance. Don’t just sit at home on your computer. Use the flexibility you have to do something great.

Work hard. Just in case you were confused… giving yourself a break and pursuing incredible opportunities does not mean you sit around and do nothing.  It requires hard work to balance opportunity with studying.  Don’t be afraid to give up the things that are not a priority and then go after the things that are with everything that is in you.

Finally, don’t be discouraged. You are doing something revolutionary. Not everyone understands. But that’s okay.  In a few years, you will be the one with no debt and the freedom to follow your dreams.  You will be the one with amazing life experiences that taught you more about yourself and your passions than you could have even imagined.  You will have awesome travel memories from taking school on the road with you.  You are the one who has to live your life and you want to be able to look back and have no regrets.

So, you want to know what happens in a few years?  Well, first of all, you took my [your] advice. 🙂 You had some pretty incredible experiences and made friends that will last a lifetime.  Even though you spent six extra months on your degree, you wouldn’t trade the experience for the world.  And really, a four year degree in two and a half years?  Still not too shabby.

The job shadowing and internship helped you find your passion—one you hadn’t paid much attention to until then.  That’s a good thing, because now you are pursuing that passion and it promises to be a life-long adventure.  And since you’re not in debt, you have the flexibility and the funds to go anywhere that God calls you to.

It’s been a great adventure and it is only beginning.  Just make sure that whatever you do, you can look back and say no regrets.

~Your Future Self

Featured Image: Letter, CC

Making the Most of Small Moments

College is hard.

Doing it on your own can be harder still.

Trying to find time to study on your own (without deadlines) after work, before making dinner or doing laundry and without siblings knocking on your door at least 10 times within one hour… ??

Nearly impossible.

This article is inspired after talking to many of you in the last few weeks who are attempting the impossible. First, know that you are doing a great job! Just by attempting this, you are lightyears ahead of so many people.

But often, this journey seems rather thankless. We peel ourselves away from our family, feeling guilty we are even thinking of trying to carve out “alone” time. We sit in our rooms and try to block out the noise we hear outside. The laughter… the drama… whatever it is, we want to be a part of it! Instead, we turn our music up louder and try to focus. Until the 3-year old knocks. After shuffling them out the door and trying to remember where you were, mom pokes her head in to ask about chores. Okay, okay… you run to switch out that load of laundry. Then you try to sit down and study once more–only to realize it’s dinner time and your stomach is demanding to be fed. So you head out the door and hope for some study time before bed.

Can you relate? I know this was often life for me while in college. And while those quiet, focused hours are important for studying, they can be hard to come by. What if your studying became a part of your life, rather than separate from it? What if you took advantage of the small moments and studied whenever you could? What if you involved your family in the process, so they felt included rather than ignored?

Believe it or not, that CAN happen. You will still need to set aside some focused study hours at some point. However, if you can incorporate studying into your daily life, you and your family can feel more connected and less begrudging when it comes time to hole yourself up in your room.

So, are you ready to make that happen in your life? It is really quite simple, actually.

Make the most of the small moments.

Instead of segregating your “school life” from your “real life,” take advantage of the many little moments throughout the day. These are the moments when you are really doing much of anything or could easily multi-task to tuck away just a few more facts for that next subject

Consider some of the following ways you could make studying a part of everyday life:

  • Read a chapter in your REA guide over your lunch break at work.
  • Download lectures to your smartphone and listen during your commute.
  • Sit beside a sibling who is also doing school as you make flashcards.
  • Turn on Trailmarker videos while making dinner or folding laundry.
  • Ask your sibling to quiz you from the glossary while driving them to activities.
  • Use your smartphone to answer some questions in Trailmarker while standing in line at the store.
  • Listen to audios while vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, or exercising.
  • Schedule a movie night with the family… pop some popcorn, make a dessert, then watch a documentary on your latest subject before sticking in the new Redbox.
  • Trade flashcards with a brother or sister… you answer a question, they answer a question, you answer a question…
  • Keep a book handy at all times–you never know when you might have a few spare minutes!

These are just a few ways to start incorporating study into every aspect of your life. Don’t forget to schedule the intense study sessions as well. But also take a chance on the small moments for a few weeks and see how far you can go!

What are some other “small moments” you have turned into an opportunity to study? Let me know on our next coaching call!


Featured Image, Time Piece, CC