*Beep Beep* *Beep Beep*
The sound of the start of the fall semester goes off for your first class. But this year is much different than the last. You’re not grabbing your laptop from your desk a minute before class, climbing back into bed, logging on, and slowly drifting back to sleep. This time at 8 a.m., you have to make time to get ready, eat, grab your things, and get to class. That 8 a.m. class last semester is now looking like 7 a.m this semester.
College students are now faced with having to transition out of our pandemic lives and routines. This means making a morning routine, figuring out what time you’re going to eat in order to get to class on time, finding a workout schedule, making friends on a campus you’ve never been on or have not seen in two years, and creating time to just breathe.
Many of us haven’t had a normal school routine since pre-pandemic times and a lot of our previous routines may not have included having a job or being at a university. Feelings of loneliness and having a lot on our plate can overwhelm the best of us. As womxn, we’re held to a higher standard compared to men which can create a sense of immense anxiety. Nonetheless, the key to balancing our busy lives starts with maintaining a healthy mental and physical routine and finding like-minded womxm.
The most important aspects of ourselves can be the hardest to maintain at times; one of those is our eating habits. After we eat a meal or even a snack, we tend to have more energy because we’re getting all the nutrition and vitamins we need to keep our immune system strong. The Center for Healthy Eating and Activity Research has said that after the first hour of waking up our bodies have already processed all the nutrients from the day before in our sleep. Without having breakfast, we are setting ourselves up for failure. It’s recommended to eat every three to four hours to keep our body stable, happy, and to create a consistent, easy eating schedule. Eating irregularly can potentially affect our circadian rhythm, which can in turn affect our mental and physical health. We want to make sure that a lack of food or nutrients is not blocking us from achieving our goals.
A couple of ways to remedy this problem is to set a reminder on your phone with a specified time for when you have a moment to eat before or after class, work, or the gym. A similar method is to set an alarm for when you want to break for a snack or meal. If you like having your day planned out, then try writing your meal and snack time in your calendar (physical and/or digital). Also, try to always bring a snack if you know you’ll be out of the house for a while or have a busy day ahead of you. If more water is a goal for yourself, try setting timers every 30 minutes, carrying water everywhere, downloading a hydration app, or buying a water bottle with lines laying out how much you should drink every hour. Test one method or all of them; in the end, do whatever works best for you.
Eating, however, is only one part of our physical health. Maintaining exercise habits is important as well. There are so many options out there because there are so many types of people. Depending on your university, gyms, small exercise classes like yoga or cycling, clubs, and sports are provided. All of these examples are ways to get active with or without friends, depending on your preferences. Although, exercise classes, a sports or gym club, and sports are great ways to meet people and keep you on top of your next workout. Here at San Diego State University we have an organization called Girl Gains, and their mission is “to promote female weight lifting and empower women,” which truly embodies ambitious womxn.
Another key layer of the health world is mental health. Within the past 20 years, our mental health crisis has been something very present with people of all age groups but especially with people within the world of higher education. It’s important to talk about your issues with someone you trust, such as a therapist or a friend, to relieve your stress in a safe way. Ways to relieve your stress include: exercising, meditating, journaling, etc. Whatever you feel comfortable with is what is probably best for you. If you ever want to speak to a professional, most universities provide counseling and psychological services. Getting help is never something to be scared of because we all need it in one way or another.
Sometimes to reach goals, help is needed along the way. In the end, we really are all in this together and, as womxn, we should support each other in any way possible. Study groups are an easy way to meet friends and keep your study habits accountable. Pros of study groups include: being less likely to procrastinate, receiving help on subjects you don’t understand, and earning a better grade just by studying. Plan on meeting at your campus’ outdoor seating area or even reserve a study room at your university’s library. With these study groups, you can meet womxn in your major or people with similar hobbies and values as you. If you feel as if you don’t know how to make friends or you don’t know where to go to meet new people, study groups can be an easy way to begin meeting potential friends who are ambitious womxn like yourself.
No matter what size your campus may be, it can be hard to meet like minded people. You have to put yourself out there in some sort of way, whether that be introducing yourself to the people next to you in class or complimenting someone's outfits. Where do you find people that you may have a common interest, you may ask? Of course there are your classes such as your major-related classes or ones that reflect your hobbies. There are also your extracurricular classes that have to do with your interests, or even joining a club, resource center, or network.
For instance, The Women’s Network is an organization located on campuses nationwide with the mission of “creating a supportive, non-competitive community,... lift[ing] women up, [and] creating a more proactive way of communicating and networking. Ultimately, our goal is to prepare women to achieve professional success, while cultivating and celebrating their ambition.” Around the United States and Canada, The Women’s Network is located on 142 campuses and has over 30,000 members. Networking is one of the main ways to find out about job opportunities and meet people within your profession around the world that could help your future. The Women’s Network provides a safe space to meet ambitious womxn who all want to see one another succeed. Campus and national events occur frequently so, depending on what you are comfortable with or what you’re looking for, there are options to choose from. The people at these events probably have the same interests as you or may even be part of the same community you are.
Ambitious womxn are everywhere, from everywhere, and love to do all sorts of things. Try and find individual womxn or a group who you know will help you on your journey. Whether it’s a lunch buddy, workout partner, or someone who has one of the same hobbies as you, The Women’s Network is a great place to start. Finding a safe space isn’t always the easiest but The Women’s Network helps take that struggle away.