Free Time: The Struggle

Free Time: The Struggle

Damned if you have it, damned if you don't.

You're damned if you have it, you're damned if you don't.

The sole reason you spent an unimaginable amount of money getting a higher degree of education: you've finally graduated onto bigger and better things. You can finally use your postsecondary educational skills to further your career in life and begin the conformist life of that 9-5 (but really 8-6:30 if you include commuting and preparation).

Suddenly, sitting in your beginner's cubicle and not just doing administrative work because your boss doesn't know what other busy work to give you, you start to realize that your position in society is not just a summer internship to put on the "work experience" portion of your resume. You are an actual person of society with real work that actually counts if you don't perform it properly. It is at this stage in your life that you realize just how much you took free time for granted.

You think back to all of those breaks in college that were far too long and you spent way too much of watching TV, playing on your phone, or browsing on your computer. You begin to regret all of these lazy decisions and tell yourself how much more you will appreciate free time if given the opportunity. You begin thinking about how you should have taken up those piano lessons you always wanted to take but were too lazy to do, those acting courses to try your hand at it, learn a new language, etc. How dare your past-self take for granted such sweet and meaningful free time. All the things you could have accomplished during that time to bring you higher up on the success scale upon graduation.

Then again, once you're finally given the opportunity to have this free time you claimed you would definitely take advantage of you begin to understand exactly why you were so lazy back in the day: you needed that free time. You begin to understand just how important it was to be as lazy as you want. And once you finally have that free time are you actually going to go out and do all of the things you claimed you would do? Probably not no, but you will sit there remembering why you hated your free time so much: you get so freaking bored not being preoccupied and there is only so much time in the world to balance all of the things you want to do.

This is where time management comes in handy: organizing your precious free time to correspond to your not-so-free-time is exactly what helps you achieve all of those goals you wrote in macaroni-colored crayons in first grade.

Give yourself a break, or two, or three, and let your free time be free.

Cover Image Credit: Northernconnectionmag

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A Kick-In-the-Ass Pep Talk Before School Ends Because We're All Lacking Motivation Right Now

I know we can do it!

Two weeks of instruction left, including dead week, and then finals. I can hear my head already pounding through these next three weeks, struggling to bring my grades up in the final stretch. At the same time, I can see myself walking out of my last exam, internally screaming with excitement, maybe actually screaming because I am so ready for summer.


I don’t think I can count on two, or even three hands, how many things, assignments, errands, I have to do before the semester ends.

A pep talk before the end of the semester.

1. Don’t give up

Summer is near, there is so much more to look forward to on the other side. Just think, two weeks. TWO WEEKS. Summer is so soon, I can almost taste the lemonade sitting on my tongue.

2. Take any opportunities you can

Academically, if there is an extra credit opportunity, or if there is a programming you could be attending, go for it. Shoot for those few extra points that could make your grade that one-half letter higher, or just to show your professor you care, and they bump you up because you went to that event. These are the things that make a difference.

3. Go explore

There are two weeks of the semester left. Go do those things you have been wanting to do for the whole year and haven’t had time for. That water tower experience you have been waiting for, or the baseball game you haven’t made time for, this is it. Three weeks until you are free, and in the midst of studying, make some time for fun and check those items off your bucket list.

4. Plan

Plan out what you have going on each day to help you organize your thoughts and priorities. For me, I make to-do-lists for the next day so when the day comes around, I know exactly what to do. Busy day? Lay out your day, hour-by-hour. If your schedule gets thrown off, that’s fine, but it's always nice to have an outline of what you need to do that day.

5. Take time for yourself

This is CRUCIAL. For me, even just washing my face and doing a face mask is taking a little time for myself. Cooking a meal and listening to music, exercising, or dancing with my best friends the best type of study break that will help you relax and get you refocused.

We all want summer to come SO badly, I know. Me too. Follow these simple five steps and remind yourself how many class periods you have left to make your goals more attainable. Summer will be here before we know it!

Cheers and happy studying, Danni

Cover Image Credit: Danni Messina

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Go All Out Tonight, Cuz It’s Bound To Change Your Life. There’s a New Adventure On The Rise

These are your last days of college... make them count!

It is nearing the end of April, which means that it is nearing the end of another school year. But it also means that, for many of us, it is nearing the end of our last school year. More and more real becomes the day in which we will all dawn our school-colored gowns and decorated caps with pride as our names are announced, and we take those heavy, hard-fought steps across the stage. This is our day of celebration. This is our graduation day.

As I sit now to write this article, thoughts are flooding my mind with nostalgia. Harkening back to my first week on this beautiful campus, with brand new people from different, yet strikingly similar walks of life, and a duo of Orientation Guides that were simply bursting with enthusiasm and a love for our University. At that moment, we all knew that we had arrived at the place we were meant to be. We were at JMU. We were home.

That first week seems so long ago now, and yet, it also feels like only yesterday. And ever since then, my college experience has been a roller coaster ride, one that I couldn’t have even imagined. A journey of incredible, dream-realizing highs, as well as painful, crippling lows. Some of the hardest days have made up this very year, my senior year. But through it all, I have made it this far and am hopeful for these last few weeks, as well as what may lie on the horizon. I’m still standing... and so are you.

As you, my fellow seniors, and I prepare to say goodbye to this place (for now, at least) that we have called home for four years, I have a bit of advice...make it count.

As I write this, there are now fifteen school days left (fewer by the time you’re reading this!), and for many of us, these will be our last school days...ever. As if time weren’t already precious enough, now it seems even more so. These fleeting moments are the last few that we have to eat at our favorite dining halls, hear guest lecturers, go to open mic nights at TDU, have conversations with the professors that you have made real relationships with, learn as much as you can even though you still feel like you don’t know enough, and stay up till dawn with your roommates simply talking.

The last moments of late nights at Carrier or ECL, of seeing shows at the Forbes Center, catching movies at Grafton or with your peer groups. The last time experiencing a cheesy-Thursday, or EHall brunch. The last time you get to see the sunset or rise on the quad. And, these are the last moments that you have with the many people that you have come to know and love. Make them count.

These have been some of the hardest, and yet, best years of your life. The connections that you have made will fill your heart for a lifetime. These experiences have made you who you are today. There is not much time left, but there is still time to be had. Perhaps you will experience that very thing that you never have before, or have always wanted to in these final hours.

These last weeks are yours and yours alone. They belong to you. They are the start of your next adventure. Make the decision. Take the risk. Go all out. Leave no regrets. Make them special. Make them count.
Cover Image Credit: EveryPixel

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