You know that feeling of being simply content? When nothing exciting, sad, or surprising is happening? Well that's my Junior year thus far. Coming into the academic semester this year, things started to feel typical and mundane--I knew who my friends were, what to expect from classes, how the system works, and pretty much over the whole "college" scene. I went about my days just wanting to study, go to classes, learn more about my major, work, and sleep. Doing this for the first couple of weeks went well, I didn't have to check in with other people or feel accountable to anyone. I wasn't having to do anything for others and never felt out of my comfort zone. However, after doing this for quite some time, I felt the effects of it and realized how comfortable I was in not being challenged. I realized I wasn't putting effort in to living in any new way. I wasn't doing the things that scared me, like applying for a job that I wanted, or traveling to get my passport, or even trying out a new org on my campus. I was just settling for what was familiar...but there is nothing rewarding about settling. So here are some ways I've learned to challenge myself more on the daily:
1. Put down the phone.
I have learned that the more I don't look at my phone throughout the day, the more I am able to clearly think and live in the moment. As I commute to my downtown classes everyday, I notice that almost everyone has their phones in their hands, either looking at social media or listening to music. I then look at myself and notice I'm doing the same (happens every time). When I don't pull my phone out right away on my commute and look around me, I'll notice a good friend or a classmate that I wouldn't of noticed otherwise. Other times, I'll just look at the view, plan out the rest of my day, or catch up on homework.
2. Make set plans.
Maybe I'm the only one thats bad at planning, but I tend to go with the flow and roll with whatever comes my way. Plans just aren't my thing, especially as a college student, I can't even afford to make plans. So i've learned the importance of making far in advance plans. Saving up for a trip with a friend next semester or summer is way more realistic and exciting than making huge expensive plans for the weekend.
3. Build your passion
I've found that getting involved in something that you're passionate about, whether it's sports, choir, church, speech, etc., it can make you feel alive and give you something exciting to work on as the mundane week days go by. Challenging yourself to learn a new instrument or practicing your calligraphy art will allow you to stay motivated to better yourself.
4. Treat yourself
After a long week of work and school, work and school, and more work and school, i've learned that it's ok to do something fun that's not exactly in the budget. It's worth it to celebrate with a friend on a week well done!
5. Talk to someone new
As a Junior in college, I have never felt so unmotivated to meet new people, but I'm realizing that that is my loss. Challenging myself to talk to new people--students, workers, strangers, etc..--simply adds more color to life. After long days, I often catch myself thinking, "should I say hi to this person or just keep walking?" and I have learned to just go for it, because it's worth it! Sometimes a good conversation or catching up with friends is just what we need to spice up our lives.
6. Make your life less about you, and more about others.
I'll never forget when my friend told me, "when you don't feel happy, give happiness to someone else." Happiness comes when you aren't consumed with thinking about yourself, but about others and ways you can love on them. There is something life changing about not thinking about oneself, and instead putting effort into thinking of ways you can help the people around you. Saying yes to opportunities of blessing people is sometimes the most challenging, but always the most rewarding. Living a life for others is the best way one can live.