On Habits (And Changing Them)

Guess what? I’m not dead.

While I get settled into my new routine at college, I will be a bit patchy in my blogging habits. This is a fact of life.

But if you really wanted to know, there are several plans I have for changing my habits to healthier ones, now that I am at college:

  1. Changing my diet. At home, I had the excuse that my parents only liked four or five different types of vegetables, and then they liked them overboiled. But here, I have access to a dining hall with all sorts of food, and I suddenly have to decide what types of food I’m comfortable eating, what types of food I’m interested in trying, and what types of food are just nasty. This effectively means that I’ve been eating pizza, french fries, and a salad at every meal, as I establish meal times for myself. (My parents only had one main mealtime for me to attend: supper.) I need a set time for lunch and supper, and to eat more food at meals (as my typical lunch over the summer consisted of a couple handfuls of potato chips or perhaps a Michelina’s microwave supper, and that was it). I have managed this so far. Next to work on is the type of food.
  2. Changing hygiene habits. I took a shower every day at home. But here, I use body wash, too. I also brush my hair here, and (occasionally) brush my teeth. I will be attempting to brush and floss my teeth on a daily basis. (My parents are very lax. They never really enforced the brush-your-teeth routine.) I am also setting a bedtime for myself, and since school does not start at 7:00 am (as it did in high school), I can actually get a 10-hour sleep schedule while still going to bed at 10pm. (That’s from 10pm-8am, if you don’t feel like doing the math.)
  3. Changing my exercise habits. Okay, to establish any exercise habits at all. My college is nestled right at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, so while the views are spectacular, it means I need to start exercising. I’m out of breath getting to my classes. This is ridiculous. So I plan on going for a walk — maybe every day, maybe every other day. It depends on whether I decide getting to my classes counts as exercise. In any case, it’ll do me good to leave my dorm room. Also, see my last post on rock climbing — every other week.
  4. Changing my study habits. In high school, I never studied. I mean, I still graduated in the top 10th of my class, but that’s more a reflection on the school than on me, in my opinion. I never did homework, or if I did, I turned it in late. I got good grades by somehow doing well on tests and quizzes, from a brief spurt of studying in the 4 minutes before class started. But here at college, my circumstances have changed. They simply give out too much information to memorize than can be studied just before class starts. And I have these huge blank spots in my schedule that I don’t know how to fill now that I don’t have a couch, TV, and several cats to keep me occupied. (For example, on Wednesdays, I have three classes in the morning — and then the entire afternoon free. What do I do for the 8+ hours I’m awake?) So, studying at the library or in my dorm room it is.

This is a rough 4-area plan of how to change my life. My life, such as it was less than a month ago, was pitiful in terms of healthiness. And it is still not what you would call “healthy.” (Pizza twice a day, let me tell you, is not healthy. It makes you feel kinda greasy. But until I’ve solidified what I like to eat, it’s a go-to food.)

But college is not about the Class of 2018. It’s not really about doing Class stuff together, not about hanging banners or “rivalries” with the sophomores or having “Class Spirit” or cheering on sports. It’s not about any of that. At its core, college is a force of change in your life, that takes away much of what you’ve known and take for granted, and in exchange it gives you a new set of skills to learn and new, hopefully better habits for you to grow into.

And since my old habits have been washed away, I need to adapt. I have been adapting, in small ways, ways I don’t notice unless I am writing blog posts specifically about them. But at the back of my mind, I know I’m changing. And I know I’m adapting. And hopefully, I am adapting to healthy new habits that will lead to a new woman.

TS Eliot Quote

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