You’re in the homestretch of the fall semester. Right now you’re preparing your stomach to ingest ungodly amounts of stuffing and mashed potatoes, but also, you might have a slight apprehension to the fact that next Monday is only five days away. You’ll be back at school, in the library or the dorms, studying like crazy because dead week and finals are right around the corner.
I’ve been there.
This will be my sixth round of engineering finals, heading into my first senior year. After living away from home for the last few years, I’ve come up with some cheap and simple ways to combat the loneliness that comes with missing home in those last intense weeks of college.
1. Adopt a pet plant
If you’re like me and live on campus, there’s no way you’d be able to bring your dog (unless you have a document disability, in which case, contact your school’s disability service to see what they can do! The next best thing is a pet plant in my opinion, you can choose between super low maintenance to really high maintenance, but in the end, it’s something that depends on you to keep it alive. That feeling of being needed distracts from the loneliness you may feel at not having your family or friends immediately around you during finals.
2. Cook or bake an elaborate recipe
While I myself don’t cook a lot, when I do cook, it takes a lot of time and preparation. The days right before the final stretch of college, say the week before dead week, I sometimes need to reset. That can be done in the form of cooking! It requires concentration with a tangible product that results from your work. Even if you’re not that great a cook, there’s always that “super simple recipe” line of items you can look up on Google.
3.Attend a college program
IF you have decided to not venture out of your dorm room this semester, chances are, you also haven’t attended a college program. They’re those things that you’ll see posters of to say “COME DO THIS FREE THING” which usually consists of free food, free things, and talking with other people. If you’re an introvert, but you’re lonely, this might be one of those times to force yourself to socialize for a few minutes for the sake of changing up your routine. Usually there are students running the programs, or helping to run the programs, and if you’re not in the mood to make friends, you could always attend the program and leave whenever you want.
A tried and true method to combat any bad mood, I won’t elaborate too much since the words are already out there. IF you’re not one to go to gym though, there’s always campus building you can take a walk through to stay out of the cold, or if you’re up to it, you could always take a hike through your nearest trails.
I don’t know who you are, or what makes you tick, but journaling is something that everyone can easily try. When thoughts are in your head, they aren’t necessarily in plain words. But journaling them can pull out of you feelings and problems that you didn’t really know you had. Say there are linering problems with your first semester friends you didn’t think you had, or that you had pushed to the back of your mind. Or maybe you’re worried more about that test you’re going to have or the thought that you’ll have to pay for next semester’s tuition soon. Whatever your worries may be, spelling them out might be a way to detach how much they trouble you.
I’m no expert, but I am an RA, and providing resources to college students going through one of the roughest times you’ve ever experienced (the lead up to finals week), is something I hope to make a little easier for you. If you don’t take the time to take care of yourself now, when you’re starting your adult life, when will you ever learn how?