How to Have No Free Time and Not Drown in Sadness

Lately, I have had no free time. By “lately,” I of course mean “since November, when I decided that combining going to school full-time with an internship and a job and some freelance copyediting was a good idea.”

Both because I am a glutton for punishment and the idea of quitting anything or truly letting anyone down gives me the sweats, I have not dropped any of these responsibilities. All of this means that something has got to give, and that something has been my free time, and in turn all of my hobbies, interests, and stupid research holes I spend four hours in.

Every once in a while, when I do find a precious, precious spot of free time, I have felt legitimate stress to use it to its very fullest. Over the past five months (and god help me how has it been only five months), these are some of the solutions I’ve found.

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Keeping Up with Faraway People

I hate beginning friendships, but I love maintaining them. There are few things as great in this world as talking to someone you may not have spoken to in a while, but whom you know you could pick up with like no time had passed at all. In fact, probably only two things are better: warm cookies, and that occurrence when you get inside and just as you get in the sky opens up and boom torrential rain, but it couldn’t get you, because you are more powerful than nature itself.

Anyway. It’s not always easy to keep up with people who aren’t physically near you, but it is worth it, both because it’s nice and it makes going home for the holidays a hell of a lot less awkward. You try meeting up with your old group of friends if you’ve ghosted them for a semester.

Not cute. Here are five tips to avoid that direness.

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How to Stay on Top of School (Without a Mental Breakdown)

When it comes to school, I have precisely two modes. Either I am living my life as if I have never before attended school, as though for all intents and purposes I am the human equivalent of a tumbleweed, drifting through life with no burdens or responsibilities; or I am a sleepless zombie editing the same sentence of a paper that isn’t due for three days until the sun rises. There is absolutely no in between.

Since high school, I have dedicated all of my energy to making sure that I do not revert into Anthropomorphic Tumbleweed Mode, which means it’s been all school obsession all the time. In the hopes of preventing a mental breakdown or two, I’ve been trying to chill out a bit. Here are some of the ways to maintain that balance.

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How to Survive Commuting

Ah, the city school. There are so many upsides to attending a college in the heart of downtown: the exciting nearby events; the discounted access to museums and fancy cultural stuff; the jaw-dropping number of CVS franchises in a one-block radius. (It is truly mystifying that so many identical retail pharmacies can exist in such close proximity to each other without any threat to business whatsoever.)

However, with all upsides come downsides. Such is the way of the universe. There are two exceptions to this rule: the film Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, which is perfect, and the food known as the buttered popcorn jelly bean, which is one hundred percent downside and so unabashedly evil it is concrete evidence of the existence of the devil.

Going to college in the city has a downside, and it is this: it is expensive to live in a city, so unless you live on campus, you might have to move to the outskirts. And moving to the outskirts means spending a lot of time on transit. Here are some of my hard-won strategies to surviving my time on the train.

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Balancing Being a Kid and an Adult

At the age of 19, I find myself in an odd place between being a kid and an adult. I don’t want to have to rely on my parents but at the same time, there is no way I could be financially stable on my own. Do I act like a kid or an adult? That is a question I ask myself a lot as I continue to tread through college.

My mom always tells me I need to stop working as much and I need to enjoy being a college student. Ok, I guess I can agree with her that I may work a little too much but at the same time I don’t do it because I have to. I work because I genuinely love what I do. I will admit that work can become a coping mechanism for me and way to distract myself, but as I’m growing up I’ve had to learn how to distinguish if I’m running away from my problems or if I am just immersed in my work. When I find myself overworking, I try to take a few steps back and do things that bring me back to my childish nature. I will color in coloring books, go window shopping (yes, I loved shopping as a kid too), or basically anything that doesn’t make me feel like I have to be an adult. 

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Tattoo Tips

I’ve always imagined getting a tattoo. The thought of getting an image inked on my skin that would be there for the rest of my life seemed both terrifying and intriguing. Even though I was scared, I always told myself one day that I would get one.

After much deliberation (over a year’s worth), I finally decided that I was going to get a puzzle piece tattoo. The puzzle piece was significant to me because it represents autism. My older brother was diagnosed with autism when he was about 3 or 4 years old. Despite his disability, he was and still is a major influencer and contributor to my life, and I wanted to be able to have him represented wherever I go.

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10 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting a Blog

Starting a blog is a very daunting idea, but anyone is able to start one. Before I created my blog, I wish I had a better understanding of what I was getting myself in to. Although it is feasible to start a blog without a solid plan, I would strongly recommend against it. If you are considering starting a blog, here are 10 tips that I wish I would have known before I started my own blog.

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How to Overcome Your Fear of Going to the Gym

The gym. It seems like a scary place. It’s filled with a lot of metal contraptions and machines that are supposed to help you work out, but in reality, you have no idea how to use them. There is also the potential of working out in front of people that you know, making yourself worry about judgmental glares 24/7. These are just some of the concerns that people like me had, making it impossible to make yourself actually go to the gym.

For a while now, I refused to go to the gym. I never bothered getting a gym membership back at home and I just chose to work out on my own. This mostly included going on runs around my neighborhood or attempting to get in 20 push ups and sit ups in one day. But neither of these exercises forced me “lift,”the deadly word that was associated with gym folk. It wasn’t until this year where I actually started to force myself to go. If I had to listen to my soccer coach complain to me again about how I wasn’t “strong enough” I was going to get severely pissed off.

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Easy Ways to Keep Up with the News

There was probably a time when keeping up with the news was easy. Back in the good ol’ days, when people read the Sunday paper and there was about as much space devoted to the Big Game as to politics as a concept.

Now, there are many reasons it is not easy at all. Such as: it constantly seems like the most insane event in the history of the world just took place, and then three minutes later something even crazier happens. Also, everything has been happening for so long and it’s so hard to catch up and does anyone know what Israel and Palestine comes down to or are we all just too scared to ask. Also also, the economy is so boring.

But there is one thing that makes it unbelievably easy, and that thing is in your hand or pocket or the space between your bed and the wall right now. It is called a smartphone, and it makes it impossible to believe that people ever managed to get their news exclusively from comically large stacks of paper with stories printed in size 8 Times New Roman once a week.

Here’s how I manage to keep up with the news and have bare minimum 18% comprehension on what it means, while also being the laziest individual on the planet Earth.

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