Note to Self—Find a Mental Space

To Do This Week:

  • Note to self—remember to set up a meeting with Donna about our research project. She might also like that David Bowie article you read.
  • Note to self—email Jessica to let her know you have the meeting minutes from last Tuesday.
  • Note to self—turn in your paper by midnight tonight. That due date changed, remember?
  • Note to self—buy a new wine key before work, your other one is lost… great.
  • Note to self—your mom misses you, and you need to find a weekend to go back to Illinois.
  • Note to self—you and Nate have the same night off this week… see what Film Scene is playing.
  • Note to self—get to the art building early tomorrow, you have to print and mount your typography project before class begins or it’s late.

Did reading my notes give you anxiety? It almost killed me to go over all of that in my head. If you’re like me, an honors student who has a life outside of school work—which I’m positive you are—you leave yourselves notes all over the place, whether it’s an iPhone alarm letting you know a deadline is coming up, diversely-colored gel pen notes in your planner, or a mess of Post-its all over your bedframe, desk, notebooks, maybe even your body. Who knows?

Although it is desperately important to be organized and keep up with the various demands of our school, work, and personal lives, it is even more important to remember you, yourself, are alive and need to do something that keeps you calm and happy in these insane college years. How can you do this when free time basically doesn’t exist?

Food. Coffee and food.

Everyone has to eat, so even if you have things to do, you have time to eat while you work. And what’s better short-term motivation than looking forward to the delicious, delicious foods? Not much, I’d say.

A lot of people will tell you that marking lines of pages with gummy bear rewards is an easy way to reach the finish line of your reading assignment. Or they’ll tell you that if you study really hard the day before a test you can go out to eat with your friends the night after. Instead of dividing my rigorous study time and happy food time into a separate binary system in which I reap rewards for hard work, I’ve found that the most helpful way to make studying bearable is meshing work and food together.

Sometimes, we need a little change of scenery every once in a while, and in order to combat this challenge, I like to take my studying out of my bedroom and out of the library and into some of our local Iowa City cafés.

In our upcoming blog series, Mental Spaces, you’ll learn about the various locations near campus where you can get your munch on and create your own study space… Maybe we’ll even suggest a menu item or two, so stay tuned.

by Katie Kiesewetter, Sophomore

Areas of Study: English; Studio Art (Graphic Design); Gender, Women’s, and Sexuality Studies

Hometown: Farmington, IL

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