Finding time for oneself during a busy college schedule can be difficult. Between classes, internships, jobs, friendships, relationships and extracurriculars, the life of a college student is involved, challenging and demanding. It’s filled with balancing academics, a social life and, of course, the most important but the least achieved of these, sleep. At times, it can seem as if there aren’t enough hours in the day for it all, leading to feelings of exhaustion and burnout.
The life of a college student is one of constant noise.
Unless there’s an intentional search for silence within one’s schedule, the ongoing droning of distractions won’t stop. As someone who says yes to almost everything and fits the Pepperdine stereotype of being overcommitted, finding time for myself can almost be an afterthought.
Norwegian author Erling Kagge wrote in his book “Silence: In the Age of Noise”: “Routine is like that too … Busying oneself becomes a goal in and of itself, instead of allowing that same restlessness to lead you somewhere further.” Within the clamor of schedules, it can be easy to overlook the importance of silence.”
Noise is everywhere. It comes from a variety of sources and is both internal and external. Thoughts and emotions consume as much of the day as activities and to-do lists. Ongoing sounds flood daily routines, can distract from what truly needs to be accomplished and can potentially hinder from finding time to recharge. Maybe watching another episode on Netflix or hanging out with friends isn’t the answer. Maybe what is truly being sought after is silence.
Silence is tricky. It’s unnerving, it’s heavy; it’s loud. Silence pulses in the midst of everything, lying steadily beneath the ever-present droning of noise. Silence flows through conversations, woven between schedules and commitments. People spin and cycle through new activities, new relationships, new friends. New apartments, new jobs, new ambitions surface because it’s known that what’s on the other side of these distractions is heavy and uncomfortable.
Meditation and reflection are essential to the human experience and are especially important during these college years, as stated in a 2013 Psychology Today article. Since college is such an influential time in one’s life, as freshmen transition into college and seniors think ahead to life after graduation, it’s important to have these quiet moments to reflect and ground oneself.
Regardless of religious preferences, making time and space in one’s schedule to write, meditate, pray, exercise or even just sit in the quiet is a great way to become more present. Focusing on one’s feelings and mental state will help overwhelming emotions and allow for deeper connection internally. Clearing one’s mind can lessen the clutter in one’s life, as being responsible for one’s mental space is just as important as being responsible for one’s workspace.
Finding room in the day for this time apart can be difficult, especially when a schedule doesn’t provide much flexibility. However, being intentional in adding this quiet time to one’s routine will encourage it to become habitual. Even 10 to 15 minutes a day is enough to ground oneself.
So be still. Acknowledge and listen to the silence. It might have something to say.
Email Savannah Welch: firstname.lastname@example.org