There is a lot to prepare for as an incoming college student, or even as a current student. For those getting ready to live on campus, the list of things to do is endless. Whether it is preparing for your courses, purchasing appliances, assembling a grocery list, I would argue that the most important way to prepare is learning how to cook. I am currently a sophomore living in an apartment, which has taught me to be a little more independent. In particular, I have started learning how to cook, something which is much more complicated than it seems. I can tell you now that the first few attempts will not go perfectly, so don’t give up! I have provided some of the easiest recipes for any beginner. All of these recipes have ingredients that can be substituted to fit various diets. Now especially might be a good time to get a head start on practicing these simple recipes while we are all at home in quarantine. You can even ask your family to evaluate how good your cooking skills are by taste-testing!Continue reading Cooking in College
By Ariana Chen
Sleep is one of the most important things for a college student. However, during midterm season, too often we end up studying and working until 5 am finishing up a project or cramming for a test only to barely make it to our 9 am lectures the next day. This can be even more difficult when we are creating our own schedules when working from home. Sometimes it seems worth it to sacrifice a night of good sleep to get some extra time in to study, but good sleep is extremely important for your health – for boosting your cognition and memory, improving your mood, and decreasing your chances of getting sick.
That being said, 70% of college students are sleep-deprived, and sometimes it really is hard to fit in a full eight hours of sleep. One way for me to make up for lack of sleep is by napping. A lot of my friends don’t nap because they fear they won’t be able to sleep at night or end up napping too long and wasting time. I’ve found that different kinds of naps are really beneficial to helping me stay awake and productive.
My favorite kind of nap is the power nap, a 10-20-minute nap that is perfect for a quick boost in alertness and energy. During a power nap, you body is in non-rapid eye movement sleep (NREM), so it’s easier to get up and get back to work right after. A 60-minute nap is considered a short-term nap, and studies have shown that they are great for helping you remember facts, places you’ve been, and names and faces. A 90-minute nap is a REM nap. REM naps are best for improving creativity, emotional and procedural memory, and you’ll wake up feeling great because you will have gone through a full sleep cycle. The best time of day to nap is between 1pm-3pm, because not only is this the time of day when you experience post-lunch sleepiness and lower levels of alertness, napping at this time also is less likely to interfere with your normal sleep.
By Sarah Ta
Like many college students, I struggle with procrastination. As I advance through college, I’ve gotten better at completing my work, but it’s always at the last minute. The process of completing assignments right before the deadline causes me an unnecessary amount of stress. This lack of motivation started in my junior year of high school and originally, I thought I was just burnt out from school. I kept telling myself that it’d get better once AP testing was over, but then summer came and I was still in a weird slump. I still had no motivation to do anything, and honestly, I haven’t since.
For the past three years of my college career, I’ve barely been able to scrape by– often narrowly missing deadlines and sometimes completely missing them. I’ve tried everything I could to figure out why, but it’s been a journey. In my sophomore year, I tried going to short-term therapy at the Engemann Health Center. It ended up not being right for me and I was referred out. Due to transportation issues, I couldn’t go through with the referrals and was left to deal with it on my own for a while. Last semester, I decided to try meeting with an academic adviser at the Kortschak Center for Learning and Creativity to help with time management. My adviser was lovely but in the end, it didn’t do much for me. I never figured out why I was procrastinating and I just continued cramming all my work in at the last minute.
I was starting to lose hope when I discovered something known as Telehealth, a form of virtual counseling designed for those who don’t have access to therapy near them. While this wasn’t possible for me, they didn’t accept my insurance, it pushed me to contact Engemann again to see if they had any other options. I was a little apprehensive because my original experience wasn’t very helpful, but after my session with a new therapist last week, I think that it was just a matter of finding the right person.
While the therapist I met with is temporary, until I get connected with someone long-term, we really clicked and he helped me realize the source of my procrastination. A lot of people assume that procrastination is a result of poor time management skills, but in reality, it’s usually a symptom of more serious mental health issues. For me, it stems from my deep-rooted sense of perfectionism. When I discovered this, it felt like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders. This whole time, I blamed myself for not being disciplined enough but in reality, it was something much more serious.
If my journey sounds similar to what you’re going through, I encourage you to reach out to a professional. The stigma around mental health makes the idea of seeking help seem only for those who are in a serious crisis, but the earlier you reach out, the better. No matter where you are in your mental health journey, I hope that you give therapy a chance and keep an open mind to all the different types of resources available. I wish you the best and good luck with your studies!
Mindful USC empowers the USC community to make positive change in the world by building a culture of mindfulness and compassion. There is ongoing training, practice groups and special events.
And for more resources and ways to help your wellbeing go to wellbeing.usc.edu!
Featured image by Vic on Flickr
Sarah is an junior from the San Gabriel Valley studying GeoDesign. In her free time, she enjoys reading, exploring L.A., trying new foods, and of course, meeting new people. She can speak conversational Cantonese, and is currently learning Mandarin. Even though her Chinese is limited, that doesn’t stop her from striking up a conversation with other international students. She is always happy to learn about other cultures.