Meredith: How I’ve Perfected My WFH Setup Over the Semester

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By now, many of us have been partaking in online activities for most of the semester. For me, that has meant attending two virtual classes and working from home for my internship for a full workday twice a week. This can lead to a lot of time in my room (or on the couch when I move to the living room for a change of scenery). 

I think there are a few essentials needed for a productive working environment in your room, and I have recently perfected my setup. Here are some tips and tricks that I have enjoyed utilizing!

1) Wrist support for your desk

I recentlygot one of these on Amazon because I started getting bad wrist pain from constantly typing on my laptop. My wrists were at a weird angle from the flatness of my desk, so the wrist rest I purchased props them up at an angle that prevents inflammation. It definitely works well and adds to my comfort when sitting at my desk for long periods of time! 

2) An essential oil diffuser

This is an excellent alternative to candles if you do not want to burn them or are not allowed to. I often use the peppermint or lemongrass scent because they promote productivity and also just make my space smell fresh and clean. I use mine almost every day when I am working in my room because they make my brain feel clear and ready to take on the day.

3) A lap desk

If you are like me and move between your desk, your bed and your couch, you definitely need one of these. There are a ton available on Amazon, and it will make working on your laptop or writing in a notebook so much easier because it gives you a nice flat workspace. If you are more comfortable, you will work better!

4) Decor that relaxes you

There are so many things you can do to make your room a little homier and relaxing. One of my favorite decor pieces in my room is my salt lamp. It creates such calming vibes with its warm light. I also have a little, round desk lamp that changes color and has multiple warm light settings that I love. It is small but it lights up my work area perfectly! My final piece to a perfect setup is a heated blanket. On cold nights, which we are getting more and more of, I plug it in to feel cozy as I do my homework. 

5) Taking care of yourself while working

This is the most important step. It can be easy to get caught up in virtual classes, virtual meetings, and virtual work without nourishing yourself. Keep yourself hydrated with multiple glasses of water and make sure you are eating when you get hungry! Take breaks and go outside for fresh air. Maybe do some quick stretches or meditate. Try and keep your workspace tidy as well so you do not get distracted by the mess. Do whatever it takes for you to feel refreshed in between virtual classes and meetings. 

This is what I have found helps me create a workspace where I feel cozy, comfortable, and productive. Different things work for different people, but if you are feeling lazy in your room, try out some of these tips to vamp up your space!

Meredith: Self-Care Tips That Will Make You a Better Student This Fall

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Being a good student definitely involves staying on top of your academics, keeping your schoolwork organized, and paying attention in class. You have to study hard to get the grades you want, but if you are not taking care of yourself properly then none of that other stuff is going to happen for you. Here are a few things I started doing during quarantine that I will bring into the fall semester in order to have the best semester I possibly can. 

1. Staying active

I know that after a long day of clubs, classes, and internships, going on a run or heading to the gym is the last thing you want to do. That’s why you need to start getting into the habit now so you can carry it into the fall easily. I started running in the past few months and I have fallen in love with it! There are so many awesome apps you can use to build up your speed, strength, and endurance (I recommend the Nike Run Club) and have fun while doing it. Getting in some exercise and making time for yourself where all you have to focus on is working hard really clears your brain and releases some great endorphins!

2. Reading for pleasure

Finding an activity that allows you to relax and escape for a little while can be so good for your mental health. For me, that has been reading young adult novels that I never used to have the time for. I am sure many of you relate to this: when I was younger I used to read non-stop and blew through so many book series. Since I started reading again I have felt like a child exploring new worlds and falling in love with new characters. Not only does it enhance your reading skills, but it allows for some escapism to new worlds. If you do not know where to start but like fantasy or young adult series, I recommend the Throne of Glass series!

3. Developing a skincare routine

As someone who has struggled with acne literally my entire life, this one has helped me feel more confident physically and mentally. Taking the time every morning and night to nourish your skin is so relaxing and can even feel like you are at a spa. There are so many amazing (and cheap) skincare products that you can use to feel relaxed and refreshed. The Ordinary or CeraVe are great brands to start with. Let’s be honest, who doesn’t love clear skin? When you feel and look your best, you will perform your best!

These are just a few ways to feel on top of your game all of the time and take care of yourself every day. If you start to incorporate activities like this into your everyday life, you will notice a difference in how great you feel and how successful you are.

Meredith: Organization Really is Key (In-Person and Online)

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One of the best talents that I have utilized throughout my educational career has been my organizational skills. I have always been a neat person, but there are a few things even the messiest people can do every week to have the best shot at success in school. College can be really overwhelming and sometimes you will find yourself balancing a job, an internship, a heavy workload, multiple clubs, etc. As someone who puts a lot on their plate and is as involved as possible, I have perfected these organization tips to help simplify your life.

Tip #1:

Buy a planner. I cannot stress this enough; having a planner is the best possible way to keep track of everything going on at once. I like to buy planners that have a large calendar for the entire month and then have separate pages for each week. This way I can put important dates on my big calendar but keep a more detailed schedule every week. It also allows you to see your month at a glance and look into the weeks ahead! 

Tip#2:

Write everything down that is due that week with their respective due date in your planner. I also like to highlight certain assignments based on due dates and how urgently they need to be done. I find it so helpful to see everything I need to do in the week on one page. It is also so satisfying to cross it off once you finish it!

Tip #3:

To-Do Lists are your friend! I keep separate lists for separate activities such as school, clubs, workouts, my job, any meetings I may have, and just miscellaneous to do. I probably have an excessive number of lists, but I’ll always do whatever it takes to stay on top of things! 

Tip #4:

Keep a copy of the class syllabus on your desktop so it can be reached easily and quickly. Also, put all the due dates from the syllabus in your planner as soon as you have it. I check the syllabus at the beginning of every week as well, just to make sure I didn’t miss anything. I also keep folders on my computer for each class, semester, and year so I do not have random files and assignments floating around. 

Tip #5:

Save time for some self-care. You cannot do anything to the best of your ability if you are not taking care of yourself. Even though I keep a super detailed planner, I allow for some flexibility so I can take care of myself too. Don’t plan every day to the minute; that is too much pressure for any person. Just do what you need to so you can succeed during your college career while also being healthy and taking care of yourself.