Hello, friends! It’s Hannah here, one of the RLRD interns back with another blog post for you. This month, as I thought about what could be a good topic to reflect upon, I came back to the phrase that I trust most when it comes to writing: “write about what you know”. Soooo, that is what we shall do!
As some of you might already know, I’ll be a senior (a fifth year, actually – so like a super senior) in college at Northeastern this year. Along with the majority of people I know at school, I’m doing five years because of the co-op program. It’s a program where students get an opportunity to apply to jobs and work full-time in a field that they hope to go into one day (and oftentimes, a field that they’re already studying in undergrad). Right now, I’m at my third co-op job, and I have grown beyond thankful for Northeastern’s cooperative education program…and I promise you, no one’s paying me to say that. It’s taught me so much about what I’m interested in, what I have no interest in, and what I aspire to do post-grad. I’m currently working at a hospital in Cambridge on the medical/surgical unit. I’ve been working full-time there for only six weeks, yet I’ve already learned so much about the medical field and patient care; it’s making me excited for a future as a healthcare practitioner down the road.
My hours are that of a typical 8-4(ish) day job, and the beauty of the co-op program is that it lets us practice being real adults while still being in college: I go to bed at a decent hour, wake up early, commute to work, stay at work all day, commute home, and then…alas, freedom. Yes, there are many adulting things to do, such as laundry, dishes, make dinner, pack food for work the next day, but for six months, I am so thankful to have normal adult chores to do and no homework to accomplish after a long day. No studying for tests, no getting grades back, no projects, no graded assignments, no writing papers. I am very appreciative of this break from school, and because of that, I’ve been trying to capitalize on this free time after work as much as possible. Even though I know it’s temporary, it’s so so sweet.
Sometimes, it can be difficult to appreciate these little pockets of after work freedom. I can easily get swept up in a slew of random house chores, or I’ll sit on my phone and let the evening slip away from me before I can enjoy it…and I’m only 22! I don’t have any children or other humans to take care of aside from myself — and if it’s tough for me at times, I cannot even imagine what it’s like to have little human beings who rely on you. I know I cannot speak to that scenario, and I won’t try to because I have zero clue what it’s like to be a parent. I give my mom & dad, and any other moms and dads and guardians out there, tremendous credit. Having to work full-time and then come home to take care of kiddos…you are genuine super humans. And to my mom & dad — thank YOU so much for everything you’ve done and continue to do for me, even though you were probably really tired and just wanted to watch TV and not cook/clean after work. I love you BIG time.
Anyways….what I wanted to say was that I’m starting to figure out little ways to appreciate the after work freedom, and I’ll share them with you here. I know they may not be feasible for every person, but maybe some of these will resonate. As a side note, for transparency…I’m currently at the campus library to work on some GRE studying and grad school applications (on a Wednesday night at 8:30PM). So of course, we all can’t have fun every single night of the work week (though that’d be awesome) but we can appreciate the fun times when they come around. Okay, onward!
Plan a simple activity. Last week, my roommates and I decided it would be fun to go to a nearby beach for an evening picnic. We packed up a cooler full of snacks such as chips + guac, dried fruit, hummus + crackers, blueberries, and a salad with a fun dressing. We drove to the beach, which was only a few miles away, and camped out on a picnic blanket. It was such an easy, simple thing to do after we all got out of work/classes, and it really did make the rest of the week go by faster.
Be reasonable with timing. My friends and I do enjoy a fun night out from time to time. The only little issue with this, for me, is if I stay up too late on a Thursday, I am SO tired for work on Friday! And being tired for work, and not being able to think my best or do my best work are no-go’s. I don’t like it one bit. Being tired is alright because sometimes late nights are well-worth it, and also the occasional bad night’s sleep is just a part of being human (for sure in this heat), but if they can be prevented, I’d prefer to do that. Especially on weeknights! Last Thursday, one of my friends & I got Sweetgreen salads for dinner and saw Mamma Mia 2. The movie was great, I got to bed at a reasonable hour, and in the early morning I was up and ready to go to work. The best part of this was that we still got to do something fun on a weeknight, but we didn’t let it impede our sleep too much. And we all know just how important those precious hours of sleep are.
Capitalize on your weekends. One of my favorite parts of not being a full-time student right now is not needing to dedicate a significant amount of time to studying on the weekends. I’ve come to appreciate my weekends this summer more than any other, considering in past summers I’ve been in fast-paced, two month long courses with tests every two weeks and quizzes every Monday/Wednesday. I love planning to do at least one fun activity each weekend with people I love. This past weekend, I drove my friends & I down to Rhode Island, where we made s’mores, went shopping in Newport, did laundry (YAY), and went to the beach in Charlestown. It was a perfect little weekend getaway that left me feeling refreshed and ready to go into work on Monday morning. This coming weekend, I’m excited to be visiting my family down in Connecticut. I have no plans other than to sit in the sunshine, read my book, eat, and hang with the fam. Maybe I’ll book myself a massage! Sidenote: I know some of you reading this might be full-time employees and part-time students (or vice-versa), and I am genuinely so impressed with you and give you all of the credit in the world. That is HARD. I know it is. But I believe in you!
Pick a night to care extra for yourself. I do love spending time with my people. They lift me up! But sometimes after a busy crazy work day, I need to just take care of me and not go running around doing fun activities. I’m grateful for the freedom I have after work that allows me to pick a random night of the week and do this. Whether it’s going to yoga, watching a recording of the Bachelorette in my room, reading a good book, or getting an extra hour of sleep or two, a night like this always recharges me and makes me feel ten times more alive for the rest of the work week.
And those are my suggestions! They might sound good to you or maybe not. I’d love to hear about some things that help you unwind and enjoy free moments after work? Share in the comments!
I hope you have a happy Friday and an even better weekend.