It’s that time of year again, and ESN Groningen welcomes you back to the beginning of a new decade. We’ve finally moved past the holiday stasis, and time has started to have meaning once more.
Our environment has escalated to a tailspin, and it’s dire that we act now and do something about the humanitarian and environmental needs of the decade that could very well be our last one. We have to stay resolute as the generation who has the most to give and most to lose if we act ambivalent. It’s never been as important to manage our own needs as it is now when we should be advocating for the needs of the world instead; not tomorrow, not today but yesterday.
Get ready, make your body ready, and to do so – use the new year as an excuse to finally accomplish your resolutions. Here’s what to look out for.
Whether it’s exercise, diet or lifestyle, health is and always will be the most common reason to wake up early in the morning. With the new year coming, the internet can very well have already suggested trying out the ‘keto’, ‘potato’ or ‘grapefruit’ diet, or incited a reason why starving yourself is a path well-taken.
These may be options in the junk-rich soil of a metropolitan wormhole, but here in Groningen, I’d like to think that the overall consensus of most of our city services is “a strong focus, by and large, to a continuation of local health”, whether it be through clean transport systems, affordable gym memberships for students (see Aclo), or biologically/environmentally healthy food options (Ekoplaza). If food is your concern, one of our previous ESN blogs has a detailed look into plant-based diets and how worth their while they really are.
The most basic exercise option which I, through my 2 years of living here, have seen as plausible is the morning/evening jog. I wouldn’t begin to be able to tell you the biological significance of the time period in which you jog. I welcome you to research that yourself, but what I do know, and what makes my day much more informed and grounded, is that a run through the centre helps me see the morning rush and the real world for a change. For a student spending most of their day stuck between specified theory and a streamline of digital information, having a run and being part of the organic heart-beat of the city makes me feel both physically and mentally healthy.
Just so we end this with an easy one – if you still don’t have a reusable water-bottle, now would be the time to get one.
The addled enemy of education has always been part-time work, filling your time with delectable bite-size portions of drudgery and long shifts.
Most of us students work in one form of retail or another. Customer service is not forgiving but it’s always there, and getting a quick job serving tables or doing deliveries is better than sending your CV out to the void and hoping something someday will come back. Often, work can be more about necessity than opportunity, and it’s difficult to realise that when you’re more concerned about studying and education.
2020 is a tough road ahead, and to those who have considered taking up a job, especially if this is the second semester of your first year, applying now can make all the difference in the world. Trust me, every year comes with more and more strain and difficulty when it comes to managing time, but it becomes even more difficult when you have to get used to a new work-place. Getting a job might be hard, but it’s the easiest part of working. Getting used to a second schedule apart from university and making the best of menial labour is a process that you won’t become good at without experience.
When it comes to finance itself, saving money is an admirable decision and often one that can save your life. Society often stigmatises penny-pinchers and recluses who don’t go out much and, frankly, I find that disgusting. The people who save and keep themselves supported are one of the most congratulatory people out there and counting yourself amongst them is a privilege and not a reason to be called a party-pooper.
As for advice – it’s often apparent that money isn’t a physical construct. The numbers on your bank app start to mean less and less the more desperate you are for the finer things in life. I myself have gone a week without checking my account because I was too afraid to see how little I had left. Maintain an allowance for food and other necessities and make sure that overspending means spending less the following day, week or month. Money won’t come out of anywhere and starving for the last days of the month is a questionable way to lose weight.
The big question of managing time is always about knowing where all the excess sinks into. No one is busy 24/7, but we manage to dilute those precious minutes with escapism and selective prioritising.
Since there have been plenty of insights on how to properly manage time for one lifetime, I’ll make a short run-down and go straight into the thesis of the issue.
To make sure you get your work done, you zone out distraction. This involves not watching or listening to media while working, and not being in public/interacting with peers while doing individual work. You keep a healthy schedule of breaks between work. You maintain a long and healthy sleep schedule, preferably staying up during the day and sleeping well through the night. Eat well, drink lots of water.
There, that’s our small health recap. Now, I’d like to tell you all a story: there once was a kid who never asked for help. They thought they could do everything by themselves. Even when they couldn’t, they would tell themselves that it would all be fine. If something was too hard, it could be ignored or pushed back. If something was too scary, they would look the other way and pretend it wasn’t there. They would shy from those who did better than them, and they would shy from change because it wouldn’t feel justified if they received it from someone else’s advice.
That kid was me, folks, and if there’s any lesson to be learned from it, it’s that asking for help does not make you a burden. We’re all in this together. As much as helping someone fills us with altruistic joy, and we often search for ways to do it, in that same way receiving help shouldn’t be laden with guilt or inadequacy. We’re here only because we’ve had people to rely on, and that should be enough incentive to continue.
If you’ve looked hard enough, you can see that these suggestions have nothing to do with the new year. That’s because making change should never be an issue of time. It should be an issue of necessity and betterment.
Everyone everywhere puts so much effort into the distinction of the new decade. We base a lot on it, and it’s clear there’s something to our little way of categorising. But action should not be determined by time. It should be determined by feeling and motivation. If a resolution helps you get motivated, do so. But trust in that a round number isn’t the be-all-end-all. Take care and make most of the rest of 2020!