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En Route #9


Rinse & Repeat

With midterms safely behind us for another semester, students around the globe can breathe a collective sigh of relief now that the worst is behind them… for now. The aftermath of midterms is a good time for academic reflection, usually in the form of grades and feedback from critiques. As we collect our marks it’s important to keep in mind that midterm evaluations are just a check-in point and while you certainly shouldn’t blow them off, you also shouldn’t blow them out of proportion.

I find that this point in the semester is also a good time for individual reflection. On my end, it’s become clear that I’ve got to come up with a better dishwashing philosophy than: I’ll do it tomorrow. This quickly becomes problematic when you consider the ratio of dirty dishes to sink space which is at a premium in most Parisian kitchens (shameless plug: if you want ideas for how to best navigate your tiny Parisian kitchen, look no further than PCA’s Cook Club! Follow us on Instagram @pcacooks for recipes, how-to’s, and really good food).

Midterms were by all accounts particularly rough on many a student’s sleep, social life, and sanity this semester and once they were over I was more than eager to use this week as an extended exhale. I joyfully regained my ability to sleep past noon, a talent I feared had abandoned me after I turned 21 and started having dreams about unanswered emails that ensured I was up before 9am most days. It turns out all it took was a week of less than 5 hours of sleep per night that allowed me to collapse in my bed and stay there for a solid 13 hours on Friday after my last class. Once I did manage to get out of bed, I knew that if I wanted to give myself a more enjoyable exam week experience in the future, I was going to have to implement some reform in my academic routine.

Routines are good, great even. For a student whose world often turns on answers to emails, we tend to cling to what we can control in our lives. I myself am a creature of habit and like things a certain way. I have a strictly regimented bedtime ritual which involves arranging my blankets and pillows just so before washing up, crawling into bed, and reading exactly one and a half chapters of a book until my eyes inevitably drift shut. No matter what time, day, or place, this is how I end every single day. It marks a clear close of all school related business and gives a sense of order to my otherwise constantly changing weeks. My problem isn’t sticking to a routine, it’s starting one.

My troublesome dishwashing philosophy can be directly traced back to my reluctance to start things I don’t really feel like doing, homework above all. Newton’s first law of motion states that “an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion”. Since peeling myself off the couch and slumping over to my desk feels like a near impossible task at times, I devised a trick that kills two birds with one stone. When it’s time to be productive, pretty much anything seems better than homework, even dishes. So that’s what I do. And once the sink is empty and my blood is pumping, sitting down at my desk feels infinitely easier than forcing myself from my couch. Using mindless household chores to give myself a quick sense of achievement makes for a much better transition to the dreaded homework.

Another key element that aids my productivity is having the right soundtrack. Much like a background character in a musical, my life feels dull and meaningless without music to tap my foot to. It just so happens that Taylor Swift released her new album Midnights this past Friday, which single-handedly cured any post midterms stress I was experiencing. It felt like a personalized gift to keep me company as I spend more midnights awake than I do asleep these days, and probably for the foreseeable future.

Although this is not a blog in which I review albums, I think it’s safe to say that it can only help your academic future to give Midnights a listen while you power through homework long into the night. Some of my top tracks so far are “Maroon”, “Question…?”, and “Would’ve Could’ve Should’ve”, just in case you were in need of some late night accompaniment too. As this relatively peaceful week wraps up, I’m going to try to utilize these tricks in order to maintain a better workflow as the semester continues.

Do your dishes!

f t p