Faculty / Staff Resources Student Resources
University of Southern California
University of Southern California
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
X/Twitter Facebook Instagram LinkedIn YouTube

Back in Business


August 24, 2020

Life Hacks

X/Twitter Facebook LinkedIn email

Today is the first day of classes for the fall semester and it honestly blows my mind! The week off between summer and fall FLEW by. I spent half of it driving to Los Angeles and the other half moving into my new place. It was a break from school but definitely still a busy week. Though the drive was not unbearable (and it was my second time), I do not plan on doing it again. From New Orleans to Los Angeles is nearly 30 hours and 2,000 miles long. Luckily, my mom decided to drive with me and split the load. I am so happy that she did! Though I was home since March, my mom and I had not spent much time together. I was always in my room tending to some sort of work. So, this road trip to school was some much-needed mother-daughter time before officially being in another state for several months. We spent the hours jamming to throwback 90s R&B and chatting about old memories.

Posing with my mom as we enter the state of California

The infamous picture of your mom kissing you unexpectantly

My mom stayed for a few days to help me get some apartment things that I needed then flew back home. I got some rest on Friday and Saturday then it was time to prep for school on Sunday. I added all of my classes, work times, and lab meetings to my calendar. My trusted planner is back to being glued to my hip. My sticky notes are fully stocked. I still do not have a desk but hopefully that will change in the next week. *fingers crossed* Time to get back to business! I am feeling a bit stressed and nervous but I did this before which means I am capable of doing it again.

SO . . . how am I preparing for another fast-paced and intensive semester from home?

Last semester, I found a few things that helped reduce stress and made me feel a bit more balanced. They are all easy and I hope that they can help you too.

  • Exercise
    The biggest challenge is starting. But, once you are in it, it feels great. Not only does it feel like stress is being released with your sweat, it also adds to your list of accomplishments for the day. Even if you are unable to do anything else, at least you can say that you got in a good workout. It feels awesome to check something off of the list and it motivates you to do more. Exercise does not always have to be exhausting—it can actually be very energizing. I like to work out at the start of my day. Knowing that the remainder of the day will be spent sitting in class, exercising in the morning helps me get into a positive headspace.
  • Go outdoors
    Use any opportunity that you can to go outdoors and get fresh air. This one is pretty simple. Smell the flowers, hear the birds chirping, feel the sun on your skin. This is necessary. Your cozy home cannot provide what nature gives you. Even if it is as simple as going out to get the mail or walking to your car, take a few extra moments to enjoy being outside.
  • Hang out with your friends
    *in a socially distanced way! Zoom calls and facetime is cool and it works if it is your only form of communication. But after being online ALL day, it can sometimes feel like an extra chore. If you can go to a park and spread out, do that! It is nice to see your friends’ faces in person. It’s also a change of scenery which is just as necessary and meaningful for your mental health.

I know that we all hoped things would look better by now and the fact that it is not can really dampen the mood. However, taking note of the little things that make you happy or make you feel even a little better is very important. Now is the time to find joy in the small things.