So, I've been in college for about a month now. Holy shit! I know! I'm freaking out a little bit, too. Keeping up my blog is as hard as I expected it to be, but I've been managing. I've discovered a few things along the way, and I've decided to share them with everyone.
See, I didn't really have any concrete advice going into college on how to maintain my blog. A few friends shot out awesome suggestions, Christina and Gillian immediately come to mind, but this is a learning experience that I had to discover all on my own. I want to share my experiences with everyone so they can have realistic interpretations about their blog while in college. And, in all honesty, I want to know what other suggestions everyone else has!
So, let's begin!
1. Accept the fact that your blog will no longer be a priority.
I accepted this fairly easily, and I think that's why this transition was so easy for me. Don't delude yourself into thinking that your blog will still be near the top of the priority list. If you want to have friends and pass classes, there's just no way that your blog will be as important as it once was. You can't blog and have a social life, just as you can't blog and get good grades. Most of your reading time will be put toward studying, and most of your studying time will be reading really boring articles and works that make you wish you have a good book in your hand.
2. Choose a social life over your blog.
Sometimes you just need alone time. You need to sit in your room and read and be by yourself. Hell, I had a night where I just watched Doctor Who with a friend while everyone else walked around NYC. These moods strike, but don't forfeit a social life for your blog. There are great odds that the strong bonds you form in college will last a lifetime. These are the girls that can be your bridesmaids, these are the girls who will keep you sane and hold you when you cry. Hell, those may be the boys that you marry one day. Don't give that up. This is pretty much a reiteration of point one, but seriously, allow yourself to have a social life that will prove to be ten times more awesome than anything that could have happened in high school.
|Friends before filling up book-ends!|
3. Seek out the town library while exploring the surrounding area after move-in or ask the help desk to guide you to one.
Never fear the help desk, they're actually really helpful and the people helping out are most likely students who once had similar questions to you.
I worked at a library before coming to college and I still preferred my own books. I often traded books via the YA Book Exchange (and still do). There's something nice about having a book you loved sitting on your own personal bookshelf as opposed to having to return it upon completion. I get that. But you can't really have such a plethora of books in your dorm room. You really don't have a lot of room, unless you're as lucky as some people
like Renae. A library will become your new best friend and it is a smart idea to find one. There is one within a ten minute walk from me and anything connected to the New York Public Library is an automatic love in my eyes.
|You can also find your future husband there. Some guys love girls who read.|
~*~Bringing Books to College~*~
4. No matter what, always bring a few favorites. Their presence is comforting.
On top of my desk, I have six books. I love all six of these books and I constantly pick them up to read certain passages when I am down or need a pick-me-up. There's something assuring to me to see them above one of my many study areas. If nobody else can pick me up when I am feeling down, these works can. They take up minimal room and any comfort from home is great, no?
|This is how they make me feel.|
5. Bring books if you have a plan about where to put them. Some examples and ideas follow.
I took a tour of my room online offered by my college. Most colleges offer these and will also give you the measurements of the entire room, dressers, etc. Do this and keep your eye out for things like this when you attend an overnight orientation so you can start planning your side of the room.
Example #1: I have a very tall armoire in my room, but I can easily reach the top because I am a tall girl. I crunched some numbers and realized I could bring about 30 books and fit them neatly on top of my armoire as an impromptu shelf. Thank you to Gaby for alphabetizing this for me upon move in!
Example #2: If you don't have an armoire like me, I highly recommend using any shelves on top of your desk for books.
Example #3: If you want to use those predominantly for textbooks and other required reading materials for classes like me, then I would buy under-bed storage units. I bought several clear plastic purple drawers at my local container store and this was the best decision I could have made. I use them for seasonal clothing (like shorts), extra tools and supplies for the room, and as storage bins for my food. But, in all actuality, I used them to transfer my books to school before creating my impromptu shelf. If I didn't have space to make my shelf, I definitely would have used these drawers beneath my bed to hold my books.
Example #4: My roommate also has drawers like this, except she chose to stack them four high on her side of our window sill/air conditioning and heating unit. Because these drawers are plastic no potential condensation can get into them and your books will be well protected! This also opens up more room beneath your bed for storage, food, supplies, and laundry while using otherwise non-usable space.
|I am the smarter (wo)man alive!|
6. Bring a plethora of books.
This is pretty self-explanatory.
Yes, it's important to bring books that you think you'll like, but don't just bring ones in your favorite genres. If you're a mood reader like me, you need a little bit of everything. I brought every genre with me but horror. While most of my books are young adult, I bought a select few new adult, a five-book adult box set, and one middle-grade novel. Even if the book doesn't seem like it is totally appealing, you will never know when the mood strikes. Variety is important since you can't just go home and pick up any random book you want off your shelves the way we used to be able to.
7. Read at night with your roommate's consent.
In the month that I've been to college, the earliest that I've shut off my light to pass out was 1:30 AM, the latest was 7 AM. Most of the time I'm out with friends. It's easy to go stir crazy in dorms, especially after studying for hours, so we often go and walk around while exploring until we tire ourselves out. We also tend to go out a lot on the weekends, but that's beside the point. I sat down with my roommate and told her of my love of reading, which she wholeheartedly accepts. I told her I have to read to pass out, so just be kind about it. I read at least one chapter almost every night. I go until I'm tired enough to literally pass out. If my roommate is exhausted then I will read it before we turn the light out so she can fall asleep, as to not be rude. If she's just tired, then I put a small reading light on above my bed, angle it towards the wall, and read to my heart's content as she passes out. This is slow going, but it ensures that you will get some solid reading in and it allows you to continue your love of reading. I highly suggest doing this.
8. Invest in a clip-lamp or a book-light.
Seriously, this will be one of the best decisions ever. I use a clip lamp on top of my desk that's angled against the wall of my bed. I sit at the end of my bed against the wall and the light still reaches me perfectly without bothering my roommate on the other side of the room. She has one as well for when she studies in a similar fashion. If you need an extra strong light to read in the dark, I'd suggest a book-light since it shines directly on the page.
One of these will be your new best friend if you're a devoted reader.
9. Make time to read. Yes, this is really possible if you think about it beforehand.
This was actually a point emphasized to me by the lovely Christina, and it's something that is very true. If reading is so important to you, then make an effort not to let it go. You can still get a ton of studying done and read for pleasure and hang out with your friends, you just have to find a way around everything. For example, on Wednesdays I have four and a half hours between the two classes that I have that day. This is my only true break between classes out of the four days that I am in school. I do laundry during this time because the wait is rather short since most of the other freshman are in class.
On a completely unrelated note, find a time between classes to do laundry as well if you don't want to spend 4 hours doing laundry like most people do because of the lines. I get my laundry done in about two hours because of the lack of lines. I put my clothing in the washer, settle myself onto a nice window ledge looking out over City Hall, and read for those two hours only to take a break for moving my stuff into the dryer and then bringing it all up to my room to fold and put away. Then, depending on my workload, I will either continue to read or spend the last two hours studying. Studying always comes first, but I have taken out a specific section of time every week to ensure the fact that I can read.
~*~Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes to the Blog~*~
10. Prepare posts in advance before you head to school.
I cannot stress doing this enough. My school let in late, so I had a solid two weeks in my town where I was literally one of five people from my graduating class left in town. I read a lot on top of packing and saying my good-byes. I was able to get a solid month and a half of reviews done, though I spread them out between September and October. I'll no longer be able to get about 13 reviews up a month. I've accepted that. My average is going to be anywhere between 6 - 8 reviews a month, hopefully on the higher side. If you think you can average getting more reviews than this up a month, then you have extremely unrealistic expectations unless you give up both studying and a social life.
11. Read more novellas.
If you do want a higher post count, read more novellas. I used to hate novellas, but I don't mind them as much now. Some of them serve as mini stories, you know? They're quicker to read. While it would normally take me a single sitting to read one, it may now take two, but the point is that they're quick to read. And more often than not they are also cheap. If you begin to review novellas, you may feel less stress in regards to the speed at which you read normal books because you do have some back-up review posts ready if necessary.
12. Embrace memes.
I'm not saying to allow memes to over-rule your blog. But the occasional TTT, WoW, STS, and any others are really helpful to keeping the blog alive. They're also very easy to put together. I've put together entire TTT lists in the amount of time it took a late professor to get to class because her train was delayed by ten minutes. Just don't overuse the memes, they can make your blog uninteresting and repetitive. Find a happy medium.
13. Find new content that you enjoy.
My personal new content is discussion posts. I tend to post at least two a month. These keep my blog active, but they take a while to put together. Not only do I have to think them out, but I have to hunt down GIFs because I enjoy them. They're not easy, but they're something that I love so I stick with them. It just takes a while to type them out. I can't sit down and figure it all out in one shot like I used to be able to. If you are willing to commit yourself to something new (movie reviews, discussions, music reviews, new features that you create) then go for it!
14. Never treat your blog like a chore.
If you begin to view it as a chore, you will legitimately let it go in college. It's not something that you'll go back to because you don't have the time. It's an outlet for your thoughts, never lose sight of that.
What are your thoughts in regards to keeping up blogging in high stress times?
What are your thoughts in regards to keeping up blogging in high stress times?