By Jessica Harrington, Director
Although no one can go back and make a brand-new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand-new ending.
-James Sherman, Rejection
Welcome to another term and a new year! Here are some tips for a good start (or to encourage you to keep going in case you’ve already started!):
- Simplify. Webster’s definition of simplify says, “to reduce to basic essentials… diminish complexity.” Author/blogger, Leo Babauta, offers another definition to consider for everyday life: “It [simplify] means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.” Babauta’s post, Simple Living Manifesto: 72 Ideas to Simplify Your Life, elaborates on suggestions which may benefit busy grad students in particular. Some of my favorites from the list: learn to say no, limit media consumption, be present, learn to do nothing! If you get a moment, take a long glance at the post and see what inspires you to declutter physically, mentally, and emotionally. When you find yourself overwhelmed this term, just take one moment to simplify.
- Show your body some love! Over the years, I’ve learned that while public health students value the public’s health, they are prone to forget to nourish their own bodies through exercise and nutrition. Consider this list of workout apps and check out the PDF copy of The Good and Cheap Cookbook by Leanne Brown (note: thank you to the JHSPHer who suggested the cookbook!!).
- Make A Plan to Manage Distractions and Resume Work! Focus is a necessary component in the academic journey and distractions are inevitable. One researcher suggests those who make a “ready-to-resume” plan may be able to bounce back from distractions and return to their work more efficiently. The plan doesn’t have to be a lengthy list. The article notes, “Even a minute’s work will do, to note where you left off, and where to resume, what challenges are left, and/or what actions (you) must postpone but resume later.”
- Learn to Think Fast and Slow. Given that students live at the pace of an eight week term, this interesting excerpt from Daniel Kahneman’s book, Thinking, Fast and Slow, is a reminder to be deliberative in our thinking especially in problem solving. It’s important to know the difference between reacting and responding.
- Build in time to pause from technology. Most of us are aware of how detrimental it is to stare at our screens for hours on end. The Time Out app (also suggested by a student) is another mechanism that provides prompts and reminders to pause. Give it a try.