Whilst minimalism was once better known as a movement in sculpture and painting in the 1950s which focused on the simplicity of design, it has now come to mean something more. Minimalism to many is, simply, living with less. It is a ‘decluttering’ of all the things that don’t add any value to our lives, and most importantly being less attached to the abundance of possessions we have acquired in our lives in an attempt to live more in the present.
Whilst, I’ll admit, at first, it sounds way too bohemian and almost quite pretentious, taking a minimalist approach to life at university can be an amazing way to detach ourselves from the material distractions that encompass our day to day, and help focus on what’s more important. Now whilst I wouldn’t suggest you throw your MacBook Pro off the Business block balcony and pitch a tent in your garden to live in, maybe trying out some of the following could help you manage your time, stress levels, and maybe even improve your grades.
The 30 day challenge
This is minimalism 101, and not innovative on my behalf. You start by removing just one thing on the first day, two on the second day, and so on, until you reach thirty days. This may prove to be a difficult challenge, but you don’t have to remove anything elaborate – anything counts. By the end of the 30 days you might find not only your bedroom being a lot cleaner, but your mind as well. Less things means less distractions, which will give you more time to focus on your studies and any extra curricular activities you may be pursuing.
I know loads of uni students who have wardrobes overflowing with expensive designer labels which they have accumulated overtime from when they weren’t in financial turmoil, but still only wear the same few outfits day in and day out (I myself am guilty of this). We are lucky enough in Bristol to have an abundance of second-hand shops that sell not only clothes, but books, and even furniture. Selling some of your old clothes and replacing them with charity shop purchases will make you some quick money which can be spent on things which are essential. Plus, it’s much more ethical which is an added bonus.
Set some time aside each day to be truly present. This may require turning your phone off for an hour or two, closing your laptop or turning off the TV. This time can be spent how you want. Perhaps you’ve always fancied giving meditation a go, or you keep saying you want to find a good route to run. Maybe you keep putting off a project you’ve been meaning to start, or you want to try your hand at cooking something nice. This time in the day is well and truly yours, so giving yourself a social media detox for a couple hours may really help clear your mind. When this time is over, you ought to feel much more collected. Trying to complete stressful assignments are difficult if your life is going at 100mph 24/7.
This is one that is very close to home. Right from the get-go, going out to pubs and clubs with your flatmates on any given day of the week is textbook ‘university experience’. It doesn’t even have to be a night you’re necessarily that keen for; but the anticipation of getting back to your house/flat once all your lectures are done, getting dressed up and getting drunk on Aldi wine is second to none. Now I am definitely not one to preach about staying in all the time, but it might be worth thinking about how you go about it. If minimalism is about being content with less, then it might be worth considering only getting one bottle of wine instead of two, or if going out in a massive group is likely to cause drama (or just lead to you still being up at 7am) then maybe the night might be better going out with less of you. This is pretty common knowledge however, and quite a boring note to finish on. This one is admittedly more for my own benefit if anything.
University is a fast paced environment where you are expected to juggle a copious amount at once, and it is often hard to know how to manage your time. Minimalism can be a useful tool to help decide what’s important, and what we actually need to be successful in our degrees, but more importantly to be happy and fulfilled during our time here.
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