Early mornings help. Not stupid early, but not lying in bed scrolling through a hundred tweets and putting off actually leaving my safe cosy nest of a duvet. Anywhere between 7 and 8 am usually works well with my internal clock. I always, always make my bed now. It’s the smallest little task and it’s the smallest little achievement, but it starts the day off with tha right mindset.
Coffee – plenty of caffeine. Frothy milk, steaming water and colourful arrays of mugs. There’s no way I would be able even pick up a textbook without it.
Stretch and breathe. Nothing big and fancy, no yoga mats and no zen music. I just take a few minutes, often while the water is boiling, to wake up my lethargic muscles and get the oxygen in my bloodstream.
Food is not a choice. Breakfast is, quite simply, a necessity. Plenty of fruit and protein. How else am I going to actually achieve anything, if I have zero energy?
If I don’t get dressed pretty quickly after breakfast, I lose all desire to do anything fulfilling with my day. I go upstairs, pull my hair up, splash my face and inhale sharply at the icy temperature that hits my skin, pretend my eyes aren’t sprouting with tears as I force a hairbrush through the stubborn knots entangling my hair. For days when I’m studying, I fully embrace the oversized hoodie and leggings look, which, let’s be real, I embrace the majority of the time. But when I’m trying to determine the factorial of x, or the atomic structure of a giant covalent, having to adjust my belt, or shift my jeans, isn’t ideal.
I pack my bag. I go through my shelves and select the textbooks, papers and any other bits and pieces that I’ll possibly need. Not just the books fill up all the space though, I take a bottle of water with me, because I suck at staying hydrated. I chuck in my purse, gum, possibly a snack, my pens, pencils, highlighters, notes, anything vaguely ‘study’ related. By the time I have everything I could possibly need, physically carrying my bag can often be an issue.
I simply just can’t study at home for very long. A couple of hours is fine, but any more than that and I lose all focus. So I find a cosy little cafe, a library, usually with another cup of coffee, and set all my books and papers out, and start.
Studying is the thing that keeps me going in recovery. The prospect of working towards a goal, not just healthy and achievable, but a goal I have dreamt of from a very young age.
I stay huddled in my spot, totally fixtated between pages of books, stopping every now and then for a break and to re fuel with a snack, sprawling notes and diagrams across pages and pages that pile in my folders. Coffee cup stains, smudged numbers, scribbled key facts, and refernce notes.
‘Study while they sleep. Live like they dream’.