My morning routine as an international student in online college!

Expat Life

November 7, 2020

Hello everyone! Incase you’re new to my blog, I’m a freshman at Georgetown University, however, I’ve been doing my first semester online at home in Dubai with a 9 hour time difference. I’m documenting my experiences with this challenge as well as sharing some tips for others going through the same thing! A few weeks ago I shared a “week in my life” style blog post and it you seemed to love it. That’s why this week I’ve decided to share my morning routine so give you a better idea of how I’m dealing with the time difference and what I’m doing to stay happy and positive. My morning routine sets the tone for the rest of the day, and initially I really struggled to build a healthy morning routine because my time difference meant that I was sleeping super late and waking up late everyday. However, it’s been a couple of months and I think I’ve managed to build a healthy morning routine that puts me in a good mood for the rest of the day and I’m excited to share it with you.

Obviously each day looks a bit different depending on the classes I’ve had the night before (sometimes I end up sleeping at 2am which obviously means I wake up a lot later), but this is my general routine! In this post, I’ll also do what I did in my “day in my life” post and include the time zone I live in (GST) and the time zone that my school is in (EST) so you can get a better idea of how I’m juggling the two!

8:55am GST (11:55pm EST)

I usually set my alarm for 8:55am so I’m out of bed by 9am. I am a pretty light sleeper so I normally wake up as soon as my alarm rings. I usually get out of bed and go right to my windows to open the curtains. I’m lucky that it’s sunny basically everyday in Dubai, so I get lots of natural light to wake me up. I’ll usually have a quick look at my notifications that I’ve gotten overnight. Sometimes it’s a little stressful to wake up and look at my phone because my night time is when everyone else at college is awake and my teachers will usually post assignments and send emails while I’m sleeping (so that’s lovely to wake up to haha!) After looking at the most important notifications, I then drink some water to help wake me up and head to my bathroom to get ready.

I usually quickly go to the toilet, brush my teeth, and wash my face because I head to a workout class and I don’t need to spend too much time getting ready. I then grab my bag and yoga mat, fill up my water bottle and head out at 9:25 for my workout class.

9:45am GST (12:45am EST)

I head to a barre class at 9:45 which I really love! All throughout high school I ran cross country, and it was really fun, but it’s nice to be doing something different now. I started barre a few months ago and it’s quite difficult! I like it because it gave me a challenge to work towards and see some improvement. It also gives me an opportunity to get out of the house everyday, which doesn’t always happen since I’m doing online school. Also, I don’t know if it’s just me, but when I’m in a workout class or working out with a group of people I’m much more motivated and get a better workout in! Anyways, this class goes on for an hour.

11:00am GST (2:00am EST)

I usually get home at around 11am from my workout class. Sometimes I head to the Starbucks drive thru to grab my regular iced matcha latter or other days I just make my own version at home – it’s really simple and delicious! This is when I basically start getting my working day started. In the first few weeks of college with this huge time difference this made me quite upset because 11am is a late time to start the day! But I just had to keep reminding myself that I’m basically living in a completely different time zone and I have classes late into the evening, so technically I still have the same amount of time to do school work.

Anyways, I usually grab my drink and a small snack and eat it at my desk while checking my emails. I usually spend a few minutes writing out a list of everything I have to get done that day and planning everything out. I use my trusty planner and the Notion app to keep me organized (I wrote a whole blog post on Notion here) I also usually watch a pre-recorded lecture while I eat my breakfast/snack just to get started on some work. This is a really productive time for me because I’m super motivated from my workout and most of my friends are sleeping (because they’re in different time zones) so I have a chunk of time to just focus on work.

12:00pm GST (3:00am EST)

At this point I’ll have finished eating a snack and watching my lecture or whatever it is that I was working on. I’ll turn on my speaker, listen to some music, and go for a post-workout shower. I always feel so fresh and clean after washing my hair and doing my whole skincare routine. This is when I’ll usually pick out an outfit (I probably wear the same three outfits on rotation since I’m just at home!) and then get ready.

12:45pm GST (3:45am EST)

At this point I’ll probably start thinking about what I’m going to have for lunch. I eat a small snack after my workout so that I’m still hungry and can eat lunch at around 1:30-ish. Sometimes I decide to order something from Deliveroo so I place my order, but other days I’ll cook my own lunch so I’ll go put something in the oven so that I can do some work while I wait for lunch to cook/be delivered.

1:30pm GST (4:30am EST)

This is when I’ll normally take a break from school work and eat lunch. I always make sure to take an actual lunch break, and not just eat while watching a lecture or multitasking. This helps me keep a healthy routine and keep boundaries between working and my normal life since it’s difficult to do that because I’m just at home! I’ll usually take around 30-45 mins for lunch and then finish whatever I was doing before. Sometimes I’ll carry on doing my homework at home, or sometimes I’ll go to a cafe, and sometimes I might have small jobs that I have to go out and complete – it just depends on the day!

This is a general overview of what my morning routine looks like! Keeping this routine and doing these things like going to a workout class, listening to music, and taking a lunch break help me to stay positive and motivated in the monotony of online college! Let me know in the comments what your morning routine consists of, especially if you’re also working from home or doing online school, I’d love to hear!

Also be sure to check out my store, Wildflower Studios! I just launched the Christmas collection which has a bunch of fun products!

See you next week!

  1. […] grabbing something quick to eat for breakfast while I started studying as a I always felt behind. I actually wrote a whole blog post detailing it at the time. This was not a healthy routine most days, and I always started the day feeling stressed. This is […]

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