It’s January and the beginning of a new semester which is the hardest time of year in my opinion! It’s very cold (at least for this Dubai kid), gets dark super early, and we’re getting used to the swing of school work again after having a relaxing break. At times like this, I think it’s super important to intentionally do things to make us happy and add a little bit of extra joy to our days. I’ve been back in DC for a couple of weeks now, and I’ve been intentionally planning little things every day that make me happy; it’s made it so much easier to settle in here than it was last semester! I’m thinking of doing a whole comparison post comparing last semester’s first weeks to settling in this semester to see what I’ve learned – so stick around for that!
But anyway, here are a few of the things giving me joy at the moment. Some of them are just little things but they make all the difference! Comment at the end of this post what some of the things giving you joy are.
A quiet campus
We were online for the first two-ish weeks of the semester, but I still went back to Georgetown to do classes, since doing classes with a 9 hour time difference was just not the vibe. At first, I thought the quieter campus would be a bit lonely, but I’ve actually been enjoying it. It’s nice to have fewer queues in the cafeteria, more open study spaces, and just have the dorms a bit quieter. We’re going back to full capacity this week, but it’s been nice to have this little quiet moment.
New study spaces
In the Fall I would study outdoors on campus all the time and then as it got colder last semester I would study a lot at coffee shops as I’m not a fan of our library on campus. However, this semester some days it’s just been so cold that I can’t bring myself to go off campus to study! I’ve really been enjoying exploring new study spaces on campus and finding some hidden gems. The photo below is of our business school, where I’ve really been enjoying studying recently.
So this isn’t something in my control, but if it does snow it makes it an extra special day. As much as I don’t love the cold wind and ice, I really like the excitement of snow! It snowed on my first day back here and it was so magical. I haven’t really been in snow since I was little and lived in London, so snow days remind me of being in elementary school and all the excitement that came with them!
Long dinners with friends
I think it’s something about how it gets dark early and how it’s so cold outside, but sitting for a nice cozy dinner with friends has been something I look forward to every day. On-campus, all of our dining areas are grab-and-go only because of Covid, and at first, I thought that this would just mean eating in my room every day but it’s actually been a nice surprise. Instead of sitting in the busy cafeteria like we did last semester, I’ve found that these rules have forced us to make intentional plans, and it kinds of reminds me of eating dinner with my family, just sitting around a table chatting for a while.
I loved going on runs outside last semester, but I’m not going to lie, I’ve just found it way too cold this semester! I know some people can run during this weather, but I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m just not one of them. Instead, I’ve been going on morning walks around twice a week with a friend. It’s such a nice way to start the day and get some fresh air, especially as some days I’m sitting in front of my laptop for the whole day.
A new set-up
This one is really little, and I don’t know why but it’s just given me lots of new motivation! When I got back to campus, I put up some new decorations and moved around some of the furniture. I think the new set-up just makes it feel kind of like a fresh start and has given me some much-needed motivation to get work done.
Setting weekly Intentions
I felt like last semester was just so busy all the time, and I know that this semester will get very busy soon, but for these first few weeks I’ve really enjoyed feeling on top of all my work (and I hope to keep it this way!) I’ve been setting weekly intentions of specific things I’m going to focus on that week, for example, a job to apply to or an interview to prep for. I’ve found that this really helps me strategically focus on achieving something instead of getting caught up in the never-ending to-do list.
Since it’s been a bit quieter around campus recently, I’ve been enjoying doing smaller wholesome activities. We’ve done lots of fun movie nights, went to a cute book store with a restaurant in it, and even went ice skating while it was sowing!
I feel like no “things give me joy lately” post would be complete without a mention of matcha lattes! I did try going for hot matcha lattes for a bit because it’s so cold, but I had to revert back to the classic iced matcha latte. Taking a break to make or walk to pick up a matcha latte most days just makes me very happy.
These are just a few of the things that are making my days a little brighter recently! Let me know in the comments, what has been giving you joy lately.
See you next week,