Posted by Siena Tugendrajch
In arguably my favorite movie, the 1995 flick "Empire Records," Liv Tyler's character Corey says there are 24 usable hours in a day. As a sophomore, though most of my time is spent in class, writing papers, studying, pursuing extracurricular activities, eating and sleeping, I like that idea.
Despite these commitments, I usually end up with some extra time for myself. You may be wondering how I achieve this feat, or, like most of my friends, you may want to hit me. Know that with a few alterations to your daily routine, you, too, can find yourself with some time on your hands.
The first step is to always think of the big picture. Plan ahead and learn to love your syllabi! Invest in a planner and make a few To-Do lists. Then, once you find out how great it feels to check things off these lists, figure out where and how you do your best work. I personally read novels in my window seat, drag my laptop to the third floor of the library for analytical papers and make tactful excuses (i.e. I'm late for a fictional Sanskrit class) to avoid working with people who will distract me. Follow these recommendations and soon you may find yourself with some hours to spare.
Now that you have some of this elusive, mystical free time, how should you use it? This week, I say read! I often worry that we young people, specifically stressed out college students, stop appreciating the joy and satisfaction that comes with reading for pleasure. Luckily for us, the magical interweb has made reading (like so much else) incredibly easy. There are countless websites dedicated to contemporary short fiction, poetry, essays and more. Don't be overwhelmed just yet. I can help.
For original short fiction, I love fiftytwostories.com. This lovely website showcases a new story each week and encourages its readers to submit their own work. What a wonderful concept. I also recently stumbled upon corpse.com, the website for The Exquisite Corpse, a self-proclaimed journal for letters and life. The Exquisite Corpse, although badly organized and not as aesthetically appealing as Fifty-Two Stories, has some of the most unique and compelling writing I've seen in a long time. There are also tons of literary journals online, of which I will recommend rkvry.com. Why R-KV-R-Y? Because the website is brilliantly constructed and has well written work. Hard to beat.
I also dabble in non-fiction, though I should warn you that 98 percent of what I read comes from New York-based publications. The New Yorker, at newyorker.com, rarely disappoints me. Granted you need a subscription to view certain articles, but somehow I can always find something interesting, from the politics of attending college, to the psychology of Facebook, to current movie reviews.
I will also admit that I'm somewhat obsessed with New York Magazine, available at nymag.com. New York puts its entire magazine on the web, which is why I was able to read a six-page feature on Zooey Deschanel and also find out that, at long last, my subway station is getting cell phone service! If you need to ease in to this whole reading for pleasure thing, start with New York's hilarious and informative Approval Matrix, an illustrative weekly guide to everything it prints ranging from despicable to brilliant.
My least academic suggestion is Rookie, found at rookiemag.com, a magazine that caters to teenage girls. I stumbled upon this gem while figuring out how best to become Aubrey Plaza, who was interviewed by a 15-year-old from this online publication. Other Rookie highlights include a "Mean Girls"-inspired playlist and a guide that teaches you to transform your life into a coming-of-age movie.
This semester, as we all work hard like the good college students we are, I hope you'll join me in making room for the rest of life and taking advantage of the time we're able to set aside. Future topics will include volunteer work, creative ways to work out in your dorm room, my obsession with Tumblr, Skidmore events, spelunking and more. That's all for now.
Siena Tugendrajch is a Sophomore working on a double major in Psychology and English.