Right at this moment I should not be writing this post but instead the 800-word essay I need to hand in tonight for my freshmen seminar. Professor Kernighan, if you’re reading this; I am sorry. On a gladder note however the aforementioned essay (which I, by the way, am having a lot of fun writing) concludes my mid-term week. Considering it is my first time writing tests in English at Princeton I feel quite alright about my results, although I definitely aim to improve. I realize it is important for me to quickly get used to the tests here, as they are completely incomparable with the tests I have done so far in my academic career.

That is something I will consider more after one of the most important weeks of the year: the well-deserved much-needed post-midterm fall break. Most people waste no time, leaving campus to go home as soon as they can, and as a result of this there is a very high risk of my being supremely bored during this week. Of course, that is something I simply cannot have that and as such I have conceived The Sten Sjöberg Fall Break Challenge to keep me occupied.

The Challenge consists of five different sub-challenges based primarily in physical and mental health. Indeed, the reason I write that the fall break is one of the most important weeks of the year is not only to be funny (although let’s be honest I totally am) but also because it is an opportunity for us students to slow down and let the soul catch up. Here are the five sub-challenges:

The Running Challenge consists of my running twice a day, once in the morning and once in the evening totaling at least 10k every day. Running is truly something beautiful. First and foremost, it helps me keep my cardio-vascular system in check. Furthermore, running is excellent mediation and a perfect outlet for whatever feelings accumulate in this stressful academic milieu that is Princeton.

The Reading Challenge is, as the name might suggest, about reading. By the end of the summer I started reading two excellent books that I had to shelve when I came to the University. Now that I have some time on my hands I’ll try and get through them by reading at least one hour per day. I am hoping to combine that with my running by listening to the audiobook version. 

The Sugar Challenge means I must not eat any foodstuffs containing unnecessary amounts of sugar. Since coming to America I have been painfully aware of how far I’ve let my diet go and it is about time I change that up. Sugar truly is an awful drug. Not only is it physically addictive and detrimental to both mental and physical health – it is also widely accepted in society (in the US especially) and available everywhere. It has actually come so far that I am worried I won’t be able to follow through with this since I don’t know what Dining Services will serve for brunch during the break, but I will definitely try my best. If they serve the “continental breakfast” type brunch that they served during International Orientation I might have to give up on brunch entirely because that was very literally only sugar.

The Caffeine Challenge might be the hardest for me. I don’t consider myself neither addicted nor hindered by caffeine in any way – I just really love coffee (and tea). I still want to do this challenge though simply because I don’t think I have ever tried it before. Since I started drinking coffee at the rather disconcerting age of 14 I’ve just kept with it. The challenge would be an interesting experiment to see if my sleeping is improved, if my concentration is affected and if it might make me feel more at peace. Needless to say, it consists of removing all caffeine from my diet.

The Sleeping Challenge will be easy. One thing that I can pride myself about is how well I have handled sleep since I got here in late August. I sleep around 8 hours every night going to bed around 11 pm to 2 am and waking up around 8 and 9 am. Although (I’m sorry mother) there have been a few instances when I went to sleep around 5 am. In other words, more can always be done so I will try to completely remove snoozing from my daily routine as there really are no benefits to doing it. I will also standardize things a bit more letting myself sleep neither more nor less than 8 hours.

Those are the commitments I’ll be working on during the break and I look forward to writing my next post detailing how it all went at the end of the week. Wish me luck and feel free to join me in the challenge if you feel up to the task. I really do recommend people to at least keep these things in mind, especially my fellow college students. This time in our lives can be really stressful (trust me I’m painfully aware) but there are no excuses not to take care of yourself.

Also, in the spirit of keeping people updated I am happy to announce that I won one of the five seats representing my great Princeton Class of 2021. It is something I already love working with and I assure the entire class that I will go to the ends of the earth for you, as I am sure the other excellent officers would too. Below is a great picture taken after our first class study break at Starbucks.

The receipt from our very first study break at Starbucks last Sunday.

The receipt from our very first study break at Starbucks last Sunday featuring class officers Emma Parish and Tiger Gao.

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