Recently, I’ve been seeing a lot of “Day in the Life of a College Student” videos on the Internet. Most, if not all of them, begin with a cinematic reel of a student waking up at 8:00 a.m. or earlier that is followed by some wellness activity like yoga or journaling. After that, they waltz to the shower and go through a 16-step skincare routine. They attend lectures on time, listen attentively and head straight to the library to revise what they’ve learned that day. After an intense study session, they grab a salad for lunch and dinner before hitting the gym. When they come home, they should be exhausted but no.
They shower, meditate and do their 15 minutes of reading — not just any book but one that goes by the name of “Atomic Habits.” And when they’re finally ready to go to sleep, it’s only 10:00 p.m. Yes, all this is true. They even title their video “realistic day in the life of a college student” to emphasize its authenticity. They’ve successfully managed to fit 72 hours’ worth of energy into a 24-hour window.
Okay, but for real, no hate. This is the college student that I sometimes wish I was. So, here’s a piece of autofiction about the day in the life of a so-called “perfect” college student.
The alarm goes off at 6:00 a.m. and I jolt awake — never more ready to start my day. Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, I look out the window and see the sun just starting to rise. I execute a dramatic yawn and stretch my arms before making my bed and tip-toeing out the door — I don’t want to wake my snoozing roommates. Standing in front of the bathroom mirror, I tell myself with full honesty that I’m beautiful three times in my head. And after that, I do feel beautiful. Never better actually. I brush my teeth for three minutes exactly, making sure to get every millimeter of my pearly whites cleaned. I then wash my face and feel even more refreshed than I did before.
I return to my room to my still-sleeping roommates. It’s 6:10 a.m. I do an introspective 30-minute session of journaling at my desk, writing about my goals, dreams and aspirations. After changing into my gym fit that is a matching pastel set from Lululemon, I grab my bottle and head to the gym just as it’s opening. After an intense weight session followed by 15 minutes of cardio, I head back to my dorm and surprise surprise, my roommates are still sleeping. I take a quick shower before pulling on a hoodie and sweats — the quintessential college student fit. By 7.50 a.m., I’m heading out the door for my 8 a.m. class.
As I walk towards the glorious Benjamin Ide Wheeler lecture hall, I take in my surroundings and breathe in the fresh Berkeley air. Oh, I’m already dreading the day I’ll no longer be able to experience these moments when I graduate.The lecture hall is empty except for a few early birds like myself. When the professor strides in, my iPad is propped on my table with GoodNotes open and ready to go.
I cling onto every word, capturing them in the tip of my Apple Pencil and immortalizing them in my virtual notebook. After an inspiring lecture, I head to Doe Library (the most pretentious of them all) and begin the grind, making sure to keep hydrated while I’m at it. When the clock strikes 1 p.m., I’m famished and only Sweetgreen sounds appealing to me.
Staring through the glass window at the colorful ingredients, I opt for a build-your-own bowl: salmon for protein, pumpkin seeds for healthy fats and a bunch of spinach for fiber. I inhale this salad at a table with my friends before heading off to my next class: chemistry lab. During my four-hour lab session, my lab partner and I carefully mix chemicals and diligently record down our observations, discussing the implications and conclusions drawn from our data. Everything lines up perfectly.
When I finally finish my classes at 6 p.m., I head to the Doe Library once again to finish up my lab report. I turn it in on Gradescope just before the library closes at 9 p.m. By then, all of the dining halls are closed, so I pop by Top Dog as I’m walking up Durant Avenue and get an original Top Dog frankfurter. It is, quite possibly, the best thing I’ve ever tasted. When I get back to my dorm, I immediately take a nice warm shower, do a full night skincare routine and change into my PJs before climbing up into the comfort of my bed. I watch Netflix and slowly drift asleep…
Being a perfect college student is a paradox in itself. The only constants in my realistic daily routine are matcha … yeah no it’s literally only matcha. And the rest?
Depends on the vibes.