Growing up, many of us were told the importance of keeping a routine. We became aware that routines provide structure and expectation that set our days, weeks, months, and years up for success. Go to bed at the same time, wake up at the same time. Eat dinner at a reasonable hour. Shower. Brush our teeth. Floss. Read a book. And finally tuck into bed — preferably early. These routines were potentially strongly encouraged — or may I say enforced — by our parents, babysitters, caregivers, or others. These routines are the core of our day. But moving into high school and more currently, college, these broader routine “enforcements” are absent. Now that we are all assumed adults, we get to make our own routines. Or not. Bates College, no parents!
I am a very routine person. I like to have my morning coffee, find my friends in commons, do work in the library and spend time with my friends. The Bates routine is different depending on the semester. Freshmen year, sleep was high on the priority list. Sophomore year I found myself in Le Ronj on a daily, while junior year I found new spots to do work. The first two weeks of the semester often leave us needing a reminder of what a meaningful Bates routine looks like.
While this may look different for all students, I have included some routine reminders that encompass a Bates week. Whether you like to stay busy or keep your days open, some type of structure is reportedly important for success. Having a routine at Bates helps ensure that we can seamlessly fit everything we want or need into a day. They make us more efficient, creating good habits while finding the potential to break bad habits, help us make the most of our days, and most importantly helps us achieve our goals.
A foundation of the Bates routine is meals! Commons! The 7:00 am commons crew is majority made up of people who find the most productive time of day is in the mornings. Eggs to order with no line, fresh pastries from the bakery, and tables to yourself. As more of the morning Commons crew files in, the lines grow longer and we can be as social, or as studious as we want. Upstairs commons offers a space where we can sit from breakfast until lunch almost completely undisturbed. The post-8am commons crew eventually files in at 9:30 in need of recovery from their first class of the day. Noon lunch is similar yet overwhelming. Meals also provide an opportunity to spend time with our friends, teammates, and classmates.
What we do between these meal times is an array of activity. We go to class which also consumes a great deal of structure — whether or not we want it. The homework and assignments that follow is where we can establish more choice. Find your favorite study space! These are a huge part of the Bates routine. Study options cater toward nearly all types of studiers for all kinds of assignments. The first floor and basement of the Library are often more of a social scene throughout the day, while the second and third floors are filled with intense productivity. If you’re not one for the library, the options are wide — PGill, designated study rooms, Le Ronj, a common space in the dorms, personal desks — the list could go on. A personal favorite is wandering to Le Ronj and settling into study with a cup of Swedish Fish and a “Dollar Chai” on Wednesday nights.
This list of routines is not to forget what we do to unload our busy day. Maybe we look forward to taking a spin class, going to the gym, watching Netflix, hanging out with friends, attending a Bates event, napping, meeting up with clubs and sports, going to our job, or getting off campus! Take the time to care for yourself — whatever that means for you.
Finding a balance of work and play is a root solution for avoiding extreme stress and finding joy on this wonderful campus. While college can be stressful, incredibly busy, and overwhelming; it can also be grounding, FUN, and incredibly gratifying. The value of routines that filled our days living at home lets us be creative in the way we structure our precious days at Bates.