Minimalism & College: Cutting Down Consumption

by Indiana Lee

College and minimalism don’t always go hand-in-hand. When most people think of the college experience, anything from tailgating and major sporting events to parties and campus events can come to mind. Needless to say, college is often a consumption factory. Even though most students are living in small dorms, they can’t seem to get enough “stuff”. 

It’s really no surprise that so many college students seem to be after more material possessions. There are over 300,000 items in the average American home, so of course, students are going to take that “excess” mindset with them wherever they go. 

But, making the switch to a minimalistic lifestyle can be more beneficial than most students realize. Minimalism in college is possible. It can help you to be more in tune with the way you learn, it can prepare you for the future, and it can help you to survive when classes, your social life, and career opportunities start to feel overwhelming. 

So, how can you practice minimalism in college, and what can you expect from it? 

How Minimalism Can Fuel Your Learning Style

When you get rid of the unnecessary things in your life, you’ll have more time to focus on what matters. You’ll also spend less time making decisions because your options will be clearer. That can be applied to small, everyday things, like what to wear for a night out. 

But, a minimalist mindset can also help you to learn more about yourself. In fact, it can help you to learn exactly how you learn. 

It’s less confusing than it seems. 

There are five educational learning theories that most educators recognize. These theories are used to determine how each student learns best. Maybe you haven’t given your learning style much thought until recently. Or, maybe you thought it was something it wasn’t. 

Clearing the clutter from your life can make it easier to see how you learn most effectively. The basic learning theories are

  • Cognitive learning
  • Behaviorism learning
  • Constructivism learning
  • Humanism learning
  • Connectivism learning

When you’ve decided to cut down on things like paper, books, and other unnecessary items, it can be worth it to talk to your lecturers about the lifestyle you’re trying to achieve. They can work with you to adjust their efforts to your learning style. For example, if you were a cognitive learner before, you might be more of a connectivist learner now, growing from the relationships and you form with others. When you take the initiative to discuss it with your teachers, they’re more likely to want to accommodate you. 

A Healthy Starting Point for Your Career

Minimalism can increase your productivity and help you to stay focused on whatever you’re doing. No matter which career you’re interested in, adopting a minimalist lifestyle can help you to achieve your goals faster. 

Nowhere is that as important as in the healthcare field. Practicing minimalism early on in your college career can prepare you for success in your finals, clinicals, and even choosing a specialty later on. You’ll have fewer distractions to worry about, and you can focus more time and energy on what you really want to do. There is a serious shortage of medical workers right now, even with the largest percentage ever of women in medical school. So, honing in on what you want to do with fewer distractions will help you reach your career goals sooner. 

Minimalism can help you to focus on almost any career. Even in the business world, your minimalistic lifestyle can help you to eliminate distractions, keep a clean workspace, and take a critical look at the tasks you have to tackle each day, so you can clear out the things that don’t matter and focus on the “meat” of your job. When you’re able to do that, you can get more meaningful projects done faster and without so much stress. That’s better for your mental health, of course. But, it also makes it more likely that you’ll move up your career ladder that much quicker. 

Avoiding the Collegiate Burnout

Overtaxing courseloads, social expectations, worries about the future, and other responsibilities are all major causes of burnout in college. Simply put, far too many students load up their proverbial plates with things that overwhelm them. As a result, it’s easy to feel burnt out in college. Some of the most common signs of burnout include: 

  • Constant exhaustion
  • Lack of motivation
  • Frustration
  • Suffering grades
  • You’re struggling to pay attention

Minimalism is a great way to fight back against burnout. Things like establishing a routine and clearing excess clutter from your life are both fantastic ways to eliminate stress. Adding a minimalistic mindset to those things will give you even more fuel to avoid feeling overwhelmed. You might find that you have more energy and more happiness. 

College is notorious for consumerism and consumption. But, those things don’t always lead down the path you want for yourself. If you’ve heard about minimalism but haven’t tried it for yourself, it’s the perfect time to start. Clear the excess from your life while you’re in college, and you can adopt healthy habits that can help you in your career and personal life for years to come.

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