So now you are a student living far away from home and having to survive in another city.
You are proud of yourself to start an adult life.
You are excited to meet new people and face challenges.
But you are also scared just to think you have to handle it all alone.
I know this exact feeling.
Cross country moving when you are a kid just out of high school is scary enough.
I am in my final year at York University in Toronto now. I have moved twice during my college years trying to find the best place. I think my first year was the hardest when I was moving Toronto 4 years ago, I did not have many options to choose from and had to agree to an apartment in a busy street in North York. There was a family with a toddler and a dog upstairs, not awfully noisy, but drove me crazy sometimes because I could not concentrate.
When I am at home and relaxed watching TV or listening to music, noises coming from the street did not bother me. But there comes a time when you need to sit down and concentrate on your studies, you have to tackle the noise problem. Here are some ideas that I would like to share.
Get noise-canceling devices
I never knew there is such a thing as noise-canceling earphones. I thought that the principal difference between many devices is just the quality of the sound. One of my classmates told me about this type of headphones that completely eliminate the noise and allow you to do your studies in peace and quiet. It was a great idea and I chose a wireless Bluetooth pair that allowed me to move around my apartment while listening to a lecture or an audiobook.
I also use noise-reduction earplugs made of silicone. I find those very helpful at times when you are extremely sensitive to noise. Those are a new type of earplugs, different from those squishy foam earplugs that you can get in every pharmacy. They look somewhat like simple earphones, with a silicone tip that goes into your ear.
Silicone earplugs are soft, but, unlike foam earplugs, they do not irritate the skin and they do not stick out. You do not have to push them deeper into your ear, and you can hardly feel it when you wear them.
Rearrange your furniture
When I moved into that first apartment, there was a sofa near the wall and a desk near the window. I needed a quieter space for my studies. So I decided to move things around and hired a couple of helpers from one of the Toronto moving companies. Because those pieces of furniture were quite bulky. The desk was put near the wall and the sofa was put by the window. I have decorated the wall in my study corner with a board of hexagonal tiles made of the felt because soft materials absorb the noise. My mom also recommended adding blackout curtains, because they also act as a sound-proofing material.
Adjust your daily regime
I think of myself as being a night person. I enjoy working and studying quietly after dark and I am OK with the light noise coming from the street like traffic or people talking. The family with the kid living upstairs, they were nice and all that, but they were morning people, obviously. The kid would not sleep as early as 5 in the morning and I could hear him clattering with his plastic toys. When they started their coffee machine every morning, it kind of resonated down the wall to my apartment. I thought there was nothing they could do about keeping the child from running or crying in the morning. With each day I started to go to bed earlier and rising earlier as well until I managed to shift my daily regime by 2 hours.
Change your attitude
What I really like about my university is that they care so much about the students’ mental health. There is always someone you can talk to and there are mental health sessions organized for the students every month. I learned some great techniques helping to relax the mind. When you program your mind to ignore the noise, you do not let yourself react to sounds negatively. Everybody has their issues to deal with, and having peace of mind helps not to be affected by problems.
Generally speaking, we all make noise, and I am not the exception. When you live in close proximity to other people, there will be noise, of course. Your activities just fall at a different time of the day. For most things, I just try not to get worked up over it.
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