Newbie Noelle: How I Incorporate New, Fun Challenges into my Week


Noelle Grimm

Health and Wellness Task: Take at least a 10 minute mental health break each day. 

Pre-Task Thoughts: 

Whenever I receive a new assignment, I write the due date in my planner and make sure to set aside time for myself to complete it before the deadline. Why should my mental health be less prioritized than my assignments? It shouldn’t!

10 minutes may not seem like much, but it goes a long way in matters of mental health. I want to make sure these breaks are uninterrupted by distractions, most importantly social media. My mental health breaks can include anything other than social media, depending on my mood and how much time I have to relax. Hopefully, they’ll reduce my stress during this week of midterms. 

Post-Task Thoughts: 

I took a lot of naps this week because a 10 minute power nap was really all I had time to do. I did end up going home for the weekend and got to spend some quality time with my family and my dog, which did wonders for my mental health. 

In order from left to right: My sister, Maddy; me; and my dog, Jewels. 

My first day back home, I had a hair appointment, which quickly turned into a therapy session with my hair stylist. She’s a family friend and a great listener. It felt nice to rant for a while while also getting a new haircut!

In addition to spending time back home, I indulged in a few reading breaks. I recently ordered the “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” series upon recommendation from my friend, Maddie, and I’ve been trying to read them during these 10 minute breaks. I loved the first movie and I have to say that the books are even more enjoyable so far. I found all three books on Amazon for a great deal, and the collection fits perfectly on my shelf! 

Overall, these mental breaks were very helpful in this stressful, midterm-filled week. I plan on getting into the habit of taking more breaks like these to manage my stress levels. 

Mental health should be every student’s priority, but it often gets pushed aside in order to make time for assignments and meeting deadlines. Even if all you have time for is a short 10 minutes of unwinding, it will go a long way in making you feel less overwhelmed. This is non-negotiable: Take a break!!

Why Not? Task: Explore the smoothie menu at Munchie’s Market.

Pre-Task Thoughts: 

I drink too many smoothies, but I always go for the same combination. Similar to my Starbucks task for my first post, I want to go through the smoothie menu at Munchie’s Market and try all the possible combinations I can. 

At Munchies, you have the option to pick your base (milk, juice, etc.), your choice of two fruits, and a mix-in (cocoa powder, peanut butter, or honey). I’m looking forward to experimenting with the different mix-ins, since I usually don’t put any in my smoothie. 

Post-Task Thoughts: 

I tried as many different combinations that I could think of, but I will admit I am not a kale person. That was the one option that I just could not force myself to try. I’ve narrowed down all of the smoothies I drank to my top three favorites of the week, and all of them were entirely new to me, which is exciting. 

My Top Choice: Almond milk base with mango, banana and a honey mix-in. 

I’ve never tried a mango on its own, but I have to say that it paired well with banana. This was by far the most refreshing smoothie of the week. I highly recommend the honey mix-in for a little extra sweetness. 

My Second Favorite: Almond milk base with banana, blueberry and a honey mix-in. 

I had tried this fruit combination before, but with a 2% milk base and no mix-ins. There’s just something about almond milk that completely transforms a smoothie. It lightens the formula slightly, but in no way is the consistency too watery.

My Final Favorite: Almond milk base with strawberry, blueberry and a honey mix-in. 

Although I did try the other mix-in options, honey always turned out to be my favorite. The cocoa powder can be overpowering and peanut butter’s texture tasted too grainy for my liking; honey, on the other hand, goes down like silk. The only difference with this drink and my second favorite choice was the substitution of strawberry, but both options were great picks. 

Smoothies have easily become my favorite snack, and I’m fortunate enough to have my dorm situated very close to Munchie’s Market!

Mindfulness Task: Spend 15 minutes reviewing French on Duolingo each day.

Pre-Task Thoughts: 

I took four years of French in high school, but I hate to admit that I have forgotten most of the language. I still randomly say little French sayings that I remember. My dog has many nicknames in French. Among one of my favorites is “Mon petit bijou,” which translates to “My little Jewel.” 

I’m hoping this task will help to jog my memory of all the aspects of the French language I have forgotten, and maybe I can discover even more nicknames for Jewels. Your dog can never have too many pet names. 

Post-Task Thoughts: 

Even on the days I was swept up by all my other assignments, that pesky little Duolingo owl reminded me to keep up with my French lessons. Jumping back into the language wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. Since I’m still reviewing the basics, I remembered most of the material. 

After just one week, I managed to complete two more checkpoints on the app. The app introduced a new category which allows you to read short stories and I thought this was a great way to test my skills aside from reviewing the same few sentences repeatedly. 

I had forgotten how much I enjoy learning this language and I think doing just 15 minutes of practice each day is a great start to reaching the level of fluency I had two years ago.