I believe I have finalized my weekly and day to day schedule for my time abroad! This week I attended all my classes, met all of my professors, and even made new acquaintances from my classrooms and around campus (as I am writing this, a peer approached me to sell homemade brownies and gave me a warm welcome to Mérida). Managing my time here has quickly shown to be very different and new compared to how I manage my time in the US. Back home, I have 2-3 on campus jobs and a handful of extracurricular activities so my best friend is Google Calendar. I have grown with and established the mentality that time efficiency is the best thing for productivity and that passive “wasted time” will bring me complications further down the week. My first 15 days here, however, have certainly clashed with this belief though, and I am grateful for that. Here, my idea of “time efficiency” does not hold because I cannot sleep late and wake up 20 minutes before class like I do at Pomona because to get to the university on time, I must leave an hour early. At rush hour, the buses are packed and sometimes don’t stop for you simply because there is no more space inside. To avoid this issue, a couple of IFSA peers and I take turns ordering an Uber for the early morning commutes. Commuting back also takes about an hour, but because I am not rushed to get home, I return on the bus (camión). At Pomona, I would have used that time to do a reading, clean my room, or work out. Here I enjoy the ride, distract myself with the view, and talk to my IFSA peers instead. This has been good for my mental health because I don’t feel as drained by the time I get home. In fact, I finish my homework and sleep before midnight every day, something that doesn’t happen at Pomona. But at the same time, I am up at 6am a couple days a week. Although early morning routines are something that I was used to in high school, I am still learning what works best to make me feel ready to take on the day.
My week looks like the following: on Mondays and Wednesdays I have 2 classes at UADY, Literature of Native Peoples of America 16th to 18th century and Whiteness and Mestizaje in Mexico — I am on campus from 11:30am to 4pm. Tuesdays and Thursdays I have 2 classes at UADY, Contemporary Social Issues of México and Yucatán and Medical Anthropology from 8am until 2pm, with a 2 hour break in between. In the afternoon around 6pm, I take a class at IFSA called Exploring Yucatán: Community and Culture. After that class, my IFSA peers and I grab a scoop or shake at Heladería Punto 25 and talk about how our weeks have been like. In other words, instead of stressing out about not being “productive,” I enjoy every activity and moment here in the Yucatán because that is, in itself, productive — it is a kind of social and personal productivity that I believe everyone should strive for.