Raise Self-Awareness: Personal Statisticsby Sarah Tang on Oct, 22 2012
With our busy student lives, it’s easy to lose track of how we spend time and money, to unconsciously build habits and to forget ourselves. A bit of daily reflection can clue you into these tendencies. While introspection takes some sitting down, you can easily keep track of yourself by collecting some quantifiable data. Statistics say a lot about a population, so why not an individual? Here are some ways to count:
1. Record how much money you spend
How much money do think you spend in a typical day? In a week? In a month? Compare that to how much you actually spend by keeping your receipts and tallying your spendings in an Excel sheet. You may be surprised how it adds up. At the end of the month take a look at what you spend your money on – food, social activities, clothes, technology, transportation – and what how much of that you actually needed. Also, take note of how often you borrow or loan money.
2. Discover your favorite words and phrases
What does your vocabulary say about you? Do you slip the F-word into every sentence in all various parts of speech, emotions, and circumstances? Do you overuse certain cliches – does every conclusion you make happen “at the end of the day.” Or is everything you hear what “she said;” or do you always need others to understand what you’re saying as you explain it, ”you know what mean?” What are your go-to phrases of sympathy (“I totally feel you”), of excitement (“OMG”), or indifference (“cool story”)? Listen to yourself as you talk to people, and if you do repeat things, you’ll know because you’ll get tired of hearing it.
I got into a popular core-conditioning PE class taught by instructor Toni Mar last semester and she had us keep a record of our meals, the estimated number of macro-nutrients per serving (fat, protein, and carbohydrates), and when and in what situation we ate (alone, with friends, in a rush, etc). I have never been so aware of my diet, and now I understand why this is a popular thing to do for serious dieters. But you don’t have to be a dieter to do this – you can use a food diary to make note of what foods you should stock up on, or to figure out what days you should probably pack a lunch so you don’t forget to eat in between classes, or to see if you really are what you eat.
4. Calculate your sleep: socialize: study ratio
Count the number of hours you spend doing each and see where your priorities lie. People say you can only pick two – which are your two? (Or are you a jedi…)
5. Count your habits, find your habitats.
How much time you spend on Facebook? In front of the mirror? On your phone? What short cuts do you take through campus? Which bathroom stalls do you frequent? Where do you normally sit in lecture? How many people do you say “hello” to everyday? How often do you jaywalk? How many times do you zone out in class? How often do you think about sex? (For guys it’s supposedly six seconds, but see if it’s true for yourself.) How many of your friends are majoring in humanities? When you discover a new favorite song, how many times do you play it on repeat? The questions are endless, and you can become a little more self-aware just by keeping tally, see for yourself!