What to do when you have too much free time

Authored by:
Caitlin W.

When I’m at Indiana University I’m the girl who is taking way too many credits, is heavily involved in two or three clubs on campus, is a member of a sorority, works, and still tries to have somewhat of a social life. I’m always moving and doing something because the more things I have going on, the more productive I am. Here in Iringa however, I have classes and some activities on the weekends. That’s pretty much it. So I’ve had to learn how to deal with the drastic increase in free time. Here’s what has helped keep me busy:

  • Exploring Iringa on foot. It’s a great town for wandering, and the purple flowering trees here make everything so much more beautiful. The market is also a fun place to walk around. You’ll find so many little random things, from clothing pins, to mangos, to LD lights. The more you walk around and explore the more comfortable you get with your surroundings, which is also a big plus. 
  • Going for a runs. Some of the backroads in Iringa go on forever, and the less busy they are, the less dust you’ll get sprayed in your face. For those of you who find it hard to just go for a run on backroads--don’t worry, I am also that person--there is a dirt track that you can also run on that’s about a fifteen-minute walk from our campus. Running alone is pretty safe during the day, but you obviously need to use your best judgement. I personally enjoy running with someone, because it helps me push myself.
  • Staying active with sports. Along the same exercising-vein, participating in sports here is also fun, if that’s up your alley. There is a group of people from around the world that play pick up touch rugby on Wednesday nights. Don’t worry if you’ve never played before-- I certainly hadn’t! Everyone is super friendly and willing to show you the ropes and help you learn. I also play soccer with some Tanzanians once or twice a week, and one of my other friends on this program started an ultimate Frisbee game on Thursday nights.
  • Watching netflix. If it wasn’t your go-to before, it will be your default go-to now. Sometimes it’s nice to curl up with a movie or TV show and some friends with some popcorn (bought from the nice lady down the street) and just chill out for a little. It also helps, or doesn’t I guess depending on your point of view, that the Netflix viewing options in Tanzania are really awesome. Reading is also a nice way to fill up your time if you enjoy books more than movies. 
  • Hanging out in cafés. Something that helps me is just to go sit and do little things like read or do my homework in public places, like Neema Craft or The Coffee Shop (yes, it’s actually named The Coffee Shop). I found that it’s really easy to just sit in my room and do nothing for hours which makes me feel ironically even worse. So just being around people, even if I’m not interacting or engaging with them can makes me feel better and less isolated. 

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