I’ve been an academic librarian for ten years now and although a lot of things have changed in that time frame, one thing remains consistent year after year : stress.
I don’t know if all of the professors collaborate to make sure that all of the big assignments are due during the week between Thanksgiving and finals or if it is just an unfortunate coincidence. Either way, this time of year can be really tough for college students.
Since many students practically live in the library while they study and write papers, I thought it would be nice to leave a little encouragement around for them by making “study mugs.”
A study mug is a simple concept. Get an inexpensive mug at your local dollar store and fill it with treats. You don’t have to spend a lot of money on the treats either. College students are usually pretty grateful for any type of snacks!
My mug is going to have a banana, a snack bar, a few suckers, tea, and hot chocolate in it. All of these are portable, allergy-friendly snacks that don’t require refrigeration or anything special to consume them (with the exception of hot water). Try to include at least one fruit or vegetable along with a few sugary treats since some students are health-conscious and don’t eat sweets. Other good options include peppermints and packs of gum since both of those items can help improve concentration and boost memory.
Once you’ve gotten all of your supplies, get ready for the toughest part – arranging them in the mug. This can be extremely tricky since you want to make sure that everything fits in the mug. It will take patience, skill, and trial and error.
Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit!
The main thing to remember is to make sure that you don’t squish anything. Your kindness might not be appreciated if there is banana goo all over everything inside of the mug!
Since I’m pretty dorky, I like to include a little note with each mug. This is my latest creation:
(At least this is an anonymous RAK. If the students don’t like the little poem, I’ll act like I’ve never seen it. If they really like it, then I’ll take credit in a split second. That’s how I operate!)
Once you’ve created a few mugs and printed out your notes, it’s time to hide them! Since I work in the library, I’m going to hide mine throughout the library in different study rooms and at some of the individual study tables. I also have an advantage of being able to hide them when the building is closed so I won’t be discovered. If you plan to do this at your local college, talk to a librarian or an administrator first about if it’s possible. Chances are, they will be happy to help you with your mission!
If you are not able to do this at a college, try a place that students frequent, such as a coffee shop. In that case, you may want to have a mug with a gift card good for a drink. Be creative!
College students can be an overlooked group when it comes to random acts of kindness. If it’s been a while since you’ve been to college, it’s easy to forget how stressful life can be. You’re adjusting to a new environment, and you’re responsible for so much more than you were in high school These mugs may not make the difference between a student passing or failing an exam, but hopefully they can bring a little brightness and cheer to the recipient’s day!
More Random Acts of Kindness
If you want even more ideas, check out this post with over 200 ideas, Random Acts of Kindness series.