Undergrad is a crash course in being old enough to do what you want, but wise enough to do what’s best. It’s fun and exciting. It’s a great time to meet different people and experience fresh things. It’s freedom and growing up and almost adulthood. It’s the perfect time to pick up a bevy of new habits; the hard part is making sure a few of them are good.
The habits you create now will carry you through adulthood. You won’t make the right decision every time, but there are a few things you can do to ease the process of being in a new, sometimes unfamiliar, often overwhelming place, whether it’s college, your first job, or simply, life.
Be present. Be vocal. Be organized.
Going to class is the simplest (but most difficult) way to be successful in college. Professors often have optional attendance policies and late nights don’t couple well with early mornings, but you need to go. Go and teach yourself to enjoy going. It’s why you’re there after all!
Participating in class discussions is a great way to meet new people, reinforce materials you haven’t quite grasped, and earn easy points on the days when you’re professor is feeling nice.
And while you’re there, take good notes. You’ll need them.
Keep you in mind.
Every few weeks or so during undergrad I’d have a personal holiday; put everything stressful or strenuous aside for a day of just being. I’d light candles and take long showers, take myself to see a movie in the middle of the day, or spend hours in the gardens with a book that wasn’t on any required reading list. I did whatever I needed to completely let go and it kept me sane.
It is easy to lose sight of yourself and your well-being in the sea of classes, group meetings, and late nights partying, but it doesn’t take much to be self-aware. Listen to your body. If you need a break, take one. Your mental health is as important as maintaining your physical health. Your emotions matter! Keep sight of them and give yourself the opportunity to reconnect with them regularly.
Drink less alcohol. Eat veggies. Sleep.
It’s easy to put health conscientiousness to the side once your parents aren’t over your shoulder reminding you to eat well, but it’ll be a hard habit to undo. Trying to cook more often than not and drinking more water than alcohol will pay off in the long run.
College towns are often synonymous with cheap: cheap alcohol, cheap food. It’s often hot, greasy, delicious, and absolutely terrible for your body. I’m not saying stave off pizza, tacos, and beer permanently, but find a balance by trying new, healthier options. You’ll find that the healthy choices can be not only equally as tasty, but also a little nicer to your waistline.
And go to bed. Everything else in life comes to a screeching halt if you don’t sleep.
Your family misses you. Take a few minutes every few days to let Mom know you’re alive. It’ll ease her worries and give you a chance to hear a familiar, loving voice in the process. And it’ll make calling home for grocery money a lot less awkward.
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You’re probably paying a lot of money to attend college. It’s the perfect time to pick up some good, new habits that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.
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