College is undoubtedly a unique experience. For many people, it is their first time living away from home, and it’s their first time balancing all of the many responsibilities that come with adulthood, including school, work, spending time with friends and family, tending to their mental, emotional, and physical health, and balancing their finances, among others. It can definitely be challenging to adjust to that life and the obligations it brings. But the good news is that they’re not alone in their struggles. Not only can they take comfort in knowing that their friends are in the same situation, but they can take the advice of people who have gone through the same experience and learned what works and what doesn’t.
It’s been said that smart people learn from their own mistakes, and wise people learn from other people’s mistakes. There have been enough people who have gone to college and learned through trial and error the best ways to navigate the world of college that there is a decently-sized list of advice to incoming freshman. Here are a few of those tips and life hacks that college students might find useful.
Determine Your Priorities
Because there are so many things to worry about, it’s important for college students to take a moment to sit down and determine what is most important to them. If it’s physical fitness, they might need to sacrifice time with friends to regularly go to the gym. If, on the other hand, it’s friends, they’ll need to make room in their schedule to spend time with them. If you’re just starting college, take some time to determine which areas of your life are the most important and always be sure to focus on those first.
Focus on Your Wellness First
While you’re making your list of priorities, one of the most common mistakes that college students make is to sacrifice their own wellness for the sake of other things like good grades. Always make sure to take care of yourself first and worry about everything else later. Your mental, emotional, and physical health should always be a top priority. There are easy ways to practice good hygiene for all of those areas. Here are a few ideas:
- Make sure to get plenty of rest each night.
- Eat a well-balanced diet.
- Avoid energy drinks and caffeinated beverages. If you have to take one, consider a healthy version such as Get Rekt, the only cardiologist-approved energy drink available.
- Take some time every day to relax (no, scrolling through your phone doesn’t count as relaxing).
- Consider seeing a therapist or mental health professional. Many schools offer those services at a discounted rate.
- Be sure to do things that make you happy every day.
- Spend time with family and friends each week.
- Don’t try to take on more responsibilities than you can handle, and when you are struggling, get the help you need.
Learn How to Control Your Finances
One of the most important lessons college students learn is how to handle their finances. Financial responsibility is a skill that will serve you well your entire life, and there’s no better time to hone it than while in college. There are plenty of tips and tricks for how you can live large on a small budget, but what’s most important is making the effort to track spending habits, determine savings goals, and create and follow a budget to reach those goals.
One of the best ways to make college an enjoyable experience is to get involved in as many ways as you can. Attend sporting events, join clubs, and participate in school-sponsored activities. Not only will it be fun, but you will also expand your network of friends and professional references in the process.
Find the Balance
Much of college is trial and error. Maybe you make a list of priorities and realize that your list was inaccurate or not feasible with the time you have. Maybe you realize that your grades are suffering at the expense of your social life. In whichever situation you find yourself, it’s important that you find the balance between the things you need to do and the things you want to do and that you always remember to appreciate and enjoy the college experience.