The time you spend as a college student is going to be a significant piece of your life’s story. While the studies and work you do in the classroom that will earn you your degree are arguably the most important piece of the puzzle it is important to recognize that fact that it is not the only piece. There will be elements outside the classroom that you need to focus on that will enrich your overall experience. Since the college experience is a unique and personal one there is no set plan to follow or checklist to work off to make it the best experience for you. A lot of self-discoveries will happen as you navigate this unchartered territory so while you cannot plan for things in exact detail what you can count on is a lot of change, growth, and transitions.
As of late, the subject of mental health has been a hot topic of conversations and it is important that the stigma surrounding it be lifted. The period you will spend in college can elicit many new emotions and situations that require your mental and emotional energy in new ways. Learning about how, and where, to get support to navigate these feelings is going to help you assimilate with as little growing pains as possible.
Prioritizing mental health on college campuses is at the top of mind for most major universities these days. Especially in the wake of the global pandemic, academics and faculty have a heightened awareness on the needs of the student body that are not exclusive to the classroom. If you do not already have a handle on how to manage your mental health, you can review a guide on the importance of mental health services on college campuses.
Telehealth is quickly becoming a top resource for students’ care management plans. Being able to access support networks virtually means that students are not limited by geography or traditional office hours when they seek help. Learning about the specifics of your university’s offerings should be a step in your plan to get acquainted with your school. Being locked and loaded with available support networks not only will help you mitigate a mental health crisis but encourage you to prioritize mental health as a part of your overall routine as a student.
A physical fitness routine is essential for your overall health and making this a priority in college is no exception to that rule. College provides many unique opportunities to focus on fitness. Check out intermural sports, workout groups or clubs, or classes offered at your campus rec center to see what options you must create a habit that you enjoy. Viewing physical activity as a means to keep your mind and body healthy as opposed to a chore or obligation will also help facilitate enjoyment.
There are benefits to enjoy because of a solid fitness routine that extend beyond the strength and appearance of your body. Regular exercise can improve brain function, increase the quality of your sleep, and aid in digestion. These are all necessary components of a successful collegiate experience. As your studies stay at the top of your list of concerns, these added benefits will support the quality of your educational habits.
Do not forget that college is a time that is also meant for fun. As with any period of life maintaining a balance between fun and responsibility is best but do not allow yourself to be convinced that college does not include a social life. This is a time to learn who you are becoming as a young adult and meet new people and experience new things. Communal living is a common way to experience a built-in social circle during this time. Campus living provides opportunities to bring students together to meet each other and share in their common experiences.
Larger ways to enjoy the social aspect of college can include school athletic teams, student government organizations, or even study abroad experiences with your peers. The benefits you will experience via a study abroad program will be with you long after your college experience is over. Not to mention a trip of this scale will never be as affordable as it will be as a college student booking through a study program as opposed to private travel.
Although this period is often synonymous with having no money, that does not mean that you should ignore the fact that the money that you do have needs to be managed. Developing a budget and money management skills at this stage of life is a great way to create habits and get to know yourself regarding personal finance when you have minimal monetary obligations. Tracking expenses is a great way to become familiar with exactly where your money is going so that you can appropriate it into the proper categories and limit the level of stress caused by finances during college.