School is back in session. As we head into mid-September, millions of young adults are already at or are heading back to college campuses to begin their courses for the academic year. The beginning of a new school year brings about a lot of emotions—from joy to anxiety—and also spurs many students to start thinking about how they will juggle their different obligations and activities.
Considering all of the pressure that college students face to perform well academically, it’s no wonder so many struggle to focus on their personal health and the health of their relationships. It’s no walk in the park, but investing your time and energy into self-care and your social health is the best way to ensure academic success.
Read on to find out the best tips for having the best back-to-school experience.
Keep your social life strong (but be careful with jungle juice)
You go to college to focus on your academic success, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore your social life. College is a fantastic place to meet people who may become lifelong friends. Your fellow students are experiencing many of the same struggles and victories you are during your college years, so take time to connect with them. When your campus has social functions, go to them. Talk to as many people as you can and take advantage of opportunities to learn from others and share your own experiences.
However, it’s also easy to get lost in the social experience and forget to stay safe. College can often be an exciting time of parties and other social functions, but you will also face important decisions, especially regarding alcohol. Make sure you know what goes into your cup, and be careful with jungle juice, a heavily concentrated mixture of different drinks that you often do not see getting made so you have no idea what goes into the concoction.
Focus on your immune system. And get flip flops!
Nothing will derail your week like dealing with an illness. While you might be able to get away with taking a couple of sick days from class during a quiet week on campus, trying to combat an illness leading up to a big project deadline or during finals week can take a major toll on your grades.
If you share a bathroom in your dorm, make sure you have flip flops with you to wear in the shower. You should also eat a nutrient-rich diet to keep your immune system in the best shape possible to ward off diseases and infections. Getting plenty of sleep will also boost your immune function and help you stay on top of your game. There are also a lot of helpful tips for better sleep if you’re struggling to get a good rest.
Master the college diet (and become a microwave master)
Almost everyone has heard of the “Freshman 15,” the notorious weight gain that many new students experience when they go to college. Weight gain can happen for many reasons, but college students usually gain weight because their diet changes for the worst when they leave home. Combine that with a lot of free food offered at both social and academic events, and it’s really easy to lose control.
Eating fast food, take out and processed food can lead to weight gain, and it also impairs mood and can decrease your academic performance. Do your best to stay nourished by looking into recipes that you can make with the appliances you have access to in your dorm. There are so many fun (and healthy) microwave recipes especially for college students. If you live close to home, you can eat some healthy food and save a bit of money by eating some of your meals at your parents’ house. Lastly, try to be in tune with your hunger so you aren’t consistently munching on something.
Asking for help is never a bad thing
At some point during your college experience, you are going to struggle to keep up. Whether you’re dealing with a family emergency or simply grappling with a confusing text book, there will be times when you have a hard time keeping up. When that happens, use the resources that are available to you, including your professors.
Learn to function at your worst
As a college student, not every day is going to be easy. You will have to learn how to go to class, study, finish assignments and take tests when you are at your worst physically and mentally. When you are sick, hungover, busy, stressed, frustrated, sad, angry or otherwise having a difficult time, make sure that you do as much as you can to retain focus on the task at hand.
During rough patches, cut out as many extra activities and obligations as you can, so that you can power through the tasks that are essential. Go easy on yourself by picking up some of your favorite food (there are some foods that are great for stress reduction), working on your assignments in the company of your family or friends and by rewarding yourself for completed tasks. Find ways to relax, even if for just a moment. If you can scrape through at your worst, you’ll have nothing to worry about when you’re at your best.
Focus on the important things
No matter how you’re feeling about your return to school, remember that college won’t last forever. Every moment you spend on campus gives you the opportunity to become the person you want to be and achieve the goals you’ve set for yourself. Keep your eyes on the prize and enjoy every great moment along the way!
Try these tips and let us know how your school year goes. Best of luck!