For many, going to college is a large milestone in life. Whether you are attending a rigorous program such as or you are likewise going to a competitive engineering program at UCSD, there are many stressors that can make college life difficult. These are some of the best habits you can maintain for a happier and healthier life while in college.
Form a Bond with a Mentor
When you enter college, it is an excellent opportunity to bond with someone who will help you through your college career, and even help give you direction in your future. If you go to a smaller school where professors are accessible, seek the mentorship of a professor or an older TA. Club leaders, managers, and coaches can also become excellent mentors throughout your college career. A good mentor is someone who wants to see you become successful. He or she is someone who has time to speak with you about your passions, give you advice in academics and in life, and guide you in the direction of your career and personal success. He or she may even become a colleague as you advance in your academics and life beyond the classroom.
Study in Small Chunks
As you begin as a freshman, it is easy to fall into the trap of all-nighters and cram-session style studying. However, these techniques have been proven to be some of the least effective of study techniques. Instead, take care to study early and often. One of the most difficult habits in college is to set a schedule. After all, part of college life is to get involved in the social scene and make friends that last long after college ends. However, there is no reason you can’t have a healthy dose of both. One way to achieve this is to study in small chunks. Your professor gives you a syllabus for a reason—with it you can plan well ahead of your exam and essay dates. Go over the material early and often. If you know you have an exam in a week, don’t wait until the last minute. Instead, reduce stress by finding time in your day or evening to study the material to improve your chances of success.
As mentioned above, all-nighters have become an obsolete study method. It is much healthier for your brain and body to get enough sleep. Generally, most people require about seven to eight hours of sleep, with some people requiring more and others requiring less. Sleep is essential not only for healing your body, but also for memory retention. While you sleep, your brain is processing information that it has retained throughout the day. This is why, for example, many people have reported that they have been able to solve problems while lucid dreaming. Studying for the exam lightly the night before is much better for test day, rather than cramming it all at once.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Unlimited cafeteria meals, late night trips to the taco stand, and movie nights filled with pints of ice cream sounds like a dream at first, but later it will wreak havoc on your body. Lack of a healthy diet will result in a poor metabolism, which will interfere with daily activities. Feel better by taking in a healthy amount of fats, proteins, vitamins, and minerals. Leave the junk food for special occasions, and watch yourself improve overtime. As you progress, you will find that your energy will rise, and many gastro-intestinal issues and inflammation will settle.
Seek Out a College Counselor
It’s important to make plans for your future. Meeting with a college counselor at least once a year to discuss your career options can be the wisest move you make in your four years on campus. Counselors can recommend applicable programs, and designate the prerequisites you must have to apply; for example, a college counselor could recommend expedited programs that could see you entering the work force sooner, like Gwynedd Mercy’s accelerated nursing program. Special programs like these may not hit the student’s radar otherwise, making their counselor’s advice invaluable. Counselors can then ensure said student is on track to reach their goals. As nursing programs tend to be competitive, a student will be better prepared to successfully apply. This works in a variety of disciplines, and students may find their career choices blossom after speaking to a counselor. Make it a priority to form a relationship with your appointed counselor—you never know what essential tidbits of information they might be able to provide.
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