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Healthy Habits for First-Year Students: Part One

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The transition from high school to college or university can be very exciting. However, it can also be challenging, especially for students who decide to study far away from home. We know that leaving one’s comfort zone can make for quite an adjustment, so we’ve put together a list of healthy habits that first-year students should adopt to ensure that they remain happy, healthy, and successful. Check our part one below!

Diet

Not having homecooked meals every day can certainly be a change. Typically, students with meal plans will eat at on-campus cafeterias. However, it is common for students to indulge and try out new eateries, too. Though class times may sometimes interfere with regularly scheduled mealtimes, it is important to make healthy choices, which include eating three meals a day (especially breakfast!) and consuming plenty of fruits, vegetables, protein, and vitamins. Drink a lot of water, limit your junk food intake, and remember to pack nutritious snacks for those long days of classes and studying on campus. Students who struggle with eating well while living in residence can work with nutritionists on campus to learn how to eat better.

Exercise

A healthy body is key to a healthy, productive mind. We recognize that school, particularly in the first year of undergraduate study, can be quite busy, but we recommend that all students create a timetable that allows for daily exercise. Fitness is critical and is proven to help students reduce stress, concentrate more, build strength and immunity, and regulate their sleep schedule. Go to the gym, do yoga, take a walk or an exercise class, or go for a swim, bike ride, hike, or run. Working out with a roommate or friend is a great way to keep each other motivated! For those seeking more organized activities, consider joining a sports team or club, intramural competition, or recreational league.  

Sleep

Students entering first-year college or university can usually create their own course timetables. To accommodate students’ schedules and preferences, classes are usually offered throughout the week at various times, from early morning to late evening. Regardless of when students choose to attend a class, it is important that they get enough sleep to reduce fatigue and stress. Aim for eight hours per night (with a well-deserved Netflix nap in the day!) and try to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. We know that this will not be possible each day (especially during exam seasons), but the stronger your routine, the healthier you will feel. That crunch-time all-nighter should be a last resort! 

Stay tuned next week for part two of our Healthy Habits series.

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