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 two below!
With thousands of students sharing communal spaces, it is very easy for illnesses, including viruses, colds, and flus to spread. Though mask mandates and social distancing restrictions may become less common, it is important that students continue to adopt hygienic practices to limit the circulation of any illnesses. If you are sick, stay home! Do not go to class and risk infecting others. If possible, access the course content online or try to get the lesson’s notes from a friend or classmate. In addition to following your school’s protocols, wash your hands frequently, avoid sharing beverages, wear flip-flops in a shared shower, avoid touching your nose, eyes, or mouth, stay hydrated, and visit a doctor if symptoms intensify or linger, and get vaccinated as recommended.
The jump from high school to university can be significant. In addition to academics, many students will have other responsibilities, including working part-time or competing for a sports team. At the post-secondary level, stress is inevitable, but there are ways to manage it so that you can feel physically and mentally healthy. Create goals and a daily routine that includes work and study hours. Keep an organized to-do list, prioritize tasks that have pressing deadlines and/or will require the most work, give yourself short breaks throughout the day, and seek assistance when needed. Time management is a learned skill that comes with a lot of practice, so it is natural to feel overwhelmed at times. Remember to chip away at your workload consistently and give yourself plenty of time to finish your tasks. Trust us: procrastinating only makes the process worse!
Living in a new environment, meeting new people, and juggling multiple responsibilities are the defining characteristics of the first-year experience. Adjustments, however, are complicated, and can sometimes lead to us feeling unwell or not quite like ourselves. If you are starting to feel homesick, reach out to someone from home; keep in touch with family and friends, who can often provide a sense of comfort. If you have trouble fitting in right away or have not yet found your crowd, consider getting involved on campus, seeking volunteer opportunities, introducing yourself to your classmates, joining a student club, or attending a social mixer. Ultimately, preparing for change is not the same as enduring it. It is critical to recognize signs of depression or mental exhaustion and to seek professional help right away. All schools offer free, on-campus mental health services and resources. You are never alone.
Our Educational Consultants, many of whom are parents and teachers, want you to have a meaningful, enjoyable, and safe time during your first year of post-secondary study. If you have any questions about campus cultures, what first-year college and university might look like, and how to immerse yourself in the post-secondary experience, come chat with any of our Consultants!