The first few weeks of college or university can be a bit of a whirlwind. New people, classes, professors and routines conspire with long line ups and getting lost to completely fill up your days. You don't really have time to process. Transition seems to happen organically: I'm here, I'm at my class, I am chanting weird songs with my floor mates, I am commuting from home like a boss. Everything is great.
But what happens when the roar starts to dim and you need to knuckle down, face the daily grind and try your hand at adulting? This is when the overwhelm can kick in. How do people eat healthy meals and work their part time jobs and study and meet new people and actually get to class on time?
The great thing about all the campuses we visit is that they have built in resources (online or in person) to help you navigate your first year (and beyond!). And they are free!
- Study: Almost all college and university campuses have on-site assistance, with workshops, tutoring services or one-on-one help with study strategies, learning techniques, tips to focus and more. Visit your own college or university website and search academic services and you will find valuable resources that will help you adapt to new expectations and workload. Don't wait until a critical moment – access these free resources now and get ahead of the curve.
- Exercise: Studies show that exercise is linked to better grades. Physical activity helps boost concentration, happiness, energy and stamina. So regularly making time to hit the gym (many campuses have a gym membership included in the tuition fee), going for a walk or taking a yoga class is a great way to transition into student life. The University of Windsor totally up leveled this concept and have introduced stationary study bikes to the Leddy Library, allowing students to exercise mind and body at the same time. If you don't have this option available to you, a cool mind/body study hack is to do push ups, crunches or weight bearing exercises after a block of study time (so by the hour or when a task is accomplished, for example).
- Nutrition: Eating healthy is important to student success. If you've got a OneCard, use it for nutritious options more often than not and actually take the time to stop and refuel. If you want to be brave and cook yourself, most college and university campuses offer nutrition and cooking resources online or via workshops.
What else do you have for me? So you are testing the waters and accessing resources and still feel a bit wobbly? Visit on-site resources like UTSC's Health and Wellness Centre for counselling and health and wellness support all in one location. If you don't have an on-site option (or prefer to check things out online first), there are some excellent resources for student stress, depression and anxiety. The thing to remember is to avoid behaviours (excessive drinking, gambling or going out too often for example) that are a distraction and seem to initially help…because in the long run, if you spend more time and money doing these things, it can negatively impact your life.
And don’t forget that the Thanksgiving weekend is coming up so you’ll have time to kick back for a few extra days!