College is an exciting opportunity to take interesting classes, branch out, and learn more about yourself as a person. Though there are plenty of benefits in living more independently, many students can feel overwhelmed at the high expectations of college academics. This time in your life shouldn’t be about accepting stress, but rather, should be about developing reliable habits that will help you to have the best possible experience. Here are 5 tips that any college student can easily incorporate into their routines each week.
Getting a planner should be one of the first things on your to do list. In a planner, you can more intentionally keep track of test dates, organize homework per class, and ensure that you’re attending classes at the right times. Planners can also be helpful for reminders of social activities, like remembering to grab coffee with friends before class or making a note of exciting events on campus. There is not one best way to organize, as everyone’s preferences and schedules are different, but it is important to get into the habit of organizing everything you need to be successful because it takes the pressure off of you to figure it all out from memory. The beauty of technology also allows for people to sync their schedules in an online calendar, for those of you planning on the go! With so many options available, there is no reason to not proactively manage your stress through intentional organization.
Everyone has different schedules and responsibilities, which can easily overwhelm those that are unprepared. Getting into a routine is such an easy and helpful way to be more in control of your day to day and, eventually, your long-term plans. Something as simple as waking up at the same time each day and giving yourself time to ease into your day rather than rushing around so you’re not late to class will do wonders for your mental health. Alternatively, your routine could be as simple as dedicating yourself to going to the gym directly after class so you can develop the habit and meet your goals. Whatever your goals might be, it will ease your mind to get set with a proper routine (and mindset) that will get you there. Don’t forget to schedule specific times to relax, too!
There is no reason why you should be running on fumes and getting minimal sleep per night just to succeed in college. Good studying habits look different per class and per student, but the easiest way to ensure you do well is, surprisingly, to maintain a good relationship with your professor(s). Don’t be afraid to ask for help. This networking can be helpful if you need extra support, feedback, or simply advice. Of course, taking good notes, studying, and paying attention in class are also critical elements, but people typically neglect the very helpful resource of developing a relationship with the person teaching the actual content. Having a positive relationship can help you to get the support you need with difficult concepts or assignments, which can largely contribute to your overall experience in the class. Networking is also a fundamental skill that will help you in a lot of aspects of your life. Long story short, don’t overlook the benefits of interpersonal skills!
You will inevitably have to study at some point during your college career. There are many parts to consider here, but one of the most important is location, location, location. Avoid studying in bed, at home if possible, or in a space full of distractions. It is very unlikely that you will get efficient studying done in the middle of a celebration or on a busy part of campus; instead, aim to find intentional spaces that fuel your motivation and capacity to absorb critical information. Libraries, tech centers, or even empty classrooms can often function as excellent resources for students to really focus and be productive with their time. It is equally as critical to not study in places that should be relaxing, like at home or in bed, because it makes it that much more difficult to truly relax in those spaces. Though everyone’s preferences vary, finding an effective study space will ensure that your time is spent well rather than wasting your time through too many unnecessary distractions.
So many people will say that they worked consistently hard throughout college and that you have to do the same thing or you’ll fail. The truth, though, is that people aren’t robots and are not structured to work 24/7 nonstop. Not well, anyway. One of the most important habits to have in college is knowing when to take a break and decompress. Hanging out with friends, joining in fun school events, or even just taking a nap are all excellent ways to relax and take a necessary break from the hectic nature of college. There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself because, without it, you will feel overwhelmed, overworked, and unhappy. You deserve so much better than that. Even if you can only squeeze in a few minutes at a time, make sure to completely disconnect from responsibilities so your brain can refresh and you can get that second wind to power through everything else you need to do.
College is such an incredible time in people’s lives for so many different reasons. There is not one size fits all approach because people require different things and experiences to feel fulfilled, which is completely okay. Regardless of schedule, social preferences, or responsibilities, everyone should aim to cultivate and maintain these 5 habits to have a better (and less stressful) overall experience. One step at a time. You got this!