Thursday, July 23, 2015

Livin' La Vida Loca (aka being a college student) Part 2

Hello again, lovelies!
Whether you're a returning student or an incoming freshman, the time is coming. 
The time of late nights (or early mornings, I guess you could say), papers, and Finals Week--but never fear! I've got some tips and advice to help you survive this upcoming year. 
So, without further ado, let's get into it!
For a lot of students college is about a month away, so I figured I'd go ahead an wrap up my "college prep" post. Here, I talk about  how your mindset needs to shift in order for you to succeed in college

Today though, I'd like to talk about part of college that caught me by surprise.
No, it wasn't the dining hall food, and it wasn't living with a roommate that I had never met before. (Although, living with someone new can be pretty daunting. Let me know if you would like to see an advice post about that subject!)

There is a certain expectation that is held for college students and if you're not careful it can consume not only your physical health, but your mental health as well. All jokes aside, I hope to inform you so that you feel prepared for the upcoming school year!

Stress and Workload 
Alright, so I know you've heard your teachers and family members say things like, "You're in the 'big leagues' now!" or "Now ________, this isn't going to be like high school!" and for the most part, they are correct. 

I guess I knew that it would be difficult, or that I would have to discipline myself  far more than I did in high school...but it didn't truly click until I was about two or three months into Spring Semester. 

Once the late nights start catching up to you and the caffeine stops working, it's hard to truly recognize when you are becoming run down. (This is where I really began to appreciate the friends and  I had surrounded myself with. Sometimes you just need someone to tell you to go take a nap!) I began feeling miserable, I was getting sick more often, and I was grumpy a lot of the time--which isn't in my nature and it frustrated me that I didn't feel like myself. But I began to realize there were things in my schedule that needed to change in order for me to function properly. Here are some tips to help you stay healthy all semester long! 

Ways to Combat Stress!
These are things that I didn't do enough Freshman year that I would like to share with you. By doing these things, you will ensure that your focus stays centered and that you can put your best foot forward in every class and meeting! 

1. Journal- Keep track of your year! This is an exciting time in your life, and even though there will be times when you feel low, it is very important to write how you feel. When you write down your feelings it gives your brain a chance to process what you're going through, therefore allowing you to conquer those feelings faster! 

Even if journaling isn't really your "thing", there are many other ways to document your life. 
  • Make an Instagram account and call it "yourname365" (ex: desirée365) and everyday post one picture to sum up your day! When you look back at these pictures, it will allow you to see how far you've come! 
  • Put a jar on your dorm room desk, and everyday on a slip of paper write down one good thing, one bad thing, and one accomplishment you achieved. Then, put it in the jar! At the end of the year, you'll have so many memories. 

2. Exercise- I'm going to be honest--I didn't exercise nearly as much as I should have last school year. I did manage to avoid the Freshman 15, but that doesn't mean I was healthy! I'm sure you all know that exercise does so much more than keep you in shape. It's not only good for your body, but also your mind as well. It helps you release stress in a healthy and natural way. Plus, it can be very fun! I do enjoy working out, but for me getting myself to the gym is half of the struggle

If you also have this problem, here's what I plan to do for this semester--put it in my schedule. I'm not going to stress the importance of a planner here, but this is how I found it best to not give myself any excuses to not work out!  If I blocked off an hour in my schedule specifically to work out, then I had no choice. 

3. Eat Right- This is another thing that I totally failed at Freshman year. What you eat is what you produce! I won't hound too much on this subject, but if you can avoid unhealthy foods do so. Your moods will improve and you will feel so much more energized! Maybe try cutting out or limiting soda intake or fast food. Drink water instead! Drinking water is so important. Many people on campus usually bring a large Nalgene water bottle around anyway, so you won't look out of place. Challenge yourself to drink one full 72 ounce bottle a day! As a Music Major whose primary instrument is Vocal, you can imagine how important it is for me to stay hydrated! (Since in most of my classes I am required to do some sort of singing...I love it! Yay for studying in my passion!)

4. Managing Your Workload- Don't put too much on your plate at once! I took 18 credits Fall Semester and I made it out health might not have though. I didn't allow myself to get acclimated to the rhythm of college life before I dove right in. In most classes, you will be putting one hour of in time class work, and at least two outside of class time every day. So, by the time everything is said and done (minus extracurricular activities and your job) you are looking at anywhere between 40-50 hours of work. That's like a full time job! It's definitely not giving yourself enough time for a break. 

Now, I'm not saying you can't work up to that workload (because you will have to eventually), but I am saying space it out. You will thank yourself later!

That's it for my advice on living the crazy college student life!
And I'd just like to add--yes, it's hard. Yes, it's challenging. But how will we ever better ourselves if we don't expect the best we can give and learn? College is a wonderful place to grow and learn not only about yourself, but about how to balance adult life and I'm so blessed to be able to attend college! I honestly love it, and I know you will/do too. 

Want to chat more about ways to combat stress in college? You can always tweet me, or talk to me on tumblr
Also, check out my post on Finding Time to Relax! It also has some ideas that you can use alongside the ones I've mentioned today. 

Best of luck!

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