The Big Move
It goes without saying that starting university is an exciting time in a student’s life. So many changes, new faces, challenging studies, busy schedules…and then there’s the whole issue of possibly living away from home for the first time!
The thought of living away from your parents is likely one that seems appealing, particularly when it’s combined with the fun of university. However, sometimes the reality may not be as good as the fantasy; It can not only lead to homesickness, but even some more major conditions and concerns. Students living away from home for the first time will likely face challenges and situations that they may not have even considered. Even the so-called “little things” – eating regular meals, getting adequate sleep, exercising – can all be forgotten when left to your own resources, particularly if you’re surrounded by people who may not see these things as priorities.
Here, some tips to help you with your first time away from home!
•Make a budget – and stick to it! The fact that the student budget is usually minimal is even more reason to spend what you have wisely. Prioritize – it is possible to still have money for entertainment while making sure all the essentials are covered. It’s a good idea to sit down with your parents before school starts to figure out a budget or take advantage of the school’s financial advice services.
•Eat regular meals. Sounds simple right? Unfortunately, this can be one of the biggest problems for students away from home for the first time, especially when you have to actually buy the food and cook for yourself! Your schedule will be busy with the addition of extra studies and activities, but forgetting or not bothering to eat on a regular basis will not only be detrimental to your well-being in terms of maintaining a healthy weight, but lead to digestive complications, disordered eating, problems with concentration and lack of immunity. At the very least, start the day with breakfast.
•Exercise on a regular basis. Exercise is important but it doesn’t have to be boring or become something to dread. The beauty of campus life is that usually there is a whole range of clubs and sports groups to join, whether the idea is to get involved with an activity you may have enjoyed in high school or take the opportunity to learn something completely new. The added bonus of this is that this can be a great time to meet like-minded people and socialize in a healthy way.If joining a group isn’t your thing, even just incorporating more movement into your schedule – walking or biking to class, to the store etc. – is all great for your physical and emotional well-being.
•Which brings us to the subject of stress. While university has a reputation for being a fun and relatively carefree time of life, the often harsh reality is that you will be taking on a much larger work load than you may be used to. While some students handle the added pressures with ease, it is not uncommon to feel ‘bogged down’ with it all. Some stress can be beneficial – it keeps you alert and can even give you the kick you need to get work done on time. What is essential is to recognize in yourself when ‘good’ stress becomes harmful – trouble sleeping, panic attacks, negative thoughts and unexplained illnesses can all be signs. The fact that this is so prevalent in college students is why most schools offer excellent counselling services. Don’t feel embarrassed to take advantage of this – it could be the difference between finishing school with your sanity intact or dropping out due to pressure.
One of the most important things to remember during your time at school, which can certainly be one of the best times in your life, is that there are always people to help and guide you. In addition to academic studies, university teaches us how to become independent. You worked hard to get here and it will shape a large part of your future – you owe it to yourself to stay healthy and happy.