Most people are looking forward to their college years and then recall them with warmth and a smile on their faces. Indeed, being the dawn of independent life, those years create the most vivid memories. Coming of age, making friends for a lifetime, and learning a plethora of things is exciting.
However, for many young people, this fruitful time is shadowed by anxiety, stress and mental overload. How to keep on top of things and make the most of your time in college without having a nervous breakdown? Here are some things you should remember to stay on the bright side.
Schedule as a grown-up
Scheduling is a skill that goes underestimated for too long. Long enough for you to end up in a complete mess before the finals.
Compared to high school, you have more free time – or so you think. What you have in reality is less time in the classroom and more freedom to organize your schedule around the tremendous amount of material you have to learn independently. The sooner you realize it, the smoother things will fall into place.
Cramming the night before an exam can seem fun before you have actually done it. When you sacrifice your sleep and force your already exhausted brain to work in overdrive, nothing good comes out of it.
By the time I was a senior student, I had a diagnosed nervous exhaustion, and my doctor begged me to slow down. However, how could I slow down with finals looming? The work piled up, and so did the fatigue. At some point, I was willing to pay someone to write my paper for me because it was just too much.
To avoid all this, make a daily planner your friend. You will have scheduling conflicts, and sometimes you will wish there were more hours in a day, but at least you will be in control of your time, instead of being its victim.
Party as teenager
Socialize, have fun with friends, party, and dance, but do not forget about your own safety. If you have enrolled in a college far from home, you will find it liberating. No one is here to tell you that you have to come home by eleven. No one is here to wait for you and ask you where you have been.
Yet after a while, you will find that these same things are the worst in being far from home. Now you have to be that person. You are responsible for your own wellbeing and your own safety. Now you will have to keep things, not because your mom will be displeased if you don’t but because you owe it to yourself.
Party as a teen, but don’t forget to channel your inner adult and get yourself home on time. Think about your ride when you plan to attend the party outside the campus. Watch your drinks, consider the company – are they trustworthy? Weigh all the pros and cons and decide whether the party is worth attending in the first place. Short side-note about drinks: until your senior college years, you might be yet an actual teenager and not legally allowed to drink alcoholic beverages. Be adult enough to respect the law.
Sleep as a baby
With all the academic workload and rich social life, you may think that sleep is a luxury you cannot afford. Anyway, sleep is for the week, right? Have the time of your life, party hard and then go to classes without so much as changing your clothes – that is what students do in teenage movies. This is, however, a very damaging stereotype. Sleep is always important, even more so when you want your cognitive abilities sharp. You may think that five hours are quite enough, that you are young and can take it. However, even a week of sleep-deprivation damages your health – and your academic performance!
There is another obstacle on the way into the arms of Morpheus. If you live on campus, you are bound to face some difficulties synchronizing your schedule with that of your roommate’s. If you are a night owl, try avoiding early birds as roommates (and vice versa). There are online resources like Roomsurf or social media that will pair you with the right person before you even arrive on campus. Discuss your own habits and vices and the things you can or cannot tolerate in a roommate. Levels of allowed music volume, visiting time for guests, general tidiness and other things that matter to common comfort should coincide.
Be wise as a grandma
You know what the real difference between young people and older folks is? The latter worry less, and when they do, it is about things that actually matter. The saying “Youth is wasted on the young” is true in many aspects. One of them is that young people are too absorbed with superficial stuff. We worry about how our peers perceive us, we worry about our grades as if our life depended on them. Luckily, it doesn’t. Stop dispersing yourself and practice some mindfulness.
When you worry about something, and it interferes with your life, ask yourself: will it matter in a week? In a month? In a year? Then just stop worrying. Your health, emotional well-being, and your loved ones are what matters. So be wise as a grandma and take care.