No matter what your impression of college was before you actually arrived on campus and started classes, your preconceived notions inevitably changed. You may have thought you'd have more time to party; you may have thought people would be different; you may have thought the classes would be less stressful. No matter the details, though, you probably thought one thing: that college wouldn't be quite this hard.
Finding little ways to make your college life easier can take some dedication, but with a little work (and consistency), you might be surprised at how a few little changes can make a big difference.
1. Eat well. Fortunately, college is full of all kinds of delicious, tasty, tempting food options. Unfortunately, however ... college is full of all kinds of delicious, tasty, tempting food options. That muffin you grabbed for breakfast might really be cake in disguise; those noodles you had for lunch were all carbs and no protein; and the pizza you had for dinner was definitely lacking in things your mother would be proud of. At the end of the day, your body ends up missing out on all of the fruits and veggies, water, and overall nutrition it needs to be its best. Start small if you have to -- aim for one truly healthy meal a day to start -- but aim to eat well so that you have the energy to make it through your crazy days.
2. Get (enough) sleep on a regular basis. The key word in that last sentence: regular. The ebbs and flows of college life often make it very difficult to always get enough sleep. And finding the time to get enough sleep can be really, really hard. So if you have to stay up late here and there, that's okay. But aim to get enough sleep on most nights so that you aren't a zombie more often than not.
3. Find time to exercise. Sounds ridiculous, right? With every 15 minutes of your day scheduled, finding time to exercise while in college can seem like Mission:Impossible. Just like eating well and sleeping enough, however, exercise ends up giving you more time than you put in. If you're exercising on a regular basis, you'll increase your energy level. Which, in turn, will make it easier for you to keep all of your commitments.
4. Stay on top of your finances. Ideally, most of your financial logistics are taken care of at the beginning of the semester. Your loan papers and scholarships go through without a hitch and you know just how much money you have until the end of the semester. But even with a small budget, you still need to stay on top of your spending. And often times, you know when you're not being financially responsible. You know your checking account balance is too low or your credit card balance is too high. That little voice inside your head, that nags you and makes you worry about finances, ends up making your time in school a lot harder than it has to be. Set a schedule for yourself to check on your spending -- once a week, once a month, once a pay period. You'll then spend 10 minutes looking over things (and consequently reducing your financial stress) instead of 2 hours of cumulative worry time wondering what's going on.
5. Find an outlet for your stress. There are tons of ways to relax in college. Find one that works for you. And if you've tried a few that haven't worked, try some more. Sometimes you have to mix it up a little so that your brain gets the best break possible. Because, after all, a relaxed and focused brain makes your daily college life a lot easier to handle.