College students seem to be all over the place in terms of their life. They, for lack of better words, can’t get their shit together. As a junior in college, I take particular pride in the fact that most aspects of my life are put together. There are ways you can reconfigure your day to day routine so you feel less stressed and more in control of your path. Here are some of my top tips in order to put yourself back on track:
College students seem to have a weird aversion to going to bed at a normal hour. Almost all of us become night owls within the first year. The thing that annoys me though is when people come in complaining about how tired they are. Did you go to bed at a normal time? Most would answer no. While some nights homework and assignments may keep students up, there are ways to manage your time so you can go to bed earlier (I’ll talk about that more later). Before you go to bed, you should avoid looking at your phone or watching TV a half hour before you lay your head down on the pillow. Studies show that looking at a screen right before bed messes up your brain waves and makes it harder to fall and stay asleep. It’s all too easy to fall into the “just one more episode” trap. But it won’t benefit your sleep habits. By going to bed earlier, you’ll feel refreshed and more ready to start the day the next morning.
2) Learn to Manage Your Assignments in a Timely Manner
Procrastination is the biggest enemy of students. Everyone, including myself, loves to procrastinate on doing any kind of assignment. But I’ve learned that procrastination is great in the moment but not for the future. If you get your assignments done in advance, you feel less worried about having multiple papers due on the same day. You’ll also have more free time in the days to come, knowing you were able to finish everything. Sometimes we don’t feel like doing homework and put it off a day or two. That’s ok every now and then. But try not to fall into this habit. Get a planner or a daybook in order to keep track of your day-to-day schedule as well as what you need to have done throughout the week.
3) Keep Your Room Clean
No longer do we have Mom coming in to vacuum the floor, make the bed and pick up your dirty laundry. It can be all too easy to let your room become a bottomless pit. Having a physically organized space will ease your mind and make you feel better. Labels are a great way to keep track of all your storage containers. Fold your clothes as soon as your laundry is done, no matter how tempting it is to leave it in the hamper for a week. Don’t be afraid to throw away paper and make sure to keep up with your garbage. My family knows how much of a paper hoarder I am, and how hard it is for me to throw stuff away. But holding on to junk you don’t need will just make more clutter and adds to the clutter of your mind. If you have dishes, wash and dry them as soon as you’re done eating. Give the room a good dusting, and if your residence hall has vacuums, give the floor a good cleaning every couple of weeks. Make your bed everyday too.
4) Try to Fit in Some Time for Exercise
While our schedules may be full, exercise should still play a part in your life. If you play on a sports team, your exercise is pretty much covered. But, if you don’t, it’s a good idea to try to exercise a few times a week. Eating at the cafeteria means it can sometimes be difficult to find healthy options that you would actually enjoy. Soon, you’re eating pizza and burgers every night. The Freshman 15 is a real issue, and if you don’t exercise, you’ll find your weight increasing quickly, especially since our parents aren’t here to monitor our snacking habits. Not only does exercise help with health, but it’ll make you feel good too. Since adding exercise into my routine, I feel better about myself. If you go three times a week for 30 to 40 minutes, I guarantee you’ll feel less stressed and more relaxed.
5) Manage Your Finances
With college comes bills of all kinds. Tuition, phone, car insurance, credit card, etc. A lot of college students feel overwhelmed by all the bills they have, and they don’t know how to manage their finances. The biggest thing to do is to work during the summer. By working during the summer, you’ll be able to save money to have during the year. If you’re fortunate enough to have a job while you’re in college, that’s great! You might think this will solve your money troubles, but you should still be managing your various bills. If you have a credit card, you should set a limit for yourself on how much you want to spend on the card. By doing this, you’ll be able to manage how much you’re paying off each month. If you’re constantly maxing out your limit, you’ll be digging yourself a hole for debt. You’ll also be building your credit level and increasing your credit score. Try to check your credit score frequently, though sites such as Credit Karma. This will help you keep track of your credit, which will be a big help down the road. Make sure you save enough to be able to pay your monthly bills. You should make a savings account with your checking account and put a certain amount aside in the savings each week. This will make a nice little nest egg for you when you graduate. Finally, try to cut down on frivolous spending. It’s ok to want fun things in our lives and occasionally splurge. But if you keep buying things that are unnecessary all the time, you’ll be searching for pennies in the couch cushions to pay your bills. Save your fun items for a birthday or holiday. Or, buy one relatively inexpensive splurge item a month.
If you follow these tips, I promise you will soon be living your best life. Remember it’s okay to take time for friends and fun as long as you keep your priorities straight. By managing these tips, you’ll have an easier time making your way through college.