Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

The Best and Worst Habits I Picked Up in College

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at MSU chapter.

Since starting college at the end of August, I’ve picked up a lot of habits that I didn’t notice were changing until I came home for break. While some of them have been blessings, others have not. So here’s what to do and what to avoid while in college:

BEST: Waking up before 9

Having early classes has forced me to wake up before 9 – a habit I’m thankful for. Waking up early gives me more time in my day, and makes it easier for me to get things done. Historically, I’ve had trouble waking up on time, and waking up between 9 and 10 am every day in the summer had nothing but negative effects on my day. Waking up early also ensures that I go to bed on time, and while I don’t fully understand the science behind circadian rhythms, I’ve learned that sleeping from 11 pm until 8 am is a lot better than sleeping from 3 am until 10 am.

WORST: Coffee for breakfast

The number of times I’ve come back from my morning class and gone straight to Sparty’s for one of the Dunkin iced coffees is embarrassingly high. That stuff is 90% of my bloodstream at this point. However, having coffee is not a substitute for a healthy, nutritious breakfast that will give you the energy you need for the day. But I understand the appeal, trust me. Given the college environment and the way classes are structured, taking the time to go to a dining hall for breakfast or eating before class is often not possible. I have a class near a Starbucks three days a week, and the temptation to just get an iced latte instead of breakfast is high. I didn’t realize how big of an impact this was having on me until I went home for break and actually found the time to make and eat breakfast. Breakfast used to be my favorite meal of the day, and now it’s nothing more than a coffee and maybe a doughnut if I feel like it. It’s a habit I know a lot of people pick up in college, and one that I know takes a lot of effort to unlearn.

BEST: Doing laundry consistently

When I lived at home, I was the kid who threw their clothes into the washer and then forgot about them until several hours later, when they were already starting to dry. Coming to college and having to set timers for my laundry was a game changer for me. Partially out of fear that someone would take my clothes out of the dryer and throw them on the floor, I became extremely consistent with my laundry. Even folding my clothes immediately after they come out of the dryer instead of leaving them in the laundry basket for hours has been such a game-changer for me – and the best way to avoid wrinkles.

WORST: Skipping Class

When I first started college, my sister told me that after the first week of classes, the number of people in lectures was going to drop significantly. She was right, but I never expected to be one of those people. It started with a simple decision to not go to class because of the weather, or I had stayed up the night before. Then it became a habit to not go to class and instead take notes from lectures posted online. I didn’t feel the negative effects of that until I took the midterm, and did poorly, to say the least. Going back to class and paying attention instead of putting on the lecture video and mindlessly skipping through unimportant parts greatly impacted my ability to properly understand the material. Even if it means forcing yourself to get up early and make your way to class, you won’t regret it come exams.

BEST: Using a planner

In high school, our teachers would give us planners on the first day of classes. Most people would throw them in their backpacks and they wouldn’t see the light of day until June. As much as I tried to use my planner, it wouldn’t get used. But there’s more than one type of planner out there. There’s apps, websites, and journals, each with their own uses. The kind of planner that may have worked for your siblings or roommates may not work for you. Keeping that in mind, finding the type of planner that works best for you is the number one way to stay on top of your schedule and assignments.

WORST: Walking everywhere

I know this sounds counterintuitive, how can developing a healthy habit hurt you in the long run? With a campus like Michigan State where the bus systems can be unreliable, it’s easy to start walking to all your classes, no matter how far away they are. The distances start to add up, if you’re walking to all of your classes and back, you start overexerting yourself before you know it. So if your muscles are constantly stiff and sore, and you’re feeling more fatigued than usual, it’s time to start taking the bus. Before you cause more serious injuries and problems to your body, let it heal.

Most of these habits might go away after you graduate and go into the working world. But some are things you can develop, or get rid of, at any point in your life. Building the habit of consistent laundry might come in handy if you’re a new parent in the future and you’re starting to fall behind on your chores. Refraining from walking everywhere now might save your joints future pain in your 40s and 50s. Developing and breaking habits is something that we will always need no matter what point we’re at in our lives.

Risa Bhutani is a junior at Michigan State University studying accounting. She is also the events director for Her Campus at Michigan State and enjoys creating core memories for people in the chapter through events. She is a fan of reality TV, true crime, reading, and hiking in her spare time.