19 Survival Tips For College Life

Can you believe we are finally coming to an end this fall semester? I don’t know about you, but I am so excited for the holiday gatherings, passing my exams and going home to catch everyone up on my time at school. This has been my second year living in the dorms and attending Sacramento State University. It already feels like I’ve been here wayyy too long, but I’ve learned a lot about myself, friendships, relationships and adjusting to the constant struggles in college life. So, I put together a list of the 19 things I’ve learned throughout my life and thought I’d share to help you survive college life too!

1.  Say Goodbye To Your Sleeping Schedule

Photo courtesy of Tirachard Kumtanom

After moving away from home, I moved into the dorms at Draper Hall on campus. It was so convenient because you can easily walk down the hall to visit your friends’ room, grab food from the local Courtyard Market or Dining Commons, and even check out events happening in the dorm halls. There is always someone there to hangout with really late at night during the busy weeks of school or the Netflix and chill type of weekends. With that being mentioned, I was lucky if I got at least five hours of sleep a night because there is always something exciting happening. Be prepared for lots of distractions and procrastinating on schoolwork, but it will only help you to figure out a balance and time management. If you are struggling with getting good sleep, read tip #5 to learn about how to find a balance for yourself!

2. A Good Night’s Rest Is A Must

Photo courtesy of Vladislav Muslakov

After realizing I was not getting enough sleep, I learned to make sleeping a priority. Without a good night’s rest, I became tired, lack of desire to focus and sometimes moody. We always hear it especially from our parents to shut off the lights and go to bed on time. Who knew they were right? I learned that my mind, body and most importantly, my health improved ten times better when I’m well rested after eight hours of sleep. It might be helpful for you to schedule and plan your activities to make time for yourself to get a good night’s rest.

3. Stay Mentally and Physically Active

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Throughout high school, I’ve always been active and played sports, but entering college life has made it difficult. I decided to make goals for myself to workout at The WELL for three times a week. Now, I go five times a week! It has become a daily routine for me to sweat out the stress, clear my thoughts and boost my confidence.

4. Grab A Planner To Set Personal Goals

Photo courtesy of Miesha Moriniere

New Year’s Day is less than a month away! It is time to start planning out goals and resolutions you want to accomplish. I used to think this was really cliche and only crossed off the easy items on my list. This year I plan to make a list of short-term goals I want to accomplish so it is easier for me to commit during spring semester. By organizing my goals, I am able to complete 12 out of the 14 things on my list by a certain date. I challenge you to write down 10-15 realistic goals to accomplish next year and use #HCSacState on social media to show us!

5. Dedicate Time For Yourself

Photo courtesy of Anthony Tran

We are always so busy tackling school, work, social life and extracurricular activities, time can really get away from us. From my experience, I know what it feels like when “me time” can’t happen. However, I have learned to prioritize myself some time during the day where I can watch a little Netflix or do a quick facial mask. If you really are pressed for time, just taking a quick 15-30 minutes to do some of the things you enjoy. This will help you relax and recharge even if it’s just taking quick deep breaths.

6. Have A Flexible Weekend Schedule

Photo courtesy of Clarisse Meyer

Naturally, I’m an extrovert and enjoy being around my friends more than being alone. It helps keep me busy and entertained, but I learned it’s okay not to attend every social outing or college party because taking the night off can be really worthwhile sometimes. A flexible weekend schedule can help you enjoy your weekend instead of having to meet this friend or attend this event, which can get very exhausting after a while. Try inviting friends over for a relaxing movie night or study group session so you can get both things done at once! Earlier in the day you can have some me time too. #winning

7. Always Choose Friends Wisely

Photo courtesy of Ben White

In general, you should have clear decisions, but it is especially important who you decide to be involved in your life. This goes for friendships, relationships and even family. It doesn’t matter how many people you allow into your life, but it might help to keep a personal boundary with each person. I learned a lot of people I let into my life have hurt me, weren’t a positive influence and didn’t deserve my time. It’s your choice to decide how to spend your time and energy with whomever you shall choose.

8. Choose Your Own Audience

Photo courtesy of Pj Accetturo

When I first joined Her Campus at Sacramento State, I enjoyed the feeling of having a low key profile because I was working hard recruiting members, writing articles and brainstorming ideas. It was great to have people surprised when my hard work spoke for itself. Keep in mind you don’t have to share everything you are doing with every person out there. Sometimes, it’s nice to be selfish and have it be your thing only. It’s like a mini getaway escape. Plus, it might be better to avoid the possibility of hearing negative comments or just plain, bad vibes!

9. Stay Hydrated

Photo courtesy of Autri Taheri

This isn't really something I learned, but it is a great habit to keep in mind. This past year I haven’t drank anything else besides water and coffee. Water to flush out the bad toxins in my body replenish my skin and coffee to stay awake in class. After drinking the recommended eight 8oz glasses of water per day,  I’ve noticed a healthier difference in myself. You should try it too!

10. Be Thankful For Family

Photo courtesy of Alex Blăjan

I know sometimes family can get annoying and invade your space, but it only means they love that much more. In my family, my mom is my biggest inspiration and my sisters are my biggest supporters. It is really hard being away from home because I miss them so much. Luckily, I am from San Francisco so the distance isn’t too bad. When I do go home, I always make sure to make the most of it. College is an exciting time to be independent, but nothing will ever compare to the amount of fun I have sharing a pizza and watching a chick flick movie with my family. If you are feeling homesick, plan for a weekend to go home or have your family and friends visit you in Sacramento. You can give them a tour of your university and there are always so many events happening in the community!

11. FOMO With My Best Friend

Photo courtesy of Omar Lopez

When I left for college, I was so scared my best friend and I would drift apart it would give me so much FOMO (Fear of Missing Out).  Instead, we kept in contact by texting and FaceTiming all the time. We’ve only known each other since we were 12 years old so the distance was challenging to face. Though, we are apart we always make time for each other and you can too for your besties! Make plans with your besties by figuring out the best time to talk to each other between busy schedules, keep in contact on social media and plan trips together so each of you have something to look forward to in the future.

12. Value True Friendships

Photo courtesy of David

At Sacramento State, I’ve made some amazing friends this past year! I have my fun girl squad to my genuine guy friends, who are like brothers to me. I know I can always rely on them for anythig and they will be right by my side. You also can meet so many awesome people by being involved on campus, in class and even attending college events. You never know who you might meet unless you try!

13. Be Patient

Photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire

Patience was extremely hard for me to learn. I had to learn to be patient when plans don’t work out like the way it should and it sucks. I allowed myself time to feel the pain, but eventually I had to let go and move forward in my life. Over time, what bothered me doesn’t affect me as terrible anymore. Throughout my time, I have grown strong and forgotten all the negativity from my past. Now, I feel more motivated than ever to power through school and chase my dreams. It really helps to find someone you trust to confide in and who can be there for you at your worst moments.

14. Major In Something You Love

Photo courtesy of Clay Banks

If you are planning on going to college, you might want to choose an academic focus you are passionate about and want to someday have a career relating to your major’s industry. After all, you are going to be studying for four years so it should be something you enjoy. At Sacramento State, I’m studying for Fashion Merchandising and Designing. In this past year, I’ve learned more about sewing, constructing textiles and fabrics then applied it to wearable fashion. It’s something that I’m obsessed with studying and passionate to learn more! I encourage you to meet with advising counselors, the Career Center and search within yourself to discover those passions or interests.

15. Take Your Time

Photo courtesy of Rachael Crowe

I know you may feel pressured and short on time to get your life together, but you don’t have to figure everything out right now. It is common for us to stress about the future and about our dream careers as millennials. When you are young, you have a lot of time to make mistakes and learn from it. That’s the beauty of it because you get to look back and think, “Been there, done that. Not going to make that same mistake again.” We still have so much more to learn, places to visit and people to meet. Let’s just focus on the present time and enjoy what we currently have. Soon, everything else will fall into place one step at a time.

16. Consider Having A Savings Account

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It never is too early to start saving money. Take the time to discuss with your parents about opening a savings account at your local bank for yourself. It is a great opportunity for you to learn about the real value of a dollar and how you can spend without having to ask family for money. Plus, it will teach you about responsibility and being indepent. This past summer I’ve been bugging my mom to let me open a savings account and I finally did! After depositing my hard earned money, I left it untouched then watched it increase its’ value. It was one of the smartest choices I’ve ever made!

17. Shop Smart

Photo courtesy of Porapak Apichodilok

During my freshman year, I spent endless hours in the library or in my dorm room using their computer lab. The computers were really slow and inconvenient for me to finish my homework. I finally decided to start saving up my own money and purchased my own laptop. That was a worthy investment for me to have. When deciding to purchase a product, think about, “Is this really worth it? Do I need or just want it? Is the price worth the money I currently have?” It can be an overwhelming process, but practice is all you need and talk with your parents to guide you in the best direction. Just be careful not to splurge all your money on meaningless things.

18. Say Your Prayers

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Photo courtesy of Ben White

Prayers are generally good to practice because it makes you think about those struggling times and helps you to be more appreciative in your current position. I identify as Christian and have found praying to be something I really value. It is a strong way for me to stay connected with God, my faith and has played a huge role in learning more about myself. If you don’t like to pray, you can always meditate, do yoga or something you love to help you recenter yourself. It can also be counted as your me time too!

19. A Lot Can Change In A Short Amount Of Time

Photo courtesy of Johannes Plenio

It is crazy for me to think that the person I was a year ago is so different from who I am now. Think about it, there are 365 days in a year. So, there is a lot to do in the little time we have. Don’t get caught up in feeling rushed because you lose track of what is currently happening now. We are still so young and will go through more life experiences together. We are ever evolving and what you wanted six months ago can change. Always be proud of who you are! Everyone is different and will grow at their own pace so don’t forget time will heal those moments.

Most important thing to remember, other than these 19 items, is to enjoy your life and be happy. It can be challenging to hold your head high and stand on a firm ground. You will find your niche and friends to grow with you too. Remember, we are all in this together too. Get out there have fun, make some mistakes and be a total badass babe in college!

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