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First semester of freshman year is over. Crazy. This was a semester for trial and error, meeting new people, trying new things, and figuring out your new life. Every day had 100 new opportunities, and missing one felt like a big deal. As we enter second semester, we can try some new habits to feel more structured and relaxed, while still taking advantage of every opportunity.

  1. Take some mental health days.

You need it. Of course, go to class and go out with friends as often as possible, but sometimes you need alone time – a scarce resource at college. Every once in a while when you’re feeling overwhelmed, take a day off. Do your laundry, read a new book, binge Succession. Go easy on yourself!

  1. Get into a morning and nightly routine.

It feels good to start and end every day the same way. Each day at college is so different, you need some structure to keep you grounded. When you wake up, listen to some uplifting music or a new podcast. Eat breakfast, get some sun, have iced coffee – do what you need to do to wake up and have a productive day. At night, listen to some calm music and drink lavender tea, read a chapter of a book, do a facemask. Wind down and get into your REM cycle. 

  1. Find a study spot.

We went all around campus last semester. We studied in our beds, our common room, our desks, the library, the dining hall, the student center, the lawn, and basically every other place with a table and chair. While it’s fun to move around and get a change of scenery, find a place to settle down when you study. When you have a lot to do, creating a routine will make you more focused. Make another part of campus feel like home. And try to get out of your room, you’ll just end up falling asleep with popcorn in your bed and Gilmore Girls playing on your computer.

  1. Work out.

Exercising shouldn’t be focused on how you want your body to look, it should be about how you want to feel. Exercising reduces stress and depression, increases endorphin production, gives you energy, makes you sleep better, and makes you feel productive. Even once a week, take advantage of your college’s gym and go to a free spin class or get on the treadmill for an hour. Allow exercise to be part of improving your mental health.

  1. Get involved in clubs.

First semester was busy with friends and school. We all went to the activity fair, signed up for 50 clubs, and then never checked our email. But getting involved with a club is an important part of the college experience, and it’s never too late! Go to a few different meetings and see what interests you. Try one thing you never would have done in high school and one thing you know you’re good at. 

Go kill it!

Olivia is a freshman at Tulane University majoring in International Relations and Environmental Studies. She loves to listen to classic rock, go to the beach, tan with friends, and play with her two puppies Woodrow and Frankie. Olivia wants to keep people politically and socially engaged with her writing while focusing on optimism for the future.
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