Self-Care Advice to my First Year Self

Edited By: Tanmaya Ramprasad

You are about to embark on a new journey halfway across the world that is different from anything you have ever known. It will come with its highs and lows, but for the most part, it will be the greatest learning experience of your life.

I know that you may be overthinking every class, questioning your social abilities, and concerned about your mental health. These are all valid concerns, however, the next four years will teach you to value your well-being, and prioritize your health over your obsessive working tendencies. It will teach you that there are some things worth sacrificing, and others that will leave you unsettled, nocturnal, and lost.

The first piece of advice I have for you is to breathe. Remember that university is just another stage in life that will teach you resilience and patience. Make sure that you prioritize your sleep because as a fourth-year, I can tell you that it will make a world of a difference. Stop romanticizing all-nighters and living off giant cups of coffee. Prioritize your self-care just as much as you do your academic work. Remember that you are far more than your academic achievements and accolades. 

Secondly, know when to stop and take breaks. You may spend countless hours on your phone looking for solace from social media apps, but instead finding yourself feeling more empty and alone. Take a break from social media and go on more hikes and walks. The mental clarity it will give you is invaluable. Remember that the most important connection in your life will always be with yourself, and spending more time outdoors will be well worth it (even in the cold). 

Moreover, make sure to spend more time in silence. Try taking more guilt-free relaxed days to spend quality time with friends as opposed to the occasional conversations with acquaintances at the library. Still, when you need to take a step away to breathe, try to let go of the urge to stick to your study schedule and listen to your body. You will soon find out that flexibility is an important skill that you will need to adapt to. 

Try to let go of plans and instead make the best out of your situation. A rigid timeline and checklist will do nothing but stress you out even more. Part of self-care is allowing your mind to question, wonder, and challenge itself constantly. Make sure to stay organized, but remain realistic with your short-term and long term goals, allowing for change in the process.

Lastly, remember that you contain multitudes. Your identity does not just lie in the number of pages you can write for your classes, rather it lies in our complexities as humans that are constantly evolving. Remember that taking care of yourself and your mental health is not a luxury but a basic human need. Asking for support does not make you weak, and life is just about to get more exciting as your university years go by.

Best,

Your Fourth Year Self