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How I Stay Grounded In College: From A First Year At UVA

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at UVA chapter.

Welcome to UVA, the school with a bustling social scene, challenging academics, and numerous opportunities to explore. When I moved in, I was excited by all the school had to offer, but also overwhelmed. I spent the first week of school meeting as many people as I could, attending various club events and university-sponsored activities as well as preparing for my classes. I eagerly filled up my Apple Calendar, but at the end of the day, I felt empty, rather than fulfilled. I was neglecting to prioritize the most important person in my life: myself, and I realized that needed to change. Taking care of yourself is number one, because, after all, how are you supposed to care for others and for your obligations if you don’t care for yourself first? They do not say “You can’t pour from an empty cup” for no reason.

Putting this into perspective, I drew out a new block into my calendar: self-care. So here are my tips for staying grounded in college.

Create a Morning Routine

Having a consistent morning routine sets the tone for the day ahead of you. According to psychologists, giving yourself time in the morning to set your intentions for the day can help you be happier and reduce stress.

It is important to keep in mind that everyone has their own variation of a morning routine. For some that may be a sunrise run coupled with meditation and journaling. Others may follow a 10-step skincare routine, or cook a healthy breakfast. For me, that’s doing a quick morning stretch and my skincare/makeup routine. Everyone has different needs, and as long as you have a morning routine that makes you feel good, that is a step in the right direction.

Eat Fulfilling Meals

Moving to college means figuring out how to feed yourself. For many, high school meant your parents cooking for you, or access to a kitchen at home. In college, however, students must find time in their busy schedules to navigate the food options on campus. Lots of students struggle with the adjustment, often turning to easy-access food with little to no nutritional value. Lack of nutrient-dense food in one’s diet can lead to increased snacking and late-night meals. Many college students go down this route and it’s important to recognize the effects of your eating habits.

While I’m not claiming that occasional snacking and midnight meals are a cardinal sin, studies show that too much late-night noshing can be linked to higher risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.

I have found that making time to eat a balanced breakfast, lunch, and dinner has helped me mitigate unhealthy eating habits and feel more energized throughout the day.

Make time for movement

I’m sure it’s not news to you that exercise has many benefits. Exercise can help improve your mood, give you energy, and even extend your life span. Making time for movement throughout the day is so important to keep you grounded and can be a great outlet for stress release.

I like to run and go to the gym. Occasionally, I will lay out a yoga mat in my dorm and do some pilates or an ab workout off of YouTube. I encourage you to try out different forms of movement to see what you like, it can make the world of a difference to your day and overall mood.

Plan your week on Sunday

My last tip is to plan out your week on Sunday. I have never been a big planner, and throughout high school, I would constantly find myself overloaded with work simply because I failed to manage my time correctly. I knew this was a habit I wanted to part ways with in college so I started exploring different ways to effectively plan out my time.

I landed on two tools: My Study Life and the Apple Notes app. My Study Life is what I use to input all my academic and extracurricular tasks for the week, while the Notes App I use for miscellaneous to-do lists for every day of the week. I came from humble beginnings of paper sticky notes strewn across my room and work space, so this change produced great results. I have found that I’m not as stressed out about completing all my tasks because I have an approachable for the week.

Planning my weeks out in advance has also allowed me to I have time for all the tips mentioned above, even etching out time for an everything shower. I encourage you to explore planning strategies that help you reduce stress and prioritize your well-being.

I’ve included the Instagram version of this article below!

Happy getting grounded!

Sasha Osinovsky is on Her Campus's social media team at the University of Virginia's chapter, creating content for the TikTok and Instagram pages. She is excited to get involved in UVA's Her Campus chapter and connect with her chapter members. Sasha is a first-year at UVA, intending to major in Foreign Affairs and Public Policy on the pre-law track. On campus, she is a part of the Running Club and hopes to get involved in more pre-professional groups. In her free time, Sasha loves to get active! Whether that be going on a run, taking a walk with friends, or exploring Charlottesville; Sasha's always up for the next adventure. She also enjoys a chill night in, indulging in her favorite takeout, Thai food, and rewatching her favorite show, The Office, for the umpteenth time.