Congratulations! You’ve made it though those grueling four years of high school. Freedom! No one to tell you what to eat or what time to go to bed. Sounds great, right? Your freshman year comes with a myriad of lifestyle choices that are all yours to make. Think about the future you. What does that look like? Base your choices on your value system and don’t drift too far from it because the choices you make can make or break your freshman year.
1. Go to every orientation event you can.
These are designed specifically for you to get acclimated to college life and all the resources that are available to you. Plus, you could meet some friends that you will have for a lifetime.
2. Go to each of your classes 15 minutes early on the first day.
In the event you get lost, you’ll have time to figure it out or ask another student for directions.
3. Eat breakfast!
Really, this will make even your early morning classes more tolerable. Your body needs that fuel to process all the incoming info. Keep bagels, bananas, peanut butter, and protein bars stashed in your dorm room so you can grab and go.
4. Get involved in at least one extra curricular activity right away.
Joining a group will give you a sense of family and could even be a good support system for you.
5. Stay active to avoid the dreaded freshman 15 weight gain.
Play a sport you enjoy on an intramural team or just get an impromptu game of hoops going. Try new things to keep yourself motivated; find a buddy to do things with and keep each other on track.
6. Maintain a normal sleep time each night.
Short naps are a healthy option to refresh. Just make sure not to nap too close to bedtime or snooze too long. If your roommate is a night owl, that could be an issue. Work together on a solution. For instance, maybe the night owl can keep the lights low and the music turned down or wear ear buds while you’re sleeping. The early riser can get ready for the day quietly and keep the blinds closed while the night owl is sleeping.
Keep bottled water in your mini fridge all the time. Toss it in your back-
pack when you leave for classes and stay hydrated.
9. Wash your hands – a lot!
Toss a travel size bottle of hand sanitizer in your backpack and use it often, especially if you’re around sick friends. Flip flops are essential for showering and don’t share any kind of beverages.
10. Utilize the office hours and personally introduce yourself to your professors.
If you run into scheduling conflicts later, he or she may be more helpful and understanding. Also, they can be a great adviser and help steer you in the direction of your goals.
11. Don’t go it alone.
If you’re feeling homesick, depressed or overwhelmed, seek help. Every college has plenty of caring people who are trained and willing to lend a listening ear and give you the resources to get you through a trying time. Take advantage of the services available.
12. Do your laundry and fold it right away.
Tossing it all into a bag when you’re done makes for frantic mornings. Fold it and put it away so you can quickly dress in the morning without succumbing to wearing sweats on a daily basis.
13. A passive aggressive approach to roommate woes accomplishes nothing.
Talk to your roommate directly. Be brief and stick to the problem at hand without being overly emotional. If you can’t come to terms with the problem, ask a RA for help.
14. Take the fruit.
Even if you don’t want anything from the fruit bowl in the cafeteria, take it and put it in your backpack. When you’re hungry (and broke), you’ll have something to eat that’s healthier then vending machine food.
15. Dorm space is pretty limited for most but having healthy snack options nearby is a must.
Get a clear storage container and fill it with long shelf life foods like nuts, seeds, dried fruit, wheat crackers, peanut butter, instant oatmeal, protein bars, low-fat microwave popcorn, low-sodium soups,fruit cups (packed in water, not sugar). Stock the mini fridge with 100 percent juice boxes, bottled water, string cheese, yogurt, fresh fruit, baby carrots, cottage cheese and hummus.
16. Get a handle on your finances.
It’s easy with the new found freedom (and sometimes the cushion of your parents’ wallet) for finances to get out of hand. If you find yourself short every week or having to call home for money, keep a journal for a week. Write down everything you spend. You may be shocked at how fast all those pizza and midnight donut runs add up. Give yourself a budget and stick to it.
Lisa Marie Conklin is a certified personal trainer and freelance writer.