Students heading to university are generally excited to begin a brand new chapter in their life. But it can also be an incredibly challenging one.
Many students will be moving away from home for the first time—often to a new country altogether. They will also be encountering new academic systems that will take time to become accustomed to.
Finances are another challenge for students—being away from financial backup and advice, that parents generally offer, can lead to substantial worries.
Not all students have the wherewithal to create fundraising efforts, which can cause a great deal of stress.
We outline below a few wellbeing strategies that students can adopt while they navigate university life so they can function at top physical and mental efficiency, and have a memorable time at university.
Don’t Miss Orientation Week
Universities around the world hold an orientation week for new students and it is advisable for all students to attend this event.
It also helps new students realise that what they are feeling—overwhelmed, excited, homesick—is quite common. All new students feel similar emotions, and it is good to know you aren’t alone in your emotions.
The orientation week is also a good time to find out how to join team communication tools or Slack alternatives so you can stay in touch with students who may not be attending the same classes as you.
Trying New Activities
University is the ideal time to try something new—you are in a new environment and discovering new places and people. Why not try new activities, as well?
Delving into something new is a great strategy for keeping well—it helps you stay motivated, gives you a reason to meet more people, and to work harder.
Or take on a more rigorous activity like canoeing or rock-climbing.
You are already in a new environment—your university—so it is the perfect time to do something out of your comfort zone.
Participate in University Life
There’s plenty happening in your university, so you don’t have to stay locked up in your dorm room all the time.
You will see volunteering opportunities to edit papers or customize a WordPress review plugin for fellow students at your university, student councils that you can join, societies, sports clubs, and more.
There will also be meetups and gatherings where you can meet more students and teachers outside of the academic setting.
Participating in university life will help you feel more connected with your university and your wellbeing will improve as a result.
Get Outside Help
It isn’t possible to do everything that you aim for while at university. In fact, you may find yourself feeling a bit overwhelmed after a while.
If this happens, you are well within your rights to ask for outside help. Speak to the university counsellor if you are feeling homesick, or feel like you can’t cope with the pressures of university life.
Mental health needs to be your priority, and if you feel that your mental health is being adversely affected by life at university, you should speak to a professional to help you get back on track.
Take a Break from University
It can’t hurt to take a break from university life altogether if it is all becoming too much for you. Try and take a trip back home to spend with your near and dear ones—familiar surroundings will help you feel better.
Alternately, a vacation may be in order. Visiting a new place as a tourist might be the wellbeing boost your mind and body need.
You can also try to adjust your course and the classes you are taking—you may not have to take all the classes you are assigned in one semester.
Decreasing your workload may be the only change you need to make to improve your wellbeing.
Don’t Be Harsh on Yourself
Students at university often set high standards for themselves—getting an A in every paper, becoming president of a student body, non-profit planning, or changing the way the administration works.
These are all lofty ideals, but students are at university primarily to learn and better themselves. Putting too much on yourself will only result in additional pressure on you.
Plus, students are also incredibly self-critical if they can’t reach the goals they have set themselves. This leads to negativity, lack of motivation, and eventually impacts your wellbeing.
As much as students want to get the best marks in every questionnaire, to participate in all the activities, and change the world, it simply isn’t possible to accomplish it all.
That doesn’t mean that you are harsh on your inability to achieve everything—instead, accept that you are doing your best and that just because someone else is achieving more than you, doesn’t mean that you can’t still be a great student who will achieve amazing things in the future.
Eat, Sleep, and Relax Regularly
Despite your workload and your extracurricular activities, the one thing students should not do is limit their sleep or indulge in disordered eating. Eat when you are hungry, and get your 6-8 hours of sleep.
This will be more beneficial to your overall wellbeing than anything else we have mentioned in this article.
Students should also know that relaxing isn’t a crime at university—you deserve to rest and relax, enjoy time with your friends, visit your university town, and have fun.
Enjoy University Life
Being in an academic environment is the best time to stretch your wings, to succeed, and to fail.
Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, but don’t be afraid to try something outside your comfort zone.