One of the biggest adjustments for new college students is the sense of newfound freedom. College students have an increase in personal responsibility and a lot less external structure. There are no set study times, no required meal times, no one to tell them when to sleep or get them up, an increase in their academic workload, a greater need to multi-task and balance, and a myriad of new social opportunities and challenges. The following are skills that will help you develop your own internal structure and be successful in college:
Prepare a weekly schedule that includes time in class, studying, activities, work, meals, study and time with friends. Being a college student is like having a full-time job. Several hours of studying and preparation are expected for each class.
Regular exercise, adequate rest, good nutrition, prayer and/or meditation are all suggested ways of engaging in self-care that reduces stress. Finding ways to increase coping strategies will help students decrease the stressors that life will throw their way.
Even some of the best high school students have not always developed good study skills. Knowing how to read a text book, take notes in class, use the library and take multiple choice tests are all areas that will help you be more successful in the classroom.
It is important to have experience in independently handling money, balancing your spends, using an ATM, reading a bank statement and learning to make responsible decisions about living on a budget.
Speak up for yourself in an assertive manner that is neither aggressive nor passively allows others to take advantage of you. Assertiveness skills are helpful in roommate communication, study groups, teams and conflict resolution. They also involve learning and practicing healthy boundaries.
WELL-DEVELOPED SELF CARE SKILLS
Develop bedtimes based on physical need and health. Adequate sleep and a healthy diet can improve mood, athletic and classroom performance, and coping strategies for stress. Exercise, relaxation and good hygiene are also important aspects of self-care.
KEEPING SAFE AND AVOIDING RISKY BEHAVIOURS
Staying safe means learning to advocate for your well-being. It means making smart and low-risk choices and planning for the “what ifs” in life.
SEEKING ASSISTANCE WHEN NEEDED
A big part of advocating for yourself is knowing when to ask for help. The college years are a time for learning new information, new life skills and a new way of relating with our world. Seeking help when you need it is a sign of strength and integrity, not an admission of failure.
RESPECTING THE RULES AND POLICIES
Every community has rules and policies and your college campus will be no different. Rules and policies apply to safety and fostering a positive community where all students are respectful of themselves, others and the environment.
DISPLAYING HONESTY, INTEGRITY AND PERSEVERANCE
Learning to incorporate personal values and ethics into every aspect of life is a significant part of personal growth during the college experience. Part of the path of integrity is learning how to hang in there and stay committed to goals even when situations are challenging.