There you are, transitioning from having to show up to gym class in grades K-12 and now you are in college and all you take are regular classes. Gym classes aren’t a requirement anymore, so you feel relieved. Why did most students not appreciate gym when they had to take it? Usually, the answer was because they were lazy and it was not necessary. They were and are wrong.
What incoming freshman should know about health: physical activity needs to be ingrained in your brain ALWAYS AS REQUIRED.You need to take it upon yourself to use your free school gym, or sign up to an affordable gym and GO, or else you really WILL gain the “Freshman 15.” It may be an ongoing joke, but it is taken from something that must seriously be noted. You need to learn how to take care of yourself now, without an adult breathing down your neck.
Finally, in college, you have freedom. Some of you have money your parents still give you because you are their baby, or you already have a part-time job you can support yourself with. Regardless, you use that money towards needs during a long day, such as meals. You would be surprised how many people actually DO eat healthy, but it comes at a price. You are looking at a $7 salad when you are only given $10 for the day.
Junk food may seem appealing when you look at your budget. So now, not only are you in college and must learn to take care of your body physically, but you need to somehow become financially independent. Maybe you can only be a part-time student because you need a full-time job to support your healthy eating habits, as well as your living situation, if you don’t have the funds.
Growing up is hard, especially if you feel like there was no real transition time between your senior year in high school and freshman year of college. Maybe like some people, you are lucky and your family pays for everything and supports you. I am not rich, but I was supported during that transition. I couldn’t afford to dorm but I was able to buy my meals. Also, I worked a little so I saved that money. Honestly though, bringing healthy food from home is the best option, so that your hunger doesn’t tempt you to buy unhealthy food.
Not only do you need to take care of your body physically and yourself financially, but you need to take care of your mental health and well-being. Believe it or not, sleep deprivation, even for a short period of time can break your nervous system. If your nervous system breaks, anxiety and depression, as well as other mental illnesses, will be developed. So make sure you have 7-8 hours of sleep each night (or the basic amount you need to function normally, which differs for each individual).
If a student works and goes to school, maybe 7-8 hours of sleep is impossible, but try and compensate for it by taking study breaks and short naps when you can. I personally worked and went to school last year, but it only made me procrastinate less and plan out study time. It actually helped me use my time wisely. Sometimes, I felt that sleep was more important than anything so I would just go to sleep and set up a time in the morning or in breaks to finish my assignments.
Mental and physical health are at the top of the list of what a college student needs to have. Achieving great grades is important as well, so make time to study and try to learn the material on your own. Your professors will not help you and guide you as much as your former teachers did. In my experience, even if the teacher was nice, the tutoring sessions still didn’t help me do my best on the test. The review sheet did not help me do well on the tests either. So, you get lucky with the professors and you are good. If not, you have learned what you need to do and there is always next semester! Health is a complicated topic, but if you learn to tackle it step by step, you'll be alright. It is a part of growing up, and remember, we are all in the same boat!