Starting college is both an exciting and frightening time. For some people, it’s their first taste of freedom away from home, and for others, it’s a fresh new start. College is a time of self discovery and this can be quite intimidating. Freshers’ Week can be overwhelming at times. With many societies and events happening at once, it can feel like you have to go to every event in order for you to have a fulfilling Freshers’ Week. But once it’s over, you can be left feeling unsure. It is very easy to get lost in the hustle and bustle and end up burning yourself out by trying to do as much as you can. But it’s important to look after your mental, physical and emotional health. 

The first thing is to figure out what services are available for you. If you have a disability, set up a meeting with the disability service and find out what facilities they offer. During my time in college, I found the disability service to be a huge help with my transition from secondary school to university. College can be difficult for everyone but it can be even trickier when you’re disabled and it’s good to know what services you have to help you along the way. Services disabled students might be entitled to are exam accommodation, occupational therapy, assistive technology, etc. Even if you think you won’t need any support, it’s good to have a relationship with the disability service – just in case you’ll need to use it in the future. There are also supports that are open to all students, which may include counselling, peer support, tutors and accommodation. You should familiarise yourself with the supports you have available to you to help you when you need it.

One thing that saved me a lot of time was getting a calendar. This can be a physical one or an electronic one, whatever you prefer. Once you get your timetable, put this information somewhere you can access at any time. This will allow you to see where you have gaps, during which you can schedule studying, society events, coffee break or even a nap in between classes! You don’t have to plan every detail to the second, but knowing when your classes are and when certain events are happening can be a useful tool in finding the right work/life balance. 

Looking after yourself during college is necessary. Remember that self-care doesn’t just mean bubble baths and face masks – it also means eating, drinking plenty of water and getting enough sleep. Self-care while as a student can mean taking a step back from social events or societies if they are causing you to miss class, sometimes it’s taking the day off from studying, or maybe it’s allowing yourself to go out and have fun once in awhile. 

College can be one of the most exciting times of your life but it can also be a very stressful experience. In the era of social media, you can constantly be comparing yourself to friends and classmates. You can get down on yourself because you’re not getting the best marks or you’re not going to the best events but it’s important to remember that behind those screens, everyone else is having those same anxieties. It’s okay to not have everything figured out, it’s okay to have struggles, and it’s okay to ask for help. College is a time for you to explore your identity and flourish as a human being. 

Photo: Brooke Cagle via Unsplash

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