I attend a small private university in the PNW (Pacific Northwest) corner of the United States. I’m happy to experience life on-campus and dorm life, while staying close to home and family. My 1st year flew by quick, and as I sit down at home to write this, these are the tips of advice that I want to share.
1. Get out there and explore new things.
University is an incredible time where you are growing, thriving, and hopefully – surviving. Traditional university students are still young and exploring fields of interest, not just in the classroom, but with personal interests too – style, music, people, etc.
Although throwing yourself out to an unfamiliar community is uncomfortable, the opportunities and people you encounter won’t happen, if you’re stuck inside rewatching that New Girl episode.
I’m an extroverted introvert, meaning that I come off as a social butterfly, but internally I wish to be inside and chill in my own controlled space. However, participating in different clubs and events has allowed me to widen my comfort space, and in return, encouraging others to open their space to me. The amount of bonding moments I gained throughout my first year have been wonderful, and although I had to kick myself out the door to try out different things, I’m happy that I explored a different area with a renewed perspective.
So go on, whether it be your first days of university or your last days in the home stretch to finish, step out of your room, your main studying space, your campus, and explore what the people and community surrounding you have to offer. Have fun out there!
2. Of course, keep an eye on your bank account while you’re at it too.
This year, I learned a lot about budgeting. Not just with time, but also with $. So much money can leave your bank account when you’re having fun. Think about it: the transportation, the food, the shopping, the miscellaneous expenses that come up when you’re exploring. They’re so many ways for money to leave our wallet, but many avenues for us to be smart about how we spend our money also.
One easy way is to be aware. Be aware of how much money is in your accounts. Do you separate between checking and savings? How much is in each one? What percentage of your paycheck or allowance should go to each account?
For me, installing an app for my bank account on my smartphone has been a game changer. No longer do I have the excuse of saying that I got too lazy to check my account, because it’s now only one tap away. I’m not saying to be all-over your money and memorize it by the last digit, but be conscious of how much you’re spending and reflect on how you can minimize costs of your adventurous outings.
University tuition isn’t cheap, and from the trend line of costs, it doesn’t seem to be going down anytime soon.
Let’s avoid your bank account number going down too, shall we?
3. Take care of yourself. Listen to your body.
Depending on what decisions you make during your time in school, your eating, sleeping, and social habits may change. There’s a reason why Freshmen 15 is a thing, because our lifestyle routines change so drastically when we’re in university, especially if we’re living far from home and homemade meals. Eating out and trying different restaurants around campus will be fun, but trust me – it gets tiring after a while, and both your wallet and body will need a break too.
Your body is a part of you, so let it speak.
Are you feeling tired all the time, because you’re not getting enough sleep because of late night Netflix binges before a chemistry exam? Is your skin slowly starting to break out again, because of the lack of greens you put on your plate at the cafeteria? Are you feeling sick and light-headed, because you aren’t staying hydrated enough – or because you’re hydrating yourself with other liquids that aren’t water?
(I’ll leave this anonymous liquid untitled.)
When you’re away from home, especially far away from home, there’s no parent figure who’s going to come take care of you. Part of you being in university is learning to take care of yourself, which can come both mentally and physically.
Have some cough medication or aspirin in your room, have a water bottle by your bedside, meditate a bit, clear out the stuffy air in the room and sleep with your window open, and journal a bit before you go to bed each night.
There’s lots of stimulation and change in university. Stimulation and change aren’t bad, but they have to be adjusted to, and maintained in balance.
Take care of yourself kiddos, and keep growing, thriving, and surviving.
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