For many students, this will be the first time living away from home. This is a big deal. A time of transition and of figuring out how to manage on your own. With this can come stress, feeling overwhelmed and unprepared. You may have roommates too, so then you are learning how to live on your own but also how to live with other people. All of this paired with attending classes, managing your schedule, completing assignments and writing exams can make for a headache from the start. The good news though is that there are tons of things you can do to help find balance in your life and successfully transition into post-secondary without turning into a total basket case.
Set up a schedule for yourself. Know when and where all of your classes are. Know when your assignments are due and when your exams are. Set this all up in a day timer or in your phone calendar. Do this in the first week of your semester.
Get to Know People
Join a student club. Find people with similar interests or hobbies. Attend campus events. Make an effort to get to know roommates and find some common ground.
Time with friends is a great way to reduce stress. But if that is all you do, then everything else in your life is going to suffer, including money, work and your studies. Save yourself the headache and say no sometimes. If you have an assignment due, make time to complete it. If your friend’s lives are full of drama, it will have you a ton of stress in the long run to sometimes say “no thank you”.
Take time to do things you enjoy. Take a bath. Watch a movie. Listen to music. Cook or bake. Go outside. Self-care is often the first thing to go when stressed and it’s at the time when we need it most.
Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you should. Being away from home for the first time doesn’t mean go crazy. Drink responsibly, have a designated driver, go out with people you trust, don’t leave drinks unattended, don’t take substances from strangers and always have your cell and cab fare with you in the event you need to leave somewhere quickly. Yes, you are an adult which means more freedom but it also means you are ultimately responsible for yourself and your choices.
In communal living especially, don’t leave your stuff everywhere and not clean up after yourself. This is just plain disrespectful and will inevitably create conflict. Work out a schedule for shared living areas (bathroom, kitchen) for whose cleaning what and then stick to it. And be respectful of other’s needs for privacy and quiet time.
Use your words! If you are upset or struggling with something, express it, respectfully. Nothing will get accomplished with fights or the silent treatment. You are an adult so work it out like one.
Make a Budget
Being as student usually means you will be broke for a lot of the time. So this may mean not eating out all of the time or getting the new clothes you want. Sit down and make a list of all of your expenses each month. This includes rent, utilities, gas, insurance, a bus pass, groceries, cell phone bill, internet/tv, debt payments etc. Then see how much money you have monthly to cover these expenses. What’s left is what you have to work with for spending money. Don’t overspend!
If you are feeling overwhelmed, anxious, depressed or really homesick, talk to someone. Lethbridge College has free counselling services available for students. Plus there are tons of other resources for you that can help. Access support early. This an essential part of taking care of yourself.
Questions? Contact Personal Counselling at 403-320-3351 or email: email@example.com. You can also check out our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/LCcounselling