3 Healthy Habits for Your First College Semester

Last updated: Jun 30, 2021

As you prepare for your first college semester, you might be feeling different emotions: excited to start a new chapter in your life, sad to leave your friends behind, or nervous to attend college. Although there isn’t a one-time solution to guarantee you’ll have the best first semester ever, here are three healthy habits for college students that can help you maintain your overall wellness.

Healthy Habit #3: Create a Support System

College life includes dealing with obstacles, interpersonal conflicts, and academic struggles. Be prepared to meet these challenges by surrounding yourself with people who can help you overcome academic or personal issues.

If you’re struggling with a class or two, don’t feel like you have to figure it out all on your own! Professors have office hours to allow students to ask questions about assignments and exams, discuss grades, or get extra help. Office hours are a great opportunity to receive customized support from your professors based on your academic needs and goals. Tutoring is another option to help you review and study the material you learn in your classes.

But what if you feel like a class you registered for during your first semester just isn’t for you? Talk to your academic advisor to see what options you have. Academic advisors are there to support your academic goals and provide the answers you need to be successful.

Aside from academic issues, personal or emotional problems can impact your health and well-being if they aren’t addressed effectively. Many colleges offer counseling services as part of their student health services and if they don’t, they will know who to refer you to so that you can receive the support you need. Counseling, whether individually or in a group, helps you learn how to resolve conflict, cope with unexpected issues, and maintain your mental wellness.

Adding your friends and family to your support system is important, too. They are the people who know you best, and you might feel more comfortable sharing with them any frustrations, worries, or problems that you have. They might not always be able to fix it, but they can be there to listen as you express your thoughts and feelings.

Student researching healthy habits for her first college semester on her laptop.

Once you have a support system, you’ll know who to go to when a problem comes up. With support from your family, friends, and faculty, you won’t have to go through it alone.

Healthy Habit #2: Manage Your Time

When you’re hanging out with friends and having fun, it can be easy to forget that you have a paper to write, an exam to study for, or a lecture to listen to before class. Don’t fall into the habit of doing your assignments whenever you feel like it or when you remember. Instead, manage your time so you can focus on your classes and still have fun.

Everyone manages time differently and uses different tools or study apps to do so. That is understandable since we’re all different. However, make it a priority to figure out what works best for you.

Consider the following questions as you decide how to allocate your time:

  • Do you prefer to study in the morning or late at night?
  • Do you prefer to have your assignments done before the weekend or are you okay with doing them during the weekend?
  • On what days do have the most work to do?
  • What does your schedule look like this week or month?

Once you have the answers to these questions and similar ones, plan accordingly. Since professors often tell you about your assignments, quizzes, and exams beforehand, make a note of them in your agenda, or you can add them to the electronic calendar on your phone. Many learning management systems like Canvas LMS allow you to sync your academic calendar listing your assignments and their due dates to your personal calendar on your phone. You can easily remember what upcoming assignments you have for each class and know when they are due.

Healthy Habit #1: Unplug From Technology

We spend a lot of time using technology to connect, learn, or find entertainment. Eventually, we need to unplug and find other ways to keep ourselves busy with screen-free activities.

  • Get some exercise.
  • Have a meal with your family and friends.
  • Build or create something new.
  • Read a book for fun.
  • Watch a movie or binge TV shows.
  • Find new hobbies.

Do yourself a favor and unplug for a little bit. Your health will thank you for it!

Developing healthy habits is essential to having a productive and successful first college semester. Although the transition from high school to college can be challenging, rely on your healthy habits to get you through it!

Student practicing a healthy habit by studying outside in nature during her first college semester.

If you have questions about how USF helps freshmen transition to college life, the Office of Admissions is always ready with answers. You can contact us online or by phone at 813-974-3350.