Independence. Freedom. Responsibility. Potential. These are all things young adults face when entering college. Students easily get caught up in the excitement of dorm life and forget about basic health and safety practices. Here are 5 things every college student should remember in order to stay safe, healthy, and productive at school.
1. Maintain a Balanced Diet
It’s all too common for college students to binge eat on less than healthy food options. After all, they’re working on a budget and often times, the most inexpensive food items are the unhealthiest. These include fast food joints, pizza, TV dinners, and whatever other carbohydrates students can find that are cheap and filling. If you’ve heard of the freshman 15 than you know many college students pack on the pounds during their first few semesters away.
Whether you opt for the meal plan the university offers or purchase your own food, try to maintain a somewhat healthy, balanced diet. That means getting your daily dose of vegetables, choosing whole-grain starches, and excess alcohol consumption. This may be difficult but it’s certainly not impossible. And you can counteract some of your indulgences with regular exercise and activity.
2. Stay Active
Speaking of staying active, this is another important part of college life. It’s all too easy for college students to party hard, take naps, and chill out in their dorm rooms performing little to no physical activity. Not only is this unhealthy for your weight but it can also have negative impact on your overall well being and mental state. Colleges offer many sports and activities for students to become involved in. Simply walking around giant college campuses is another great way to stay active. Try walking to lunch or your friend’s apartment instead of driving. Toss a football around the green or challenge your friends in a Frisbee tournament.
Most universities have workout facilities that put most local gyms to shame. The use of the gym is part of the tuition you’re paying, so get the most out of your money and use it! Avoid sitting in your dorm room for hours on end. This can lead to social isolation and quickly tailspin into depression and withdrawal. Get involved and you’ll be surprised at how many ways there are to stay active and healthy on campus.
3. Get Enough Sleep
This is another healthy and safety tip that is sometimes difficult for college students to obey. There’s always something happening either in the dorms or on campus that pulls you away from your studies and your sleep. Avoid partying until all hours of the night, especially if you have class or an important test the next day. Without proper sleep, both your mind and body are unable to function properly. Lack of adequate rest can result in mood swings, inability to focus, disorientation, relationship problems, and depression.
Try to keep a reasonable bedtime, at least during the week. But partying isn’t the only thing that keeps some college students awake all night. Excessive studying is another dangerous habit that can take its toll on your health and well being. To avoid this, try following this basic guideline for how much studying is enough.
4. Keep Risk Taking to a Minimum
College is all about new experiences, taking risks, and no regrets. But in order to remain safe and free from injury, it’s important to keep risk taking to a minimum. All decisions you make should be done with close consideration. If the activity or event you’re about to partake may result in personal injury or harm, you may want to pause and reconsider. Joining a fraternity or sorority are commonplace on many college campuses but some of these groups have outlandish traditions for hazing in new recruits.
Avoid any organization that forces you to do something you’re not comfortable with. If you plan to consume alcohol, do so responsibly. This means never leaving your open drink unattended, never drinking while intoxicated, and drinking in moderation. Alcohol is another reason for weight gain in college and can negatively impact your ability to focus and succeed academically.
5. Travel in Groups
This is one of the most important rules to follow when living on any college campus. This is especially true during the night time hours. Sadly, sexual assaults are all too common on college campuses. In fact, one out of four females will fall victim to some form of sexual assault before they graduate. That’s not to mean that there is danger at every turn but it does mean that being aware of your surroundings is imperative.
The best way to deter an assailant is to travel in groups. If this isn’t always possible, travel with at least one friend. It’s also important to know your campus well and locate the security office upon enrollment. Campus security may even offer additional resources including safety maps and emergency phone stations. You can also prepare yourself by carrying safety devices such as a flashlight or pepper spray.
For most people, college is one of the best, most memorable times in their lives. The only way to get the most out of your college experience is to do so in a safe and healthy manner. Follow these tips and you’ll be headed for four years of health, happiness, and success.
Article Submitted By Community Writer