Three Tips for a Healthy Transition to College
The new school year is about to start. Many teens are off to college and out of their parents’ house for the first time. Although this is an exciting part of life, it can also be full of unexpected challenges and stressful situations. Unfortunately, some students have a hard time with the adjustment to completely managing their lives. Many students will be tempted to binge drink to fit in with the new crowd, smoke pot to relax, borrow pain pills for sport injuries or try study drugs due to lack of good study habits.
To help maintain a good start for a great year, here are a few tips to help make the transition to college easier and healthier:
- Get some sleep. Most students probably did not get the proper amount of sleep a lot in high school and typically, they sleep less in college. Understand that the brain does not fully mature until around the age of 25. Getting more than six hours of sleep helps the brain continue to develop, allows a person to retain more knowledge, and provides better health overall. Sleep will help more to take that test than cramming all night long.
- Change can be a trigger for mental health disorders; seek help if needed. Although the freedom of college life is exciting, the new experiences can be challenging. This stress can cause a lot of anxiety/nervousness, and perhaps even bring out a previously unknown mental health disorder. Health centers on campus are there to help, and can provide information confidentially. Talking to a mental health professional to determine what kinds of resources are available is a good first step. Do not be embarrassed to ask for help.
- Learn from mistakes. Students feel a lot of pressure, but those experiences are a part of life and can help you become much stronger. As students go through a process of learning about themselves, mistakes are bound to happen; know that it is okay and you will get through it. The best way to achieve positive mental health is to learn from past mistakes, make corrections if necessary, and start going in the right direction. Resist negative peer pressure and the temptation to do what you know you should not do. Just because you can, does not mean you should.