Moving out of mom and dad’s house and off to college can be terrifying, expensive and exciting both for new college students and their parents. Parents often worry about making sure their child is fully prepared and kids are focused on having all their essentials, knowing the cool college hangouts, and looking unique to make themselves stand out. Unless one of the parents is a professor, the importance of preparing for what college will actually be about is often lost. Instead of worrying about mini fridges, lamps and TVs, its time students consider preparing for a healthy academic lifestyle.
1. Get a Bicycle
Both for exercise and getting around, the first year of college will remind students of when they were young kids. Many schools will not allow freshman to have a car. So it is fortunate that Tempe has several popular bike shops, like Tempe Bicycle and Dominic’s Cycling. Regardless of school policy, a bicycle is an inexpensive way to navigate the campus and neighboring town. It can also allow students to go exploring in the valley and hiking trails such as the ones in the Camelback area. Contact ASU to learn about self storage possibilities in the area if you brought too much stuff from home and need to make room for a bike in your dorm room. Also be sure you invest in a high-quality bike lock, preferably one you can string through the tires.
2. Learn Nutrition
Quite possibly the most important factor on this list for physical health, learning about nutrition will also help students handle their emotional and mental well being. Everything from fatigue, anxiety, depression and laziness can be traced back to a poor diet. Pick up a few books and films on healthy eating and start implementing practices before leaving home. Study up on eating habits, shopping for good food, how to read food labels and what questions to ask when eating out, which is particularly important for those with food allergies or restrictions. Go online and review restaurants such as Green, a vegetarians oasis located just north of the 202, or ranch markets in the area. If you think your school will not be able to accommodate your needs you will need to make some important contacts with fellow healthy-eaters and local groups working on bringing nutritious options to town.
3. Reach out to People, Professors Too!
The outgoing students tend not to struggle socially, but those more used to interacting via text messages and social media sites need to start reaching out to students groups, organizations and professors. Joining a community theater like Stray Cat Theatre, or going on a walking, biking or hiking tour at the Tempe Town Lake and beach park can be a great way to meet other people who are active and into similar activities. The more involved students become the easier a transition it becomes from moving away from a familiar home and into a new environment. Talking to professors is the number one way to maximize the learning experience of the classroom and professors often welcome their students to discuss material further. Academic relationships can turn into references, networking opportunities and lifelong friendships.
4. Develop Stress Management
College is not all fun and games. In fact it is mostly hard work and effort, at least if you want to get more than just a four-year party out of it. Most students have no healthy outlets for their stress and begin to feel overwhelmed by their workload. Read up on stress management tips from meditation on top of Piestewa Peak and breathing exercises to learning methods for letting go of problems that you cannot control. Along with a healthy diet and exercise, stress management can be a lifesaver for students taking on new lifestyle responsibilities on top of their schoolwork.
Remember those beautiful views that will be seen from the mountains and through the trails? You are going to want to write those down. Pictures make great memories but writing about your experiences will really help you understand how you feel and bring back the memories in full force when you go back to your journal later on in life. Journaling can also help through tough times and homesickness. It helps students keep the focus on themselves and put all their overwhelming activities and school requirements in perspective.