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Observer Editorial: Key things to keep in mind at college

| Friday, September 7, 2018

Congratulations, first year students — you’ve survived the first three weeks of college. But even as you’re adjusting to campus life, the next four years can seem a little daunting, and that’s OK. Here’s the advice that we, as an Editorial Board, have to offer for navigating college and making the most of your time here.

Time management is key.

A professor once said, “In a day, get eight hours of sleep, do eight hours of work and have eight hours to do what you will.” This takes concentration. Do homework when you set aside time to do homework. Put the phone away, buckle down for a couple hours and you’ll discover a lot more free time at the end of the day to wind down and have fun with your friends.

Take care of yourself.

Eat healthy meals, drink tons of water and build time into even the most hectic of days to de-stress. What this looks like depends on the person — it might mean a bedtime ritual, a spare 15 minutes to meditate, a long run or time set aside each day to read a book. In a place where demands on your time are constant, carving out time for yourself is key.

Use your resources.

Your college community wants you to succeed. Start off on the right foot and utilize the resources available to you. If you’re struggling in a certain class, get a tutor at the beginning of the semester. If you are getting sick and don’t feel like leaving campus, head to the Health Center. If you need someone to talk to, look to your hall staff, trusted friends in the dorm or Campus Ministry.

Get involved in your classes and challenge your own ideals.

No matter what people may say, the ultimate reason you are at college is your education. Take advantage of it. People get caught up in constantly worrying about GPA and finding the easiest classes to get an A. We hate to say it, but if that’s how you view your college education, you’re doing college the wrong way. Take classes that interest you. Challenge yourself. Participate and ask questions. Get to know your classmates and your professors. You’ll become a better person because of it.

You don’t have to be locked into the friends you currently have forever.

If you’re feeling a bit uneasy because you became fast friends with the first people you met, but now, a few weeks in, you’re not so sure if you can see these people as your future bridesmaids or groomsmen, it’s OK. Don’t be afraid to look outside your initial group of friends if you’re feeling stuck, anxious or uncomfortable. Look outside the hall to classes and clubs. You might just make some additional relationships you’ll cherish forever.

Don’t get caught up in the idea that college has to be the best four years of your life.

College is the most likely going to be the most formative period of your life so far. Your time at Notre Dame, Saint Mary’s or Holy Cross might also be the best four years of your life, but it is also difficult, stressful and exhausting — all of which can be harmful for your mental health. Know that you are not alone in what you are feeling and reach out when you need help. Counseling and wellness services on all three campuses are always a call or bike ride away.

Make friends with students on other campuses.

The college campus bubble is real, and so are its effects. Freshman year is a time when the securities of a closed campus can seem warm and welcoming, but don’t fall too comfortably into this. One of the great things about this community is that it is made up of not just one, but three wonderful schools with all kinds of people to get to know. Reach out! If you meet someone that happens to be from a different campus than you, don’t hesitate to pursue this friendship. You never know who could end up being your best friend.

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