School Life-Hacks: Minimizing Your Stress
Leaving home to go to college begins with excitement and joy. However, after a few weeks a reality sets in that many students did not anticipate. You are living alone and although you have roommates you are still living alone.
The things you took for granted while living with your parents start to come to mind. Remember how easy it was to go to the laundry room and do you wash? There always seemed to be an unending supply of detergent. You parents made sure it was there.
How about when you wanted to have a bowl of cereal? You just reached up in the cabinet and there was a bowl and a spoon there for you to use.
Although your mom and dad drove you crazy about making sure the dishes were put in the dishwasher, or that you cleared out the sink when they were dirty, you always had a clean plate to grab.
Well dear student, college can be a rude awakening for the newly admitted student, and we have some suggestions for you to make campus life a bit easier.
Where is my food?
Living in a den of other baby foxes is not easy. Everyone is hungry for whatever is available. The dorm usually only has one fridge, and that is where you put your last slice of pizza, now it is gone. Labels or not, your food will disappear, and no number of tantrums will get it back.
- Instead of pizza, buy dry snacks that you can hide in sealable plastic containers in your laundry basket covered in your dirty clothing. Nobody wants to touch someone else’s dirty clothing. This works! If you want pizza, go out to the pizza shop and eat it there. You don’t need a whole pie if there is not a party.
- Buy fruit and put it on your desk- it’s healthier and rarely stolen
- Eat in the cafeteria and do not bring food back to your dorm room unless it is healthy.
- Pack your food in zip-lock bags that you have drawn dark spots on. It makes your food look spoiled. Use a dark green marker. There are places on the internet that sell these, but make your own.
- Daily shop- this is a good way to get your exercise in and not have to put a lot of stuff in the fridge. Go to the market right after classes and buy one meal. Eat it that night. You will get to know the folks that work in the market and maybe get a job there!
- Start a share program among your fellow dorm dwellers. Have a meeting about foods in the fridge and start a fund for everyone to be able to help with the groceries. Sometimes these do work.
When will I make friends?
This must be the most stressful of all scenarios. You were popular in high school and now it seems like nobody notices you.
- Jump into conversations with everyone you pass by. Speak in the morning, speak in the afternoon. Go to events. When your face is seen, you name is remembered. College can be a lonely place if you do not get out there and mingle.
- When your roommates say “come on go with us”, go. You are not in high school any longer and those old friends are not going to magically show up at your door. They are somewhere going through the same things you are at their colleges.
- Start a study group- Take the initiative to start a group. If you are of the nerdy type starting a group is the way to find those that are just as interested in spending the whole evening studying as you are.
- Look for groups on the college web page. Join several to start off, and leave those that don’t interest you as much as you thought they would.
I Feel Homesick
Don’t think that just because you miss your parents you are being a big baby. You are not alone. It takes a brave person to admit when they are homesick.
- This is a no-brainer. Call home! If you don’t want to whine to your parents in front of your friends, then do not call them in front of your friends. Take a bike ride and do it somewhere in solitude. For some reason (ego) guys find this harder to do than girls.
- Write in a journal- Keeping a journal is a good way to purge your feelings. We suggest starting your journal on the first day of college. When you read it 4 years later you are going to love seeing how far you have come.
- Call you parents often- They miss you more than you think. Don’t just call to ask for money, call them out of the blue and tell them about all the craziness that is going on at college. They want to hear about how much you took them for granted.
- There are going to be ups and downs in college and you are going to get through them all. Whatever you do, do not give up on your journey. In the long run you will benefit from sticking it out.