Every year in college is an opportunity to pick up new habits and find out a little bit more about yourself. It isn’t always an easy process, but the more you grow comfortable with constantly challenging yourself the more fun it actually becomes.
When I navigated my way through college, the mix of family responsibilities and internships sometimes didn’t leave me much room to explore the personal development and social side of what those four years were supposed to afford me. When I think back on my college years there’s not much I regret, but there is enough that I’ve learned and wanted to pass along to the next generation of Latinx students who are navigating their own college careers.
Below I’ve pulled together 5 pieces of advice that will help carry you through those four years and help you get to know yourself a bit better.
Learn to spend time with yourself
College affords you so many moments to socialize and figure out who you enjoy being around, but by the same token, it gives you the opportunity to teach yourself to spend time alone. It isn’t always comfortable, but consider this your practice run in learning how to eat out without needing someone to sit at the table with you or being able to sit in the quiet without needing to distract yourself. The more you spend time with yourself, the more you get to know the person you want to become.
Take advantage of mental health services
Get acquainted with the mental health services your campus may offer and take full advantage of them whether you’re simply curious about therapy or you’re really needing additional support. The fact that services are traditionally free is a major bonus in testing them out while you’re in college.
Find out how to build routines around your life
Too often as you get busier, you assume that life will quiet down long enough for you to pick up a fitness routine, learn to budget or have time for socializing. The reality is that life will always be stacked with realities that ask of you and college is a great time to start building routines that fit around your life instead of waiting for gaps in it to appear.
Test out budgeting in different ways
There’s a bit of a safety net that college provides that can make learning (and making mistakes) around budget not feel as significant as they will when you’re post-college and paying loans, among other things. Budgets aren’t one-size-fits-all and learning which style works best for you can help set you up for future success.
Make a playlist of songs that capture college
This piece of advice is just a sweet reminder that as more time piles up between you and your college years, it’ll be harder to remember the little things that made you smile or got you through tough days. Creating a playlist (or keeping a journal) will serve as a time capsule you’ll be able to refer to over and over again.
Navigating college isn’t easy, but it can be fun and teach you a lot about yourself so long as you’re being intentional about your time there. It’s worth taking the early morning classes to catch sunrise every once in a while and it’s worth learning how to spend time with yourself so that you know that everyone you choose to spend time with afterward is someone you actually want to.