Strategies for Success


How Can I Be More Successful as a College Student?

Be a successful college student is not easy, but it becomes a lot easier if you remember to take care of yourself, especially when you keep focused on maintaining your Physical and Mental Health.

 Studying Student

Why You Can’t Be a Successful Student If You Don’t Take Care of Yourself

There is a lot of advice given to students about how to be successful in college: study two hours a night, don’t work a full time job and take a full class load, don’t miss class, etc. But one of the most important keys to being able to succeed in college isn’t usually emphasized enough: taking care of yourself.

If you don’t have your physical and mental health in order, it becomes so much harder to do all of the things that make for a successful student. If you’re seriously sick, severely injured, or suffering from depression, no amount of studying or coming to class is going to balance out how much more difficult college will be for you. If you want to set yourself up for a successful and manageable college experience, you have to start by making sure that your mind and body are ready for the challenges you will face.

Focus on the Physical

For a long time, the phrase “freshman fifteen” has been a part of the college conversation: the idea that most students will gain weight in the first year of college. There’s a good reason for this too—college is stressful, your food choices and food budget is often reduced, and you may not have as much time for exercise as well as spending more time sitting down in class, studying, and on the computer.

Unfortunately, when your health habits change and especially when your health declines, your ability to learn, focus, and stay motivated to do quality work takes a hit as well. With the hectic nature of college, not to mention a job and a social life, it’s easy to lose track of your health unless you remind yourself to focus on keeping up with healthy habits. You know what’s best for your body; just make sure that the distractions of college life don’t get in the way.

Focus on the Mental

There is a curious connection between going to college and experiencing changes in your mental well-being. Often, the stress of starting or struggling in college can have a deep impact on your state of mind, and many new students find themselves dealing with issues like depression, anxiety, and other mental issues for the first time. In addition, the typical age that most students start college is also an age where certain mental health issues can first become noticeable. For many students, simply being so far away from home and the group of friends they had in high school is itself enough to make college a rough experience—and there’s nothing wrong with that.

The two most important things to remember are that you’re not alone in these experiences and that there is plenty of help out there for you. Don’t expect yourself to be able to fully engage in your classes and class work if you’re dealing with mental health issues without seeking help, and don’t fall into the trap of seeing yourself as “broken” or feeling that you’re “just making excuses” for not doing well. Your mental health is a serious thing, and taking it seriously is an important step toward making sure you’ve set yourself up to succeed.