College life is a lot of fun, but for first year students a lot can happen. The change in environment and eating habits often results in ill-health for many college students. Being away from home for the first time, many students do not do a good job at first of taking responsibility for themselves.
Preparing for College
Before leaving home there are some things that you should do to help you cope with the first couple months of college life. Some of these will help you remain healthy and allow you to manage your new routine. Some of these are:
- Going to your family doctor for a check up
- If you have a health condition, get all the facts about your condition and treatment. You will need this information to share with the doctor or clinic at your college and if possible, get a referral to a doctor at your new location.
- Make sure you get all your vaccines before going off to college. This will help to protect you from many avoidable conditions
Keeping Healthy While at College
Many freshmen either lose or gain a lot of weight. Gaining weight is especially easy as many of them start eating junk food. Not many freshmen want to bother with cooking or making an effort to eat nutritious foods. However, eating properly while at college is not very difficult. Ensuring that you eat properly just takes a little planning, which may involve doing the following:
- Start your day with a good breakfast. Try not to go hungry during the day and make an effort to have at least three meals per day. Allowing yourself to go hungry normally results in overeating
- Avoid buying and keeping junk food and unhealthy snacks around. If you have to buy junk food, avoid eating it late at night. For late night study sessions, fruits and vegetables are better choices for snacking.
- Learn about portion sizes as this will minimize overeating.
- Drink lots of water as keeping hydrated helps with concentration and will also help prevent overeating
- Do not eat to relieve stress
- Many young people at college drink, however, do this only occasionally if you decide to drink. You should definitely avoid drinking as a regular part of your everyday activities.
- Take supplements if you are unable to eat properly
Other tips for remaining healthy while at college include:
- Getting adequate sleep is a priority for everyone especially college students. This will help you perform better in class, and will also help keep your immune system working properly. Napping during the day if you have time is a great way to get more rest. You should aim for a minimum of six hours sleep each night.
- Exercising and keeping fit should also be a part of your healthcare plan. Many colleges have gyms and it is a good idea to become a member. You can also do other things to stay physically active, including walking to classes and the library as much as possible.
- Find ways to remain stress free. This can involve joining a social club or group and learning how to handle the pressure of exams.
It is also important to know where the medical center, hospital or other healthcare facilities are located. Also, tell your roommate or someone else in your dorm that you are close to if you have a chronic health condition. In dorms where many students share a bathroom, you should wear flip-flops in the shower. This way, you will avoid fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
Following these basic tips will help you avoid the Freshman 15 (gaining weight) and enjoy your first year of college. Once you develop these habits of healthy living on campus, your remaining years there should be less stressful. You will find that after a few months, it will become easy to maintain good habits in terms of eating, sleeping and keeping active.