RU 101 is a six-part series offering tips for college life from professors and other experts at Radford University.
Whether it’s your first day of college or the start of your senior year, being on campus can be stressful. Good habits can help you stay healthy and alert, says Kimberly Carter, director of the School of Nursing in the Waldron College of Health and Human Services, who offers the following tips for the first semester and beyond.
- College students are notoriously sleep deprived. Staying out late with friends and studying all night are part of the campus experience. But lack of sleep can hurt your concentration in class, slow your reaction time and lower your resistance to colds and flu. Try to get at least six hours of sleep before class days.
- Being away from home can cause loneliness and depression. If you’re feeling blue, talk to a friend, family member, professor or advisor. Don’t isolate yourself.
- You grew up hearing that you should eat a balanced diet. That’s still good advice. Getting your protein, vitamins and minerals is essential to staying healthy.
- Fresh produce and whole grains may cost a bit more, but you can hold down the grocery bill by cutting out items like soft drinks and candy that have little nutritional value. Also, don’t shop when you’re hungry – you’ll have a tendency to buy more than you need.
- Don’t forget that water is part of a healthy diet.
- You don’t have to join a gym to make exercise a part of your daily routine. A walk across campus or through town can keep you fit and balance the academic demands of school. While you’re taking a break, add relaxation exercises or meditation to clear your head.
- Go back to basics. Wash your hands often, don’t share food, drinks or makeup, and avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth unless you know your hands are clean. If you do get sick, take a break to rest and recuperate.
- Finally, practice abstinence or monogamy. If you choose not to do so, always practice safe sex.