You're In College...Now What?!
The GatorWell team hit the pavement on campus to find out what advice sophomores and juniors would give to incoming students. When asked what they wish someone had told them to make their first year of college more successful, they offered some easy tips!
1. Expand your network and make friends you can trust:
The shift from high school to college can be intimidating. A new and much bigger environment, crowds of unfamiliar faces, and a daunting number of opportunities! How does one take it all in? First things first, adjust your mindset: You are young and flexible; challenge yourself to step out of your comfort zone!
College is a wonderful opportunity to make “friends for life” and there are numerous ways to engage in a multitude of activities on campus that allow you to interact with all sorts of people-from student organizations to intermural sports teams. Start at the UF Student Activities and Involvement website for good leads on campus organizations and events! You can also check out the entertainment activities hosted at the Reitz Union.
If you are looking to make the most of their college experience by getting involved in activities that will develop their professional goals, the Center for Leadership and Services is a great resource for matching your talents and interests with real world experiences. Also, check out the UF Undergraduate Research Database for opportunities to get involved in research covering all academic fields at UF.
2. Don’t Be afraid to ask for help when needed:
Though it may be uncomfortable to do so, one of the biggest recommendations from students was to seek help when you need it. Although it’s never too late to ask for help with a class, adjusting to college life, a relationship, your health, or otherwise, the longer you wait to get help, the harder the problem is to solve. So, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and get the help you need! Here are some great resources you may find useful for all the aspects of college life:
Information Technology Services
3. Work out with friends:
The transition from high school to college can also create challenges to staying active. Physical activity for at least 2 ½ hours a week is important. For a college student, working out is a powerful tool. In addition to the positive impact on your physical health, working out can actually grow your brain (an obvious plus for a student), combat anxiety, and lift your spirits!
The students we queried recommended working out with friends. Having a buddy (or several) to work out with is motivating! There are countless opportunities for physical activity on campus. You can assemble a crew or meet new people at one of the many RecSports venues on campus. Check out this video to get a taste of what they have to offer: UF RecSports Find Your Right Fit Video
4. Eat colorful Vegetables:
As a hard-working college student, making time for a balanced diet can be a challenge. With an ever changing schedule, long periods of study time and paper writing and the occasional “all-nighter” for a big test, the move to college may change your eating habits. Let the dietitian at the Student Health Care Center help you with the transition by making an appointment for free nutrition counseling. You can also learn how to navigate eating healthy in The Swamp by requesting a presentation from GatorWell
For a natural source of energy and nutrition, fresh fruits and vegetables are a great choice! It is important to eat regular and balanced meals to maintain a healthy energy level (CDC, 2013). The offerings at the numerous Gator Dining halls offer a wide variety of healthy options. Use this guide, Keeping It Healthy On Campus, to help make healthy food choices at any UF eatery. Although you already have a lot on your plate, make room for fresh vegetables and fruit!