OLIVER MCKENNA | DAILY EVERGREEN FILE
My time as a WSU undergrad is coming to an end and while that is hard to believe, I have been reflecting on the memories I’ve made, the things I’ve learned and advice I have for students who still have a ways to go before they can do the same.
College is an exciting time full of new experiences, but it can also be very difficult. Deadlines, finding a balance and being away from home can all cause a lot of stress for students. For someone who has been through it for three and a half years, I know the ups and downs of college first-hand. Here are my 10 tips to make the most out of your time in college and how to take care of yourself while doing it:
Find something non-school related that you love to do. Completing your assignments and carrying out your duties at your job are of course important, but it is also crucial to take breaks and do something for yourself when you can. Whether it’s playing an instrument, working out or drawing, finding a way to de-stress and refocus will be really helpful if you are feeling overwhelmed.
Keep in touch with family and friends. Being far from home can be hard for some people, so it is good to find a way to reach loved ones when you get the chance. Phone calls, Skype or even texting can help you feel connected to home.
Use a planner and make lists. As someone who likes to be organized, this was so helpful for me. I prefer to hand write my tasks, but you could use an online one too. You would be surprised how good it feels to cross an item off your to-do list and it will save you the panic that comes when you were about to go to sleep and realize you had an assignment due.
Join a group or club. It is easy to feel isolated in a place like Pullman but joining a community can turn that around fast. I found some of my best friends after joining The Daily Evergreen and working here allowed me to stay busy and feel less alone. There are over 300 registered student organizations on campus and joining one could completely change your time at WSU for the better.
Get involved with your college or school. Another great way to make friends, stay busy and be successful is to check out any opportunities or clubs that could help advance your skills. For example, as a communication student, I was a part of Cable 8 and the Association for Women in Communication. These organizations really helped me grow and meet new people.
Study abroad. I cannot stress this one enough. Studying abroad is an amazing way to learn in a new environment, meet new people and gain the experience of a lifetime. There are plenty of options to choose from and resources on campus to help you with your decision.
Get out of Pullman. For me, sometimes getting out of Pullman for the day was really helpful not only for a break but also to help with the feeling of isolation. Day trips to Spokane or to the dunes were always really fun and a nice change of scenery.
Do not be afraid to ask for help. This goes for anything whether it be with schoolwork or with mental health. Find a mentor, friend or counselor that you can go to if you need to talk. Try to erase any feelings of being a burden and get the help you need.
Breathe. This sounds silly, but sometimes taking a few minutes to close your eyes, breathe deeply and reconnect with yourself and the present can be really impactful. There are different ways to do it too, so you can find what works for you. I like to turn on an essential oil diffuser, make a cup of tea and put on a 10-minute mediation video to guide me through the process.
Have fun. Another one that may seem obvious, but sometimes you need this reminder. For a while, I spent a lot of time focusing on the negatives when in reality, college is an important experience and it goes by fast so try to make the most of it.
I hope these pieces of advice will help you get through the rest of your time at WSU, from one Coug to another.