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Habits to get started in college/university.

A place of growth. New experiences. The future. This is what your college or university provides to you. It would be best to aim to become a better person when entering a high educational establishment. These places usually offer resources that promote your health and the improvement of yourself, like gyms, healthy food within food courts, libraries, and more. The goal I follow, and I think everyone should follow, is "I'm entering this university one way... and I will leave it better than the way I came." I will provide goals and habits that will make you better than you were during your first step on campus. While I am a student of a UC, many universities have similar establishments I may be listing. If they don't, I will be providing alternatives. No matter what year you are when you read this, start these habits today, and you will leave as a better person and a step closer to your future. These are habits to get started in college/university.

1. Physical activity:

The most apparent but critical type of habit to build is the one that promotes physical activity. Being more fit in your life will provide you more energy and motivation to tackle the other habits I will provide. Furthermore, physical activity promotes healthy and better brain functions, which can be very helpful when combating academic endeavors. Once you get your blood flowing and body moving, you can tackle any challenge ahead of you. Whether you do your physical activity in the morning before your classes or late at night, the most important thing is to have at least one activity a day (excluding rest days).

Many universities have a gym, usually included in the tuition fee. Since you are paying for it, use the gym to the fullest. In the gym, you can build muscles and perform cardio in an environment that promotes physical health. Furthermore, you can easily make it a part of your daily life. Right after math class, get your friend from the course and take a break from calculus by walking on the treadmill and talking about the upcoming party or what the food courts are serving. Sometimes, I get my roommate and lift weights, talking about fun events or good memories. It's super chill; half the time, it would feel like a smooth workout. I usually go alone, and even then, I would listen to music and watch videos between my sets (or work on homework). The thing is, I am improving my body while enjoying myself. You can do the same. Go to the gym on your campus, and while you may not see the changes in your body during the first few days, I promise that you will see the difference in months and years. Before you know it, you will walk to class, and someone will ask, "Woah, what's your routine?"

And all you have to respond with is: "It's enjoying myself through self-improvement."

If your campus doesn't have a gym, you can always get a gym membership in the nearest town. Most places like Planet Fitness are cheap, like $10 a month. Think about it: for $10 a month... you can transform yourself. It is one of the most significant investments one could commit to. Plus, unlike college gyms, these are open 24/7, so you won't have any time restrictions to get a workout in.

However, that's perfectly fine if you can't get into a gym. There are so many other ways to promote physical activity. Here are some:

  • Calisthenics: Search for some daily calisthenics routines that you can follow. These are perfect for building muscle using your body weight. They make your body more appealing and attractive by promoting a more fit image of yourself. People who hit calisthenics walk around with abs and a fantastic body structure. It is the perfect replacement for the gym, and the best benefit is that you can do it anywhere. In your house or outside, there are no limits to doing calisthenics. It is always available to you.

  • Biking: I actually implement this physical activity even though I go to a gym. I build muscle in the gym and bike for cardio. Biking is a perfect physical activity to include in your lifestyle. For example, let's say you have a job off campus. You could bike there instead of taking the bus or driving to work. Not only are you saving money, but you are also getting a workout in. Listen to music while bike riding and take the time to think to yourself while getting an exercise in. Biking does magic when relieving stress; most find it calm and peaceful. You can bike to a coffee place or wherever. Just bike when you can. If you don't have a specific place to go, make up a bike route for you to do with beautiful views and hit the pedals.

  • Jogs: Many athletes and physically active people jog. You burn a lot of calories and promote stamina when you are jogging. Plus, you can do it anytime, by yourself or with others. You could be on the phone while jogging and talking about your day. Jogging is perfect for getting a good cardio workout in. Just jog for at least 30 minutes a day, and you are all set to tackle the rest of your day.

  • Yoga: Even though yoga doesn't vigorously promote cardio or strength training, it still is great for improving physical health. Yoga improves flexibility, which helps with physical functions in everyday life, and it relieves stress. Doing 15 minutes of yoga daily or more will help improve your daily life, for you will feel better. Yoga boosts your mood and makes your days more positive. I suggest including yoga in your day; it will make a difference.

  • Walks: One can implement a more simple form of exercise in their day: walking. You may not realize it, but when you are stuck in your books or watching TV often, you may not walk as much as you think. Walking burns calories and keeps you on your feet. Walking can also be a good experience. For example, my friends and I often go on late-night walks to look at the stars and talk. We are being physically active while enjoying ourselves. You can do the same, go on lovely morning walks along a lake or path. Go alone or with others, whichever one you prefer. While walking is less physically intense than the other activities, remember this: Physical activity is better than none. So if you can't do anything else, get up and go take a walk!

2.Sleep:

Sleep is the most essential habit for everyday productivity and long-term growth. Many people go to college, ignoring the importance of sleep, which leads to a decline in performance, increases the chance of burnout, and causes adverse physical effects on the body. Here is a short list of adverse effects from lack of sleep:

  • Decline in thinking and concentration.

  • Memory complications

  • weight gain

  • weakened immune system.

  • uncontrolled mood swings

  • decline in balance.

  • Aging skin (skin will look older than it is- appear less attractive)

  • Decline in energy.

And there's more. Lack of sleep impacts your entire body in many different ways. So, the best way to improve your life while at college is to ensure you get the right amount of sleep. 7-8 hours of sleep is recommended for adults. Your daily goal should be to get that much sleep or as close as possible every day. Sleep is a top priority. Many students make the excuse of not being able to sleep through studying and homework. However, in many cases, lack of time management prevents students from sleeping. If students tackle their homework in parts and follow a set bedtime, they can finish their assignments on time and their beauty rest; they can't procrastinate. Procrastination is the thief of the night, and if students focus on fighting against it, they will get the sleep they need. Also, limiting distractions at night will help you get to sleep. Talk to your dormmates about bedtime, and turn off your phone when you go to bed. Get as much sleep as possible, and you will be better off. Sleep will change you for the better.

3.Time-management:

Time management will make all things possible in your life. Every day of your life, you have 24 hours... that is it. Too little time to waste but enough time to make something of yourself. Make a schedule and fit as much as you can into it. Make each day worth it in your eyes, and live it responsibly. Excellent time management will help you grow towards your goal and maintain good health and social relations. When managing your time, you should have time dedicated to sleep, self-improvement, social interactions, and responsibilities (Work, class, homework, meals, hygiene, etc). Split your day up into a reasonable schedule for you to follow and allow you to go on a healthy path to greatness. Also, make time to work toward your goals in your schedule. For example, I own a business that needs work and maintenance. Therefore, I put time in my day purely dedicated to working on the company and improving it to achieve my goal of having a successful business. Maintaining good time management will allow you to get the sleep you need, improve over time, and accomplish what you want.

When creating your schedule, remember to leave room for fun things. You will probably burn out and not follow the schedule if you don't. Furthermore, life is short, and living it during your college years is essential. Leave time for the things you love. Whether that's gaming, drawing, exploring the town, reading, etc, leave time for it.

If you're unsure how to manage your time, that's okay. There are plenty of sources online and guides for you to follow. There are even books on strategies to actively manage your time and make the best of it. Just open your device and start searching. Find a schedule that's appealing to you and give it a try. If it doesn't work out, change things around until it does. The most important thing about this habit is finding what works best for you and maximizing your time. If you do better showering at night than in the morning, do that. If you prefer to go to the gym mid-day than earlier, then do that. It doesn't matter when you do what you do; as long as you spend your time wisely and do it, that's what matters.

This habit will continue until long after university, when you're an adult with many responsibilities. It will prepare you for the world, and you will be ready if you learn time management.

4.Balanced Diet:

When I say have a balanced diet, I don't mean to start cutting your food intake by a lot. Depending on the case, I wouldn't suggest to cut it at all. When I am imposing, it is: eat healthier to catch up on your vitamin intake. Many people don't consume the daily vitamins they should because they eat mainly carbs and protein. It's very easy to not realize that the waffles and eggs for breakfast, chicken nuggets, and fries for lunch, and the steak burrito for dinner all didn't have vitamin C, essential for your immune system. I suggest that you have those same meals and add a side of salad and/or fruit with each of them. This will ensure that you are getting plenty of vitamins, leading to better skin, more energy, healthier hair (all making you more attractive overall), and better mental functions.

The reason why I am not suggesting cutting is because everyone has different body goals. Cutting is specific to weight loss, and if that is not a goal of yours, then no need to focus on it. Some people actually need to gain weight rather than lose. Furthermore, some college people are still growing and have yet to stop completely. Therefore, they must eat as much as possible to promote that growth.

Regarding a balanced diet, I suggest getting as many vitamins as possible. Anything to do with how much you eat is up to you and your body's goals. However, if you want to look and feel healthier, ignoring your weight, vitamins are the way to go.

You could get vitamins from a store in a pill or gummy. I suggest doing both; I did for quite some time. Vitamins in capsules or gummies are a sure way of making sure you get ALL your daily vitamins. Sometimes, we can't get the food that provides the right amount of vitamins on a specific day, like, let's say your food court ran out of bananas. It happens. However, I suggest both because you will be building a habit of consuming healthier food, and the extra vitamins from the food will do you better.

Access to healthier food is usually more accessible on a university campus. Universities often promote health because they want their students to go to the work field healthier and look better. It makes them, the university, look better. Furthermore, never forget that universities love their athletes. They have to ensure access to healthy food for their athletes so they can perform their best. The main point is universities have healthy food available, so take advantage of it. Get a salad from the salad bar when you go in for a burger. Make the most of what your school provides to you.

If you don't trust the food at your school or there's no healthy food available, go to the supermarket. Healthy food can be actually cheaper than other types of food. While this may all depend on where you live, spending money on more nutritious food is always worth it. Think of it like this: if you invest in healthy food, you invest in yourself. Yourself is always your most significant investment. So do it; in the end, it's worth it.

During your time in college, make sure you eat the right amount of vitamins. Eat healthier over the years, and you will see the improvement. Eating healthier ensures you graduate looking better than the way you came.

5. Drink mainly water:

I put this separate from the healthy diet habit because this habit alone is very impactful. Water is the human body's most significant essential, yet it is often forgotten. With so many sugary drinks like sodas and juice, some people often don't touch a drop of plain water daily. This is very unhealthy. While you may not do this, many people are dehydrated and need to get their daily water intake. So, imagine how much better you would become if you did. On any glow-up page or self-improvement page, you will find that water is one of the top things they push. Water improves you in every way possible. From clearer skin to more energy and better brain functions, water can make a huge difference. So drink your daily intake of water and watch the fantastic change takeover.

Now, you may be asking: What is my daily intake of water that I should be drinking?

My answer: No idea.

Haha, seriously, though. Water intake is different for each person. If I had to give you a flat number, a gallon(128 oz) of water daily would cover your daily intake. I followed this rule for a long time. However, that is more difficult to hit than it sounds, and it's likely more water than you need. You can calculate your daily water intake based on the pennmedicine.org method, but that is their general rule and not universal. They estimate it: For every pound you weigh, divide it by half, and that's how many ounces of water you should drink daily. For example, if you weigh 150 pounds, you should drink 75 ounces of water daily. Whichever way you choose, the main goal is to drink as much water as possible that's healthy for your body and will promote your health.

This habit is focused on drinking "mainly" water and not just more water because cutting sugary drinks and energy drinks will also improve your skin and health. Soda and juice are very high in sugar. Excess sugar leads to adverse health issues, acne breakouts, and drier skin. I am not saying that you have to cut sugary drinks completely. I suggest you drink less of those types of drinks if you drink a lot. One cup of juice or a can of soda a day is perfectly fine. A frappe from McDonald's or a mocha from Starbucks daily is no problem. Just watch out how much you drink in a day. Drink mainly water; it should be 90% water and 10% anything else you want. Treat yourself to other drinks, and enjoy yourself. Just be careful and make sure you drink mainly water.

Once you start drinking more water, you will see a change in your skin and energy. Water is essential in making sure you leave your university better than the way you came.

6. Financial responsibilities:

Budgeting, taxes, credit, investing, savings. Learn it all and practice it as soon as possible. The future is always a lot closer than you think. Now is the best time to get your money in line and practice handling your finances. Pick up your book, do your research, and get started.

When I turned 18, on my birthday, the first thing I did was open an investing account (and a retirement account, an IRA, a month later). It's never too early to start investing. Whether it's as little as $20 a month or as aggressive as $1000 a month, investing is investing, and it makes a difference. Of course, if you start with $20 a month, you will want to get more aggressive soon, but it will be best if you start investing $200 a month. $200 a month can and likely will lead to tens of thousands of passive income in the future. Invest as soon as possible. The sooner, the better. Start investing when you step into a university or college campus. You will be financially better off when you graduate, without a doubt.

Learn how to do your taxes as soon as possible. Watch a YouTube video or find an article to teach you. Doing your taxes correctly is very important. Remember, it's federal and state law that you do your taxes. If you don't, you will be fine and can be threatened with jail time. In California, you are not required to do your taxes if you make under $10,000 a year. However, even if you earn under the required mark, you should still do your taxes. Sometimes, you are overpaying in taxes and by doing your taxes, you can get money back that you paid earlier in the year. Also, doing it now while you aren't required is good practice so that you're less likely to make a mistake when you are needed to do taxes on a larger income. I assure you an error on a low income would not set the IRS off; however, on a huge income, they may get angry. Learn how to do your taxes cause you will do them for the rest of your life. Starting as soon as possible is always better.

Start saving your money. This is different from investing in a significant way regarding risk. You aren't risking your money when you save. First, if you still need one, open a savings account with no fees or minimal, preferably with a bank or credit union. Saving accounts have higher interest rates than checking, and when you store money in there, they slowly build a small amount of passive income. Very small, though, much less than investing, but it's still free money. Money is money; any free money is better than none. Save money for future emergencies or bigger plans like a car. Starting to save money is very important for when you are going to enter the world ready after graduating. Please keep in mind that saving comes before investing. Save enough to cover your life expenses for at least 3 months. Once you do that, start investing aggressively. Remember, start saving when you go to school; earlier is better.

Get your credit in line. Got a credit card? Use it. Need one? Get one. This is why: credit score. Many of us plan to attend medical school or a higher education after graduating. We will need to pull out a loan if we want to afford the education. For that, you need a good credit score. You need a good credit score if you graduate and want a house or car. Also, the better your credit score, the lower your interest rates and the more open opportunities. Improving your credit score as early as possible can make a huge difference in your life down the line. How do you improve your credit score? Use a credit card, and pay it off on time every time. Pay in full for the best result. Do this every month, and your credit score will improve over time. Trust me, you won't regret listening to me when you graduate with a high credit score.

It's important to understand you can not mess up your payments. Missing a payment can damage your credit score, which can take a lot of time to fix. Make plans to ensure that you pay off your credit card bills on time every time.

Budgeting is crucial if you want to do everything I just listed above. Start allocating your finances and budgeting smartly. Spend on the things that matter to you and not spend meaningless. Save and use coupons when you can. Limit yourself and build self-control. Always watch where your money goes and ensure you only spend on things you want and need. Many people spend more than they realize, and half the time they spend on something they can care less about. Do you not care where you get your coffee from? Then, instead of going to Starbucks, make your coffee at home. You must learn how to budget and make plans to allow you to do everything above. Put some money to the side for spending, others for paying for responsibility, and then the rest for what I mentioned above. If you use your money responsibly when you first go into college, you will be grateful when you leave and can sustain yourself. Practice being financially responsible.

7.Having Income:

If you don't already, regardless of your expenses, I suggest getting at least a part-time job during your school year. It can be on or off campus, only on weekends or throughout the week, having some active income. This is why: with jobs comes experiences like social interactions, handling money, teamwork, and reliability. The company relies on you to complete your tasks at a job. Jobs can put you in the habit of having responsibility. Furthermore, you're earning money, so why not!

For students who don't come from a wealthy background or have money already saved, getting a job can help them save money and work towards their future. If you walked onto the campus with no job, found a job, worked 4 years, and then graduated, I assure you that you are leaving better than you came. You can then use that money to help you find housing after college, pay for a car, or more. Having a college job can ensure you're financially better off than before you came. I own a business, and even I have a job. There is nothing wrong with actively earning money.

Jobs are just a life experience overall. At a job, you meet people of different lifestyles and classes within your area. It's easy to go to school, hang out with your friend group, and think everyone is like that. That's not the case. I work off campus, and my coworkers differ significantly from my classmates. They come in all ages; some are parents while others aren't, all with different struggles. They teach me different things and life lessons. Having a job ensures you learn more about the world from a perspective different from a student's. It makes sure you understand about your community as a contributor.

Lastly, having a job helps prepare you for future jobs. Most of us aren't financially free; we must get a job after graduation. Starting to work early will give us experience and ensure we learn working structures. Most jobs are exchange of services for money and have very similar setups. With practice and understanding, the habit of having a job will make working in the future easier. Preparing for the future is the best step you can take when improving yourself.

So, get into the habit of working. Find yourself a job up the street or on your campus. Ultimately, you can always volunteer if all else fails, and you can't get any jobs or interns. Volunteer opportunities can give you similar experiences with most benefits except money. Get an appointment if you can, though; you won't regret it.

Don't get a job that underpays or treats you poorly. This will be more damaging than beneficial towards self-improvement. If you get a job like this, don't hesitate to quit and find a better job. You're a student, not an enslaved person.

8.Networking/Social skills:

The last habit you will want to build for self-improvement in a university is social skills (networking). Get into the habit of meeting people. If you can leave your universities knowing many more people and having connections, you are winning.

It's very easy to think while you are in a university because everyone is in the same place, that y'all are going to the same place. However, that's just not true. Everyone is going somewhere vastly different. Everywhere they go, they will have a different experience, different lessons, and different outcomes. However, if you meet people and stay in contact with them, you can learn these lessons and benefit from their future (and they will benefit from yours.) Sounds weird? Let's say you got into a car crash and have legal questions regarding the accident. You aren't sure what to ask until you remember Jennifer from History class went on to be a lawyer in automobile accidents. You give her a call, and she helps you with connections and advice. Notice how someone from your university can impact your future?

Another thing is that conversations and social interactions are a skill. They need to be practiced for you to get better. In the future, if not already, you will need to be social to move up in your desired career or search for a significant other. Building the skill to be social during school will make it easier when you have to be social in the real world. So make it a habit. Say hi to the people who live on your dorm floor. Meet people on the food courts and in your classes. Be social and network. This is the time to do it.

Building a friend base is a form of self-improvement. By having people connected to you and behind your back, you avoid loneliness and can make living life more meaningful. Doing so makes you feel better and stay active, experiencing life to the best of your ability. If this isn't a form of self-improvement, I don't know what is. If you graduate with supporters who want the best for you and the trained skill to be social no matter where you are, I can assure you that you are better than you were when you walked on campus as a first-year.


In Conclusion:

I provided a lot of habit types but not specifics. That's for you to research and find which is best for you. When focusing on self-improvement when building habits at a university or college, keep everything I noted above in mind. If you follow these, I promise you will leave the campus a better person than the one reading this. Self-improvement is a journey, just like education. Making both those journeys into one will ensure you have an enriched life and a wiser future. Many students get stuck in books and parties, but there is more to life than just those. These habits will prepare your mind and body for what is more. So go ahead and get started! Start making habits and follow them so when you graduate, you can look in the mirror and say:

WOW!







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