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Back To School Tips for College Students (and Their Parents)

  • 4 min read

The last few days of summer break are ticking down and a fresh semester is just around the bend. So with new dorms, new schedules, new relationships, and opportunities, it's the perfect time to put some new habits into motion that will set up college students (and their parents) for success.

The following suggestions are intended to help anyone who is in search of better routines that promote mental strength, physical wellness, and personal growth!

Brick In Where You Just Bricked Out

Rather than redefining your entire path, optimize what you already know. If a typical summer day consisted of weight training or swimming with the team from 8-10am, see if you can maintain the same habit on campus. Chances are, your internal clock is already conditioned to that approach and you'll likely have more consistency and success if you stick with what you know. The flip side is going to classes and trying to shove physical training into a hectic schedule.

The logic here is the same. Rather than trying to rearrange your entire future or create more time out of thin air, insert some healthy practices in the time slots you just won back now that your kid's gone to college. Perhaps you no longer have that commitment to shuttle teens to and from summer programs. Turn that into healthy you time. Make that window your new gym date.

Sure a little downtime is nice to catch your breath, but be intentional about reclaiming that time and turning it into forward momentum.

Use the 9-5 "Rule"

Students and Parents:
The goal of this approach is not to create an overarching, stiff routine. But at its root, if you treat the hours of 9 am to 5 pm as personal biz hours where you get stuff done, you'll grow far more disciplined, balanced and productive than ever before. Let's face it, the individuals who blow off class in the middle of the day, neglect to study during the free time in the afternoon or the parents who delay their errands are the ones who are rushing around later that evening or the following day trying to make up lost time. Commit yourself to stay head down and focused as you would on a 9-5 job and you'll find over time that you're way ahead of the competition. Again, take this approach with a grain of salt - it's not supposed to turn you into a robot, but it will prevent you from looking like a zombie after pulling an all-nighter trying to memorize months' worth of missed lectures.

Set Semester Goals

Students and Parents:
In addition to good grades and new knowledge, there's a lot you can accomplish in 15 weeks. Use that window and draft out some life goals in tandem with your studies. Do you want to save money or make some gains in the gym? Are you hoping to cut weight or tone up a bit? 

As students and parents, are there common goals that you can commit to together and celebrate progress when you're back together after finals?

Rather than epic New Years Resolutions that often fizzle out in no time at all, break down a semester into one or three-week bite-sized pieces and crush your new goals.

Branch Out 

Students and Parents:
This milestone presents a natural opportunity to diversify your habits, hobbies, and relationships. It's a perfect time to extend your circles and learn fresh approaches from new people. Gone are the days of seeing the same people day in and out. You'll find yourself with fresh chances to connect with and learn from other people who never crossed your path before.

While it's important to remember where you come from and who's/what's always going to be central in your life, don't be afraid to branch out and experience more from life. You may find that fresh perspectives deepen the foundations you already have, and still, others may offer creative solutions that make you a stronger person in the long run!

Stay Ahead of the Stress

Students and Parents:
Change is one of the biggest contributors to stress. All the change you'll be experiencing from new demands and social situations, fluctuating schedules and all the emotional responses that come from missing home/your kids can be a recipe for disaster.

Rather than chasing the stress, stay ahead of it and keep a clear head and a healthy body that fends off anxiety, stress, and worry before it officially creeps in. It's essential that you maintain a healthy diet, complete with natural supplements, rather than leaning on binge sweets or treats to curb your feelings. It's vital that you resist intoxicants and other alternatives that may momentarily take the edge off, but bite you in the long run.

Instead, rely on the core competencies that help all walks of life:
  • Get plenty of rest
  • Keep consistent, well-balanced exercise routine
  • Focus on what you can control and start there
  • Always stay hydrated
  • Listen to your body when it seems off or exhausted
  • Stay positive

These are the years where you reclaim or redefine what you're all about. So take charge and build a routine with boundaries, best practices, and balance to become the best you yet!