By Eula Mengullo, September 20 2022—
Entering post-secondary can be a daunting milestone. The pressure of being in a new and advanced learning environment tends to get overwhelming. Between a full-academic courseload, work and life in general, it can become so easy to neglect our well-being without even realizing it. In navigating university for the past four years, here are some practices I wish I would have known and implemented sooner.
Prioritize sleep…or try to, at least
I know it may not seem like the most important thing in the world when you’re stacked with homework and deadlines, but one of the best things you can do for yourself is to establish a consistent sleeping schedule. Running on caffeine with only a few hours of downtime can only last for so long before you drive yourself to burnout. Ensuring that you get at least minimum hours of rest everyday goes a long way in maintaining your mental and physical well-being.
Making meaningful connections is one of the best parts of university. Having a community of people can make all the difference when school starts to suck the life out of you. While it’s typically difficult to make new friends in classrooms, University of Calgary offers a variety of clubs and organizations that students can take part in. I highly suggest joining a club that piques your interests or speaks to your values. I found that extracurriculars often became my refuge when I needed a break from my desk and the library. Volunteer, try new things, explore — you never know what you might find out there.
Stop obsessing over a bad grade
If you’re a fellow perfectionist, I understand how insanely difficult it is to rid yourself of this habit. It’s so easy to get caught up in measuring success according to letters and percentages. But consistently obsessing over a bad grade is counter-productive and only delays progress. Take the lesson, grieve the result and move on. Believe me, you still have plenty of room to bounce back.
Ask for help
Learning when to ask for help is a sign of strength, not weakness. Your professors want you to succeed more than you think they do and most of them are always willing to help out. Additionally, there are a variety of resources available to students on campus. The Wellness Centre offers a wide range of services ranging from medical to mental health support. Prioritizing your mental and physical well-being is the best way to ensure optimal academic performance.
University is a marathon, not a race. Even if you think you are lagging behind from your peers, you are almost always right where you need to be. Take the time to slow down whenever you can. In such a fast-paced environment, it is ever more crucial to find time for ourselves and the things we enjoy outside of academia. It’s always easy to just sprint full steam ahead, but there is as much joy and peace in appreciating where you are right now.
University can be such a great experience if you make room to take care of yourself.