PAMF Health Blog

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Tips for Teens Heading to College

Posted on Sep 3, 2013

Going to college can be an exciting and stressful time for teens. In college, they’ll face many new responsibilities along with sudden independence. They may have a roommate for the first time in their lives, and lose privacy they value. They can study all night – or party all night – without anyone suggesting they slow down.

Help your teen prepare. Print these tips and tuck them in your teen’s suitcase – or email this blog post – to share gentle reminders on how to keep college life in balance.

Six  Life-Balance Tips for College Students

1. Set priorities.

Decide what needs to be done first. Don’t try to do everything in one night. Prioritize what needs to be done early in the week, and what can be done later. If you are focusing on a few projects a night rather than worrying about all of them every night you will do a better job on each assignment.

2. Stay well-rounded. 

Being well-rounded is important. However, you do not always need to the captain of the team, lead in the play and employee of the month. Choose one or two activities that you can enjoy, while also getting your college work done and having time to relax with friends.

3. Set realistic goals.

Set goals that you can see yourself achieving within a week, two weeks or maybe a month. Setting goals that are too large can make you feel more stressed if you cannot realistically achieve them.

4. Acknowledge your feelings.

It is normal to feel overwhelmed when things get busy and assignments are due. If you are feeling especially stressed or depressed, look at everything you are involved in and see if there are one or two things you can cut out.

5. Take care of yourself.

Eat a balanced and healthy diet, exercise regularly and get enough sleep to relieve stress.

6. Schedule time for you.

Set aside 30 minutes a day to do something that makes you feel good. Read a book or a favorite magazine, take a walk or ride your bike. This time that you take for yourself will help you focus when you sit down to finish your course work. You can also try other ways to deal with managing stress such as yoga and meditation.

Read more tips and suggestions that can help bring balance into your life if you find yourself feeling tired, stressed and unfulfilled.

Staff at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) teen health and wellness program contributed to this blog post. PAMF’s teen health website content is reviewed by Nancy Brown, Ph.D., of PAMF’s Health Education Department.