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10 habits for academic success & mental wellbeing as a student

Starting college or university marks a significant transition in your life, filled with excitement, challenges, and opportunities. It's a time when you expect academic excellence and personal growth to go hand in hand – but it’s not that easy!

Student writing in a notebook, slouched on a grey couch

The journey can be demanding and stressful, making you feel overwhelmed or demotivated. Cultivating positive habits that promote both academic success and mental wellbeing is key to navigating this phase successfully and making the most of your student life.

Here are 10 good habits that can make a big difference in your life as a student and beyond.

1) Learn to manage your time effectively

One of the most valuable skills for university and college students is time management. Balancing classes, assignments, extracurricular activities, and personal life can feel quite overwhelming sometimes – especially in your first year!

Developing a structured daily schedule helps allocate time for studies, relaxation, and socializing. So why not invest in a nice weekly planner or diary to get organized?

By setting priorities and adhering to a routine, you can reduce stress, avoid last-minute cramming, and create a sense of control over your student life.

2) Prioritize (real) self-care

Self-care is often neglected in the pursuit of academic achievements, which can lead to burnout. Taking care of your physical, emotional, and mental wellbeing is not a luxury – it’s absolutely essential.

Let’s take a step back and define what self-care really is. If you see bed-rotting and expensive treats as self-care, think again. It's not about shirking responsibilities but finding a balance between work and rest, prioritizing wellbeing to better care for yourself and others.

Adequate sleep, a balanced diet, regular exercise, and mindfulness practices contribute to increased energy levels, improved concentration, and reduced anxiety.

Prioritizing self-care as a student enhances your ability to handle academic and personal challenges effectively. Remember to check in with yourself regularly and swap instant noodles for some greens whenever you can.

3) Cultivate healthy study habits

Developing effective study habits significantly impacts academic performance and mental health. But how can you do that?

Creating a dedicated study space and breaking tasks into manageable chunks are two very effective ways to help you study better. Active learning techniques, such as summarizing and teaching concepts to others, also enhance comprehension and retention.

Effective study habits reduce the pressure associated with exams and assignments. Head to the platform to check out other students’ advice and study techniques. This way, you can try out a few techniques for size and find the ones that work best for you.

4) Build a support system

Student life can be isolating, especially when facing academic or personal challenges. It's important to recognize that seeking help is a sign of strength, not weakness. You’re allowed to struggle sometimes – everyone does!

Establishing a support system comprising friends, family, professors, and campus resources can provide emotional comfort and practical guidance during tough times.

Colleges and universities often offer mental health support options like TalkCampus or counseling services to help students navigate stress, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Ask your institution about available options today!

5) Set achievable goals for yourself

Setting realistic and achievable goals is essential for maintaining motivation and preventing burnout. Including goal-setting in your weekly routine can provide a sense of purpose and direction. What are yours?

Having a think about your own objectives for the day, week, month, year and beyond can help you focus on what’s really important.

By breaking long-term objectives into smaller, attainable milestones, you can experience a sense of accomplishment, boosting your self-confidence and overall wellbeing as a student.

6) Adopt stress management techniques

Mindfulness practices, such as meditation, deep breathing, and yoga, can significantly impact mental health. These practices promote relaxation, reduce stress, and improve focus. Everything you need as a student!

Integrating mindfulness into daily routines enhances self-awareness and equips you with valuable tools to manage student life more effectively.

7) Engage in extracurricular activities that bring you joy

Who said all good habits for students had to revolve around academic achievements? Participating in extracurricular activities aligned with personal interests can promote a sense of belonging and fulfillment.

Involvement in clubs, sports, volunteer work, or artistic pursuits fosters social connections, reduces isolation, and contributes to a well-rounded student experience. Is there any club or association you’d like to join?

Find something you love and allocate some time for it every week. Engaging in activities beyond academics will help you build a healthy work-life balance in the future!

8) Embrace failure as a learning opportunity

That’s a tricky one, but an excellent habit to adopt as a student if you want to achieve your goals.

We know that the fear of failure can be paralyzing and hinder personal growth – but you should understand that setbacks are a natural part of any journey.

Embracing failure as a learning opportunity fosters resilience and a growth mindset. It allows you to develop problem-solving skills, adaptability, and the ability to bounce back from challenges.

Take the habit of asking for as much feedback as possible from your professors when you get a bad grade, and don’t be afraid to ask questions if you still struggle to understand why you failed. You can also ask students who got better grades to lend you their paper to get an example of what was expected of you. A bad grade is not the end of your academic dreams!

9) Balancing social life and academics

While academics are a priority, building social connections is equally vital. You read that right – making friends is a good habit! Friendships and social interactions provide emotional support, reduce stress, and enhance overall happiness. That’s also true after you graduate!

Make an effort to participate in social events, connect with peers, and build a network that extends beyond the classroom. You might think it’s secondary or that you don’t have time for this, but if you try to allocate even a little bit of time to build these connections, you’ll give yourself a chance to build friendships for life.

10) Practice gratitude

Cultivating gratitude involves recognizing and appreciating the positive aspects of life. Keeping a gratitude journal or simply taking a moment each day to reflect on things one is thankful for can do wonders for your overall wellbeing.

It might feel a bit strange at first, but if you try, you’ll soon get into the habit of looking for the positives in your day. Gratitude is a wonderful tool to promote a positive outlook, reduce stress, and foster emotional resilience as a student.

Going to college or university is a transformative phase that shapes not only academic success but also mental wellbeing in the long run. That’s why it’s so important to adopt good habits as a student!

Be patient with yourself and don’t be discouraged if you struggle to stick to a perfect routine. The important thing is to keep trying!


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