Happy college students have a few things in common.
College is hard. I have experienced times of deep sorrow in these past two years, and times of profound joy. But in these seasons, I can see the difference in my actions and what I put my time into. In the midst of my college experience, I’ve been able to see who is a content college student, versus someone who is struggling to get by. And the happy ones have a few things in common.
Without further ado, here are 10 things every happy college student does.
1. They have community
Everyone I know who is in LOVE with college has a group of loving people behind them. They have gone out of their comfort zone and put their time into friendships. They have a supportive community who mourns with them when life sucks, and rejoices with them when life is all fine and dandy.
I remember a time when I did not have a community. I would sit in my dorm room and sulk at night, and I felt like I didn’t have many people to confide in. I had to muster up the strength to get to bible studies, to hang out with people I wasn’t close with, and to try out organizations. And these efforts eventually led me to the community I have today.
2. They don’t let stress consume them
Happy college students do not let their stress get the best of them. Instead, they focus on what they can control. Instead of stressing about a million assignments or tests they have, they focus on studying and putting in the work. They do more than they talk about doing. They don’t let the little things get to them.
This is a familiar struggle for me because I tend to stress about things that are out of my control. I am happier when I focus on what I can control, than stressing about what’s out of my hands. This looks like me studying for a test, but not worrying about the grade.
3. They don’t stay in their room all day
This is a hard one. I remember a difficult time of my life when I did not get out of my room much. It was comfortable to sit in the confines of my room, it felt safe and secure. But it was lonely.
Things started to look up when I got out of my room and out of my comfort zone. Many good things start to happen when we step out of our comfort zone. This could look like shutting off Netflix to go hang out with people we don’t know too well, or trying something new.
4. They don’t procrastinate
I have found that students with a good well-being get things done in an organized way. They use their planners to help them prioritize their life. I remember running into someone and having them tell me that they always get things done the day before they are due. That way they are always on top of their crap, and they don’t let school get the best of them.
5. They have alone time
It’s crazy you guys, but I love alone time now. It’s so weird. I enjoy being around people and I get my energy from being around people. But I also know that if I am around people all the time, I am not focusing on becoming my best self, and I spend less time with God.
Solitude is healthy. It’s easy to push off what’s really going on in your life if you’re continually using people to distract yourself. Instead, take time alone to reflect and make sure you’re taking care of yourself, and then you can pour that love into others. How are you supposed to love others when you are not full of love in the first place?
6. Get yourself out there
It’s healthy to ask people to hang out. I know, rejection is scary, and you may feel awful when someone blows you off. But I promise, if you extend the hand of friendship, someone will extend the hand right back. But most of the time you have to make the effort and risk being rejected. But once you find yourself around an incredible community, you will know that the risk was all worth it.
7. Get involved
Every happy college student is involved in something. This could look like the running club, a campus ministry, a fraternity or sorority, or even a food-tasting club. Find what you love to do, and look for organizations that surround those interests. This is something that is so special in college, because we have the opportunity to be with hundreds of people who all have something in common. That is a gift.
8. They sleep
Every happy college student sleeps. I have not met a joyful person here who gets 2 hours of sleep every night. Yes, you might have a huge test to study for and a lot going on, but that’s never worth your health. It takes discipline to go to sleep at a reasonable hour, but your sanity is worth it.
9. They are kind to themselves
Having empathy for yourself is healthy. This can look like going a little slower in your day, working out, taking care of yourself when you’re sick, and saying good things to yourself when you get a horrible grade. This also can look like buying yourself a Pumpkin Spice Latte. In whatever way, happy students are not hard on themselves.
10. They call their mom
Honestly, I completely resonate with this one. I may be way too dependent on my mom, I’m just going to admit that. But I am okay with this truth. I love my mom, she gives me so much encouragement throughout my day and helps me put crappy things into perspective. If you don’t do this already, I advise you to give her a call. Bonus points if you call your dad, too.
To be completely honest, I don’t have all of these nailed down. In fact, a lot of these things I forget. But I know I have been my happiest in college when I put these 10 things into practice. Right now, I am working on being more kind to myself, not stressing as much, and calling my mom a little more often.
College is not always going to seem like the best four years of your life, but that doesn’t mean it still can’t be good. These 10 applicable tips can help you re-center, and get back on track to enjoy this season of life.