16 Pro Tips: How to Stay Sane Your Freshman Year

Tips provided by Thomas Baez, director of UTSA Counseling Services


1. Academics are important, but so is a healthy lifestyle. Maintain good eating, sleeping and exercise habits.

2. If you have an ongoing physical or mental health condition, be proactive and schedule your health appointments early, instead of waiting for problems to start.

3. Recognize early on that feelings of sadness, changes in sleep/eating patterns, loneliness, relationship conflicts, and severe anxiety may be signs that you need additional support. Seek help early on from your campus’ confidential counseling resources.

4. Living with new roommates can lead to lifelong friendships, but can be complex when roommates are of different backgrounds and value systems. Respecting these differences and being willing to compromise can promote growth and resolution of issues.

5. For those who identify as LGBTQ, browse for printed or online information regarding offices and employees on campus that have completed LGBT-oriented ally training to identify affirmative spaces on campus. Also, check for student organizations and social media groups that can provide safe and supportive outlets for meeting others within the LGBTQ community.

6. Maintain ongoing communication with parents at designated times. Set up a regular phone or FaceTime chat. Don’t forget your siblings that are still at home. Keep in touch by phone, text or social media.

7. If you are a commuter student, plan to spend more time than just your class time on campus. Stay on campus to study so you can be part of campus life.

8. If living on campus, get to know your Resident Assistant (RA), the housing staff and your neighbors.

9. When looking for a job, find jobs on campus or near your college. These employers are often very supportive of adjusting work schedules, and you will develop new college friends.

10. College may be much harder and rigorous than high school. Reach out to professors, teaching assistants and a tutoring/learning center if you need extra help.

11. Being the first to go to college in your family can be an important achievement with significant challenges. With hard work, and additional support from family, friends and mentors, you can be successful. Look for support programs on campus that can provide academic, financial and mentoring assistance for college success

12. Early on, get to know your campus community resources and support services.

13. Make use of calendars and planners to balance and organize all activities including academic, extracurricular, and personal.

14. Recognize that in this transition, feelings of excitement and anxiety are normal and can be managed with support.

15. Be patient: New relationships do not develop overnight.

16. Transitioning to college can be a lonely period, get involved early on in the overall college experience by joining organizations, clubs and recreational campus activities.