By Ngawahine Thompson

Whether you’re in your first year of university or your last, the first semester of the year can be a huge adjustment. After a relaxing or exciting summer, it can be challenging to settle into uni life. Setting realistic expectations for yourself, not comparing yourself to others, and opening up to self-care are great ways to improve your well-being.    

A lot of people start the year off strong and realise they expected too much of themselves. It’s tempting to fill in your spare time with study dates, club events and catching up with mates. Having so much on the go at once can become draining, and it’s important to remember that you don’t have to be busy all the time. By setting realistic expectations of your time and energy, you can prepare yourself accordingly. Skip that lunch date with your friends to finish an assessment that frees you up for the weekend. Take an hour out of your day to refresh your mind and take a break from reviewing your weekly notes. Don’t stretch yourself too thin across the many aspects of uni life. You are only one person, and it’s okay to set boundaries around what’s realistic for you.   

I know it sounds cliched, but don’t compare yourself to others. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and feel like you need to be doing the same. First of all, we generally see the best snippets of other people’s lives and not the truth behind that perfectly crafted Instagram story. Was it a productive study session? Or was it just a beautifully arranged photo of study essentials? Secondly, we are all unique individuals. Do you have a friend who is always making plans that you can’t find the energy to go to? They could be an extrovert who doesn’t understand that you might need alone time to recharge your social battery. Focus on yourself and remember that we don’t all have the same desires, and that is A-okay. 

Self-care is something that many of us neglect to schedule into our routines. Allow yourself the time to relax, recharge and clear your mind every now and then. This could be a trip to the movies that forces you to put your devices away or a quiet stroll through Ilam Gardens. Consider taking up a new hobby like yoga, pottery making or boxing. Even a fresh haircut or new pair of jeans can be a reward to yourself after a long week. Self-care looks different to everyone and doesn’t need to cost anything. The importance of self-care lies within the way you feel afterwards. Use it as a chance to de-stress and jump back into uni life with a clear mind.  

Student life can be hectic, and it’s crucial for your well-being to take a step back and breath. If you take away anything from this article, make it this; set your boundaries, focus on yourself and treat yourself. Ka kite anō, e hoa  

Instagram: @cdhbyac