College can be a hard time. It’s when you are coming of age, preparing yourself to lead a life that is independent, unique, and challenging. I know how stressful these times are, and they are indeed very tough and very demanding. However, it does not have to be all black and white, and there are shades in between, as these struggles make all of us stronger.
Here is a list to help both you and me to stay sane, especially during times of distress and upheaval. College doesn’t have to be all that bad. Let us see what we can do to feel more in control.
1. Stay organized
Arrange your books in a way that goes by the day you need them. You won’t have class every day; you might have a class that meets an hour on Monday and Wednesday, or one that meets Tuesday only. If you don’t need a book that day, leave it at home, and don’t bring undue stress to yourself.
2. Eat your meals
Eat your meals. Some college students can’t squeeze in time to eat. This is a no. You need your energy to stay focused and do your work. Others just skip for reasons unknown. The main point is to eat.
3. Never stay up late
You need sleep to function. After a few days you don’t sleep, you will be less attentive, and you will be distracted in class. You may catch yourself having less physical energy and indigestion. Don’t hurt yourself! Go to sleep to wake up feeling refreshed and charged to tackle the morning.
4. Don’t forget to shower
Shower. College students are so deprived of sleep and eating that they don’t even have time to shower. Remember to squeeze in time to keep your body clean. The more you keep yourself healthy – the better your body and mind will perform. A hot shower can release oxytocin, which is a feel-good hormone.
5. Don’t go to class wearing clothes you’d wear at home
Many students go to class, and don’t change their clothes. You can see them in their pajamas, and that is just not right. You want to be professional and be taken seriously. This forms a habit. When you change your clothes, you’ll feel better and confidently stand in class.
6. It’s not all about class
Class is a medium through which you learn. You have the opportunity to learn material on your own too. If you feel down, you can view the professor’s posts online and catch up. Don’t fear. There are other things to do in life as well, and if things come up, it isn’t the end of the world. You can pass and even get an A. It’s pretty normal to see students skipping once in a while.
Don’t do it often because you still want to grasp the material. Don’t make this a habit, as you then might just stop going, and that is never a good thing. You are paying, so don’t waste your money and time. You can learn and enjoy!
7. Be proud of all your accomplishments
Whatever grade you get, be proud of your hard work. Sometimes we won’t get that A we hoped for, or that B. You might get a C, but know that it’s college, and this is not an easy feat. It’s hard to get grades higher than a C – college level is C, so that means you are doing your work efficiently. If you find that you are slacking in a class, you always have the option to withdraw, or buck up and try harder to boost your grade.
Your grade is at your disposal, meaning you have it, and can access it any given time. You see where you stand and where improvements can happen.
Stress can be overwhelming. I’m one to talk. I talk but stress all the time. I get anxious at the smallest things. However, as I’m growing older, I am learning that stress isn’t good. It makes us less productive. So, let it settle, and do the best you can in college (and in life for that matter).
Having high self-esteem is important if you are aiming for personal or professional success. Interestingly, most people will high levels of self-esteem act in similar ways. That’s why it’s often easy to pick them out in a crowd. There’s something about the way they hold themselves and speak, isn’t there?
We all have different hopes, dreams, experiences, and paths, but confidence has its own universal language. This list will present some of the things you won’t find yourself doing if you have high self-esteem.
1. Compare Yourself to Others
People with low self-esteem are constantly comparing their situation to others. On the other hand, people with higher self-esteem show empathy and compassion while also protecting their own sanity. They know how much they can handle and when they can offer a helping hand.
In the age of social media, however, social comparisons are nearly ubiquitous. One study found that “participants who used Facebook most often had poorer trait self-esteem, and this was mediated by greater exposure to upward social comparisons on social media”. Basically, you will feel worse about yourself if you are constantly getting glimpses into lives that you consider to be better than yours.
Try to limit your time on social media. Also, when you do start scrolling, keep in mind that each profile is carefully crafted to create the appearance of a perfect life. Check yourself when you find yourself wishing for greener grass.
2. Be Mean-Spirited
People with low self-esteem bully others. They take pleasure in putting other people down. People with positive self-esteem see no need to down other people, choosing instead to encourage and celebrate successes.
If you find that you feel the need to put others down, analyze where that’s coming from. If they’ve had success in life, help them feel good about that achievement. They may do the same for you one day.
3. Let Imperfection Ruin Your Day
Perfectionism isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but obsessing over making everything perfect is a sign that you have low self-esteem and can lead to never-ending negative thoughts. This can turn into an inability to solve problems creatively, which will only make self-esteem issues worse.
Those with high self-esteem disconnect from the results and do their best without expecting perfection.
People with that kind of confidence understand that messing up is a part of life and that each time they aim and miss success, they’ll at least learn something along the way.
If you miss the mark, or if your plan doesn’t work out exactly as you would have liked, take a deep breath and see if you can pivot in order to do better next time.
4. Dwell on Failure
It’s common to hear people dwelling on all the ways things will go wrong. They are positive that their every failure signals an impossible task or an innate inability to do something. People with healthy self-esteem discover why they failed and try again.
People with higher levels of confidence also tend to adopt a growth mindset. This type of thinking supports the idea that most of your abilities can be improved and altered, as opposed to being fixed.
For example, instead of saying, “I’m just not good at math; that’s why I did bad on the test,” someone with a growth mindset would say, “Math is difficult for me, so I’ll have to put in some more practice to improve next time.”
Next time you experience a failure, check out this video to help you believe in yourself again:
5. Devalue Your Self-Esteem
People with high self-esteem value their own perception of themselves – they understand that they come first and don’t feel guilty about taking care of themselves. They believe charity starts within, and if they don’t believe that, they’ll never have a healthy self-image.
Self-care is often top of the priority list for people with self-esteem. For some ways to practice self-care, check out this article.
6. Try to Please Others
They can’t please all the people all the time, so confident people first focus on doing what will make them feel fulfilled and happy. While they will politely listen to others’ thoughts and advice, they know that their goals and dreams have to be completed on their own terms.
7. Close Yourself off
Confident people have the ability to be vulnerable. It’s those with poor self-esteem that hide all the best parts of themselves behind an emotional wall. Instead of keeping the real you a secret, be open and honest in all your dealings.
As Brené Brown, author of Daring Greatly, points out, “Vulnerability is about showing up and being seen”. When you embrace each facet of who you are and allow others to see them as well, it will create deeper, more meaningful connections in your life. When that happens, you’ll realize that perfection doesn’t lead to people liking you more.
You can learn more about the power of vulnerability in this TED talk with Brené Brown:
8. Follow and Avoiding Leading
People with low self-esteem don’t believe they can lead, so they end up following others, sometimes into unhealthy situations. Rather than seeking a sense of belonging, people with high self-esteem walk their own paths and create social circles that build them up.
9. Fish for Compliments
If you’re constantly seeking compliments, you’re not confident. People with high self-esteem always do their best (and go out of their way to do good deeds) because it’s what they want to do, not because they’re seeking recognition. If you need to hear compliments, say them to yourself in the mirror.
You can even try some positive affirmations if you need a confidence boost. Check out these affirmations to get started.
10. Be Lazy
People work harder when they have high self-esteem because they’re not bogged down by doubts and complaints. Those with low self-esteem end up procrastinating and wasting their energy thinking about all the work they have to do rather than rolling up their sleeves and just getting it done.
This may also bounce off perfectionism. Perfectionists often feel intimidated by certain projects if they fear that they won’t be able to complete them perfectly. Tap into your confidence and simply do your best without worrying about a perfect outcome.
11. Shy Away from Risks
When you trust yourself, you’ll be willing to participate more in life. People with low self-esteem are always on the sidelines, waiting for the perfect moment to jump in. Instead of letting life pass you by, have confidence in your success and take the risks necessary to succeed.
People with low self-esteem are always in other peoples’ business – they’re more interested in what everyone else is doing than themselves. People with high self-esteem are more interested in their own life and stay out of others’ affairs.
Instead of participating in idle gossip, talk about some positive news you heard recently, or that fascinating book you just finished. There’s plenty to talk about beyond what this or that person did wrong in their life.
The Bottom Line
Self-esteem is to success in life. People who maintain a healthy level of self-esteem believe in themselves and push themselves to succeed, while those with low confidence feel a sense of entitlement.
If you need a boost in your self-image and mental health, avoid negative self-talk and the other mistakes of people with low self-esteem. You’ll be amazed at the difference it makes.