Cheat Codes for College


The start of college is often described as the start of a new chapter in a student’s life. For most, it’s their first time away from home. This big transition can be intimidating as you realize that you are suddenly responsible for yourself with no parents to fall back on. And with this new responsibility comes the stress of college life, from balancing classwork and a social life, to piling on the extra work for extracurricular activities. Here are a few tips and tricks to help wind down.

Make Time for Friends

Making time to hang out with friends can really help take some of the stress away. Whether it’s all of you going out together or a night of playing games and watching movies, by regularly making time to meet up, it gives you something to look forward to. College is a time for making memories and getting into some shenanigans with friends is exactly the way to do that.

Friends can be your support system as well. When you’re going through a particularly hard time, whether it be with classes or social situations, they can be there to take your mind off of it. They are the ones who will understand, as they’re probably going through their own version of stressful college life. You each can help the other; put aside an hour to talk and laugh with your friends and you’ll find yourself feeling like a bit of the weight has been lifted from your shoulders. After all, laughter is the best medicine.

Go to On-Campus Events

At least once a week, there is something going on on campus and going to a few events can be a great way take your mind off that paper you’ve been having trouble with. Often, stepping away and coming back to work after you’ve had some fun can be exactly what you need in order to get moving along with the assignment.

Whether it’s to a sporting event, a Spartans After Dark event, or one of the movie nights in Vaughn Courtyard or Reeves Theater, participating in school activities not only keeps you involved with the happenings around campus but it serves as a good distraction. It’s a great way to make new friends and plan new outings with friends.

Blast Your Music

Many students listen to music as they write a paper or study for an exam. But in the case of relieving stress, music is best listened to for fun. Now, by ‘blast your music,’ still take into account that the dorms have thin walls and be considerate of your floormates; not everyone likes the same music as you. It might be best to do the blasting through your earphones, though there is a certain satisfaction to blasting it through some speakers.

But yes, just take a moment to turn up the volume and dance around your room like nobody’s watching. Even though your roommates might be in the corner silently judging, who knows, they might join in. A mini-dance-party in the dorm could be a great way to bond.


Some like to go for a five mile run, others just a mile. There are those who prefer weights or maybe a little bit of Zumba. Yoga is a great way of relieving stress, though it may not be for everybody. If you do turn to exercise for stress relief, it’s all about finding what works for you.

Just this summer, they repaved the track, so it’s good as new and perfect for speed workouts. If you’re not one for going in circles, a run or bicycle ride along Riverwalk or Bayshore is a great alternative. Both have some great scenery to view as you go, providing more things to take your mind off the workout.

And of course, there’s the new gym, with its new equipment and increased space. There are weekly classes in the gym, from Zumba to cycling, that you can go to, so you can pick one that best suits your time and go. And don’t be afraid to try some new stuff, you might find something that works for you. Local yoga studio Yoga Downtown Tampa offers a free weekly yoga class at Curtis Hixon Park across the river. Even a walk through Plant Park can take some of that weight from your shoulders.

For more information on the the classes in Curtis Hixon, visit

Take Naps

Seriously. You’re going to be tired after a day of classes (unless you’re one of those lucky ones who have one class all day). But, taking a 30 minute nap before hitting your homework can help with productivity. It gives your body a chance to relax after going through classes. And if you are one of those who have a four-hour lab at six p.m., then a nap will definitely be beneficial to helping you stay awake. And for freshman and sophomores who are still in their teens, naps may be especially beneficial as teenagers are supposed to get up to at least 10 hours of sleep and – face it – that’s not happening on a regular basis.

Of course, napping in your dorm may be easier said than done, especially within those first few weeks of school when you’re still getting used to your new room. People walking up and down the halls while talking loudly doesn’t exactly help either; even the sound of your roommates rustling around the room can make it difficult to get some shut eye. Some things that might help are earplugs and maybe even an eye-cover to block out light. Playing soothing music through some noise canceling headphones can also help.

Also, make sure to put your phone away; the screen light will only make you more restless. Use it to set an alarm and then put it to the side. And don’t worry if you’re not actually able to fall asleep. Even just laying down and resting for half an hour can still be beneficial.

Stay in Touch with Your Friends and Family Back Home

Don’t forget about the people you left behind. While you may be excited about starting your new life at college, there are people back home who are going to miss you. And yes, you’re going to miss them.

So take a few minutes, whether it’s everyday or once a week, to call your mom or dad. Parents love it when you tell them about your day or if you call for some advice. Call one of your siblings. Sure, you guys may not have gotten along great at home but that doesn’t mean you don’t love each other in your own way. Shoot a text to your high school best friend. Ask them how college is going for them. They’ve already been through so much with you, you don’t want to lose that.

Talking to people from home allows you to go back into the more comfortable role that you had back there, even if it is just for 10 minutes or so.

Do Stuff That You Enjoy Doing

Really, that’s what’s really going to help take the stress off. If you like to take study breaks by watching your favorite show on Netflix, go for it. If you want to sit back with a good book and get through a few chapters, read away. You can always sunbathe by the pool, or if you play an instrument, take some time to practice.

Doing things you like to do is the best way to take your mind off the things that are stressing you out, like homework. Unless you like doing homework, that’s cool too. You do you. At the end of the day, only you really know what works for you.

Ivy Velazquez can be reached at


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