Going to college might be a big transition, but it’s not the only one you’ve experienced thus far. You’ve probably transitioned between schools, relationships or even homes, states, etc. What’s my point? 

The only constant in life is change, and that can sometimes leave us feeling a little helter-skelter. Like all the changes you’ve adapted to, there’s one staple that can help you find your rhythm—a self-care routine. 

Self-care can help us achieve mental, emotional and physical balance. So use this free time as an opportunity to create a routine that helps you manage all the feels that come with the words “I’m going to NYU.”

Unsure of where to begin? Here are 5 self-care tips to help you get started. 

Set Realistic Goals for Yourself

You might have heard that college opens up a world of opportunities. At NYU, that sentiment rings true, but with so many avenues to consider, you might feel overwhelmed. 

Before even stepping foot on campus, determine what your academic, financial and social goals are.  Think about what you want to achieve in your first year— whether it’s speaking up in class or finding an introductory internship in your field of interest. 

Goals give you long-term vision and short-term motivation. Moreover, having them can lead to a strong foundation for time management and mindful decisions. Just be sure to leave some wiggle room because your goals might grow into something you’ve yet to imagine!

Create a Vision Board

Here’s another phrase you might have heard before – “if you can see it, you can achieve it”. Creating a visual can be a daily reminder to put sights in action. Intentionally selecting words and pictures that you aspire to can be a helpful reminder on the days where you feel stuck or uninspired. 

Building a vision board is a great—and not to mention fun—way of imagining all that NYU has in store for you. As you gather your crafting materials, remember that college allows you to design your life in a way that suits you. That means, it can be as colorful, global, subtle or imaginative as you’d like to be.

Unwind from the Grind

The truth is, it’s not all going to be easy. Nothing transformative ever is! The first few months of college might feel bumpy—a new city, a new way of learning and so many new faces. Some days, your confidence will feel shaken. That’s why it’s especially important to establish a bad-day remedy ahead of time! 

Whether it’s having a “vent friend” to lend an ear, tuning into your favorite podcast or carving out time for prayer . Think about activities that might be helpful to adopt when you hit a speed bump. On the days where the going gets rough, you’ll already get the rough going into a more positive outlook.

Know your Social Quota

While college is foremost a space for academia, you’ll end up getting schooled on life. As you transition into college, you’ll be forming new relationships and striking a balance between your boundaries and testing new waters. 

Socializing can be a mood booster, but setting aside alone time is also a necessity. That may sound simple now, but when you’re in the city that never sleeps, you might feel tempted to follow suit. Or you may be the opposite and feel unsure of how to overcome your shyness. 

Instead of focusing on either extreme, make a list of what you’d want to keep as a solo activity and what you’d like to experience with others. Feeling comfortable with your boundaries can help you better establish them with peers and new friends.

Get Familiar with Resources

Perhaps the most ironic aspect of self-care is that you don’t have to figure it ALL on your own. College is a time to find out who you are, but it’s also a space to find support and encouragement in all that you seek to achieve.  

You’ll find that NYU offers many resources to help support your transition into a new environment. Make sure to take advantage of these resources on campus; mindfulness groups, free programming, wellness and counseling – all at your disposal at no cost. NYU is often described as a campus without walls, so there’s no reason you should ever feel like your back is up against one.

So before day one, consider these ideasyou’ve made it this far, and that’s worth self-care and self-love!

Dashka Gabriel, called Dash by most, is one of the Assistant Directors of Special Events and Visitor Relations in the Office of Enrollment Management. An alumna of NYU’s Public Relations M.S. program, she’s passionate about creating experiences that bring people of all backgrounds to the greatest city in the world. When she’s not running around behind the scenes, she enjoys exploring her Brooklyn neighborhood, playing (and winning!) Broadway musical lotteries, and having a solo movie night at the Alamo Drafthouse.