By Amanda Azzarelli
College is a time of growth, as you learn a lot about your university, your career and even yourself. You also learn how to live on your own, and this new found independence can be a lot to handle. It is easy to pick up some bad habits as you try to balance your new responsibilities. With graduation season approaching in a few short weeks, you will need to adjust your lifestyle once again when you enter the “real world.” As you begin to develop a new routine, this is a great time to eliminate these four bad habits you may have picked up throughout your college career.
Habit 1: Pulling all-nighters and sleeping at odd hours
The Problem: A University of Alabama study showed that 60 percent of college students do not get a sufficient amount of sleep, compared to only 33 percent of the general population.
Why It Matters: The National Sleep Foundation reports that young adults, ages 18–25, should sleep 7–9 hours a night. Lack of sleep can impact your work performance, as a Harvard study reported that sleep deprivation costs the U.S. $63 billion annually in lost productivity.
Breaking the Habit: Resetting your sleep schedule can be difficult, but making a few small changes can get you back on track. Start with limiting naps to about 20 minutes! This way, you will not get through all of the sleep cycles, and it will be easier to fall asleep at night.
Habit 2: Fueling yourself on fast food
Why It Matters: Remember that old saying, “you are what you eat”? If that is the case, most students are probably a Jimmy John’s sandwich or Chipotle burrito. It turns out, your diet affects your productivity. Some foods will give you a quick burst of energy and then leave you slumped over your desk shortly after lunch.
Breaking the Habit: Even when you are short on time and money, you can still find healthy recipes to fit your needs. Save time in the morning by preparing workday lunches ahead of time and packing them to go!
Habit 3: Allowing your bookshelf to collect dust
The Problem: According to a 2013 study, 77 percent of college students who enjoy reading for pleasure said they do not have time to recreationally read due to their academic workload.
Why It Matters: There are many benefits to reading, including some that can make you more successful in your new career. Taking the time to read every day can expand your vocabulary, increase your knowledge and help you relax.
Breaking the Habit: If your studies were the reason you did not have time to read in college, make it a priority in your new post-grad schedule. Set aside a certain time to read each day, whether it is with your morning coffee or in bed at night. After graduation, head to Barnes and Noble armed with a list of good books to begin your new habit.
Habit 4: Splurging instead of saving
The Problem: A survey conducted by EverFi and Higher One found that students are becoming less likely to follow a budget to limit spending or pay credit card bills on time.
Why It Matters: According to Student Loan Hero, 43.3 million Americans have student loan debt, and graduates of the class of 2015 owed an average of $35,000. This, coupled with the many unexpected expenses you face after graduation, can lead to a financial crisis if you are not prepared.
Breaking the Habit: Prepare to become financially independent by understanding where you stand financially and spending less than you earn. Create a spending plan by calculating your total income and subtracting your estimated expenses.
Which bad habits did you pick up during college? How will you break them after graduation?