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Going to college or university is a big step. And with that big step comes a lot of change. Anyone who has ever been a higher education student knows this all too well. Making the decision to go to college or university is a decision that is never taken lightly. And ideally it is a decision that is made entirely on your own terms. As a higher education student myself, one of the biggest challenges I faced when choosing which university I wanted to go to was sifting through all of the pieces of advice that came my way that were not at all necessary.

It is entirely natural that everyone you know (and then some) will want to give you pieces of advice when they find out that you are going to university. Some of these pieces of advice are actually useful while others are more white noise that you have to sift through to find the nuggets of true value. For me, one of the biggest pieces of advice that I got was a piece of advice that has since stuck with me always. It also happens to be the same piece of advice but I give to other students when they ask me what I would tell them or what I would have wanted someone to tell me from the very beginning. So, what is the best piece of advice that I, a fellow student, can give to you?

A healthy environment is paramount

Focus on finding a school that embodies a healthy campus environment. Anything less can be and unfortunately often is toxic. It might seem like this goes without saying, however a lot of the time having a healthy environment on campus is not priority to nearly enough campuses (and by that I mean all campuses). Having a healthy environment where you go to university can and does make a world of difference to your experience. Even the best student can fall flat when they are not given the right support from the school that they have chosen to pursue their studies at. So, a healthy environment is first and foremost. Start your search there.

You need a school that prioritises mental health

There is a lot to be said about having a school that prioritises mental health as well as academic excellence and physical health. In years past, many colleges and universities did not do nearly enough in the way of giving students and educators alike ample support and opportunity to find assistance for mental health struggles that they may be facing. This is now beginning to change thankfully, however there is still a long way to go. So, make it a priority to focus on the schools that have a priority on mental health. Because these are the environments that are going to give you the best value for your experience, for your health, and for your monetary investment.

Finding a school that allows for a healthy balance

Yes, the primary goal of higher education (and education in general, for that matter) is to  broaden one’s academic, intellectual, professional, and even personal horizons. However, it is also important that the school that you ultimately choose is one that allows for a healthy balance between focusing on your school work and focusing on yourself. For me, I read books and buy Kratom when I am stressed out. Every student’s coping mechanism is different. So, it is always important that you go to a school that allows for that healthy balance so that you can do well in your classes but also focus on yourself however and whenever necessary.

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