Obviously, your first thoughts on entering college and university for the next four years won’t be about keeping fit and healthy. There is a whole new world of possibilities out there for you prospective students, and those of you going into your second year after being stuck behind screens all last year. Meeting new people, living on your own and navigating complicated college classes on campus is a totally different environment to being at home with set meal times and proper rules and regulations. This means eating at different times, cooking for yourself and possibly surviving on chicken rolls and wedges for the next few years.

So, here’s a few tips on keeping healthy from someone who wishes he saw an article like this many years ago!

Learn How to Cook a few Different Meals

I could have named this point, “Learn How to Use the Oven”, in fairness. Don’t spend your whole year eating every meal in the pub or the local Spar. Learn how to make a few different meals before you leave the nest. They don’t have to be Rachel Allen-esque, but they do have to be edible! My recommendations would be chicken curry and rice, scrambled eggs on toast and anything you can stick in the oven for half an hour before heading out on the town!

You will save yourself money and feel a little bit better than you would after your fifth chicken roll of the week.

Incorporate Fruit/Veg into your Diet

For the love of God, buy some bananas when you stop by Aldi for 12 cans of cheap beer. The odd blueberry in your porridge or peppers with your chicken curry wouldn’t go amiss either and may just keep you alive long enough to get your degree!

Don’t Start Smoking!

This one goes out to all the couples who have made the transition from secondary school to the big bad world of college. If, on the off chance, you break up within the year, neither of you should start smoking. It might seem like a cool thing to do after a break-up, or in general, but it’s not. It will drain your money and you’ll stink of cigarettes!

Back in my day, you could get a box of Amber Leaf and a naggin for under a tenner. Nowadays, that’s gonna cost you the bones of 20 euro. Have a think about it before you pick up a costly habit.

Join the Gym / A Sports Club

You don’t have to get ripped and you don’t have to make the first team of whatever club you join. However, many of you will probably have played a good level of G.A.A., soccer or whatever in your hometown. You might have trained two times a week and had a game on the weekend. A lot of people fall away from sport when they leave secondary school, especially if they go to study in a different county.

You could get a clean break from whatever sport you played before and join a completely random one. You could go kayaking, play disc golf or even go orienteering! Don’t forget about the gym! Most colleges will have reduced rates for students and will be well-equipped for you future bodybuilders and Crossfit athletes out there!

Mind Your Mental Health

Most importantly, mind your mind. Going to college can be a very overwhelming experience. No matter if you stay at home or move 200km away, you are taking a big step in life. Check in with yourself and your friends on this journey of self-discovery.

Every college will have a therapist or a counsellor that you will be able to check in with if you are feeling down or panicking about your decisions.

Reach out to classmates or if you feel you have nobody, reach out to me on Twitter, @daltoncian. I know what it’s like to go through rough patches in college, and that’s partly down to eating no veg and doing no exercise!