Self-care checklist: A guide for your first month at Colorado State

A student sits at the top of steps carved from boulders near CSU's Warner building.

Adjusting to life as a college student can be a little overwhelming, and we know that it’s not just getting used to new classes and teachers. You’ll likely be at a much larger school, living away from home (and maybe even a new town), making new friends, and figuring out a whole new academic routine. When you’re facing so many transitions at once, self-care is essential. Here’s a checklist to help you as you navigate your first month of college.

#1. Create your “you” space(s)

Whether you’re moving into a dorm or living locally, a good declutter, revamp, or redecorate can really go a long way toward your mental health. Your space can be a haven after a long day of new things and new people. No space is too small to add a few things you love, some ambient lighting, or a touch of personality. And the process of updating it can help you declutter your brain space, too. Need some inspo? See how these students made their residence hall rooms their ideal spaces.

#2. Make health (and mental health) a priority from day one

You might be in a great place one day, and the next you might need a check-up. Getting acquainted with CSU’s Health Center in your first few weeks on campus will eliminate any confusion or stress when you actually do need help. With your student benefits, you have full access to the what the Health Center offers: primary care and annual exams, emergency/urgent care, lab work/x-rays, immunizations, pharmacy, counseling, wellness and nutrition counseling, and more. There are even some handy services you might not have considered. Visit the Health Center’s website to learn more about services and how your student insurance works … before you need it.

#3. Connect with people or and groups outside of class

It might sound like a no-brainer, but even introverts will tell you they’re glad they went out of their comfort zones in college to connect with students they might not have met in passing. One great way to do this is to check out some of the hundreds of CSU clubs and organizations you can join. From hiking and skiing clubs to academic-focused groups to Greek life and beyond, there truly is something for everyone. Check out our growing showcase of CSU clubs or search the full list yourself.

#4. Get to know your professors

Don’t underestimate the power of personal connection when it comes to academic support. Your professors — even in the larger classes — are eager to help you succeed. Drop in for office hours in the early weeks of your college career to introduce yourself, and you might be surprised how much of a ripple effect it’ll have. Down the line, you might have classes with that professor again, or they might think of you for an internship or research experience. They might even be willing to write you a recommendation for jobs or graduate school applications in a few years.

#5. Eat well (and treat yourself)

We kid you not, one of the best things about CSU is the food. Whether you live on campus or not, there’s a plethora of options for anyone and everyone. If you live on campus, you’ll have meal plan options that give you access to the many CSU dining facilities (and, even if you don’t live on campus, you can still buy a meal plan). In addition to the array of full-service dining facilities, the Lory Student Center has a food court with restaurants that offer everything from soups and salads to burgers, subs, tacos, and treats and coffee. If you want to have a nice sit-down experience (maybe for your family’s first visit?) head up to the third floor for CSU’s student-run Aspen Grille. Lastly? don’t forget to treat yourself and indulge after a hard day’s work (or before … we’re not judging) with Walrus ice cream at The Foundry.

Looking for more tips?

Check out these ways to survive and thrive during your first week at CSU.


Prairie Smallwood

Prairie Smallwood is a writer and content creator for the Office of Admissions at Colorado State University. She is passionate about education and exploration, and knows that going to college can be both an adventure and an overwhelming experience. She aims to create content that helps students through that journey — the wonderful, the scary, and everything in between.