Welcome to college! If this is your freshman year, you’ve probably registered for all your classes and are packing your things to move into the dorm. But we’ve got one more thing to add to your to-do list. It’s time to enroll in TMD 101: We have suggestions to help manage both your TMD and your college studies.
Nurture your Mind and your Body
There’s good news for incoming freshmen heading for the school cafeteria. In the past ten years, college administrators have been listening to student concerns and have responded in kind. Cafeterias are no longer havens of junk food, sugar and fat. Instead, most college eateries have healthy options. So go for it! Eat a balanced diet. Avoid high calorie foods, and look for soft foods that will compliment, not exacerbate, your TMD.
The Dorm Rules
Get a good night’s sleep. Aim for seven or eight hours of rest. Never, ever feel that you need to stay up all night to cram for exams and quizzes. An avalanche of evidence exists to refute the effectiveness of those techniques. They don’t work, and instead they leave students jittery, exhausted and unable to focus.
If you’re living in a college dorm for the first time, don’t feel overwhelmed by the excitement and energy that surrounds you. You should still be able to get plenty of rest. Most dorms have an enforced period of quiet time and lights out. If you notice other students are being disruptive and making loud noise well past the appropriate hour, speak to your dorm floor adviser. He or she can intervene on your behalf to make sure everyone is following the rules.
The Party Rules
Never depend on drugs and/or alcohol as a coping strategy. Also be mindful of excess caffeine intake. While it’s true that caffeine will keep you awake, it can also make it harder to focus. Instead, try the study break method. If you start to feel overwhelmed, take a brief 20 minute walk. Also, as a general rule of thumb, students should take ten minute study breaks on the hour. Remember, there’s only so much the brain can absorb in any one sitting.
Exposure and Control
One of the great things about the college experience is the new exposure to different ideas and thoughts. Not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well, you’re going to meet a variety of people with different interests and activities. Broaden your horizons, but also learn your limitations. If you meet someone who likes to party around the clock and has little interest in self-discipline or studying, limit your exposure! Find new friends who have the same motivation that you do.
And don’t forget the most important thing: Schedule your MedCenter TMJ appointment before you head off to college.