Boundaries 101

Your first year of college is such an exciting time! You are going to meet tons of new people and take engaging classes. You might get involved in the Student Wellness Center or discover a new passion! This might be your first time away from home or in a new city. Regardless of what your first year looks like, you will encounter change. Setting boundaries is a useful self-care tool to help navigate these new waters.

It might feel weird to set boundaries during your first year. You might think: why would I want to limit myself?! But boundaries are not actually limiting; they are one of the keys to a successful academic career and to finding balance in your personal well-being. All healthy relationships – whether they be with friends, partners, objects or activities – have boundaries.


Here are some examples of boundaries you might want to think about:

  1. With your devices. You will probably use a tablet, computer, or phone for classes and to socialize. But, looking at a screen for too long can lead to lower grades, eye damage, and negative impacts on sleep. Check out this video for tips to improve your digital wellness.
  2. With your classes. It is okay to take a break from studying! Actually, taking short breaks increases concentration and reduces stress and fatigue. Build in study breaks to take a class at the RPAC, eat a healthy snack, do something creative, or tidy up.
  3. With your friends. You might find yourself spending a lot of time with your new best friend who lives down the hall. And that’s great! But if spending time with friends is impeding your ability to do your schoolwork, see other people, go to the gym or anything else you enjoy, you may need to have some time apart.
  4. With your bed. Your bed is likely the largest and comfiest thing in your room. You might want to study, do homework, watch Netflix, and maybe even eat in it. Using your bed for activities outside sleeping (and sex) decreases productivity, makes it harder to fall asleep and limits your focus. And you might get crumbs in your sheets. Instead, find another place to work, like the University Libraries or a café.
  5. With activities. Your time is valuable and you should fill it with things you like to do. But with so much to do on campus and in Columbus, it can be difficult to manage everything. Take careful stock of all your commitments and decide which ones are your top priorities. If something doesn’t fit, consider taking a step back from it. Be sure to keep your calendar updated.
  6. With anything that might be toxic to you. You know you best. If something is hurting your wellbeing, consider limiting your time with it or finding alternatives. Wellness Coaching may be helpful!


Check out Boundaries 102 for help with setting boundaries.

-Cate Heaney Gary, Relationship Education and Violence Prevention Wellness Coordinator