College can be demanding. It can mean lots of transitions, and students face the overlapping challenges of grades, deadlines, work, friendships, and family.
At American University, we look beyond the classroom to the development of the whole student:
“I cannot stress how important it is for students to take care of themselves holistically! There are so many resources available to students at AU to help them take care of their physical, intellectual, spiritual, occupational, social, and emotional health. Students should know that they don’t have to do it all alone. Academic Advisors can also be helpful in connecting students with the right resources. Ultimately, stay active, utilize the available resources, and take care of yourself in order to the most of your time at AU!” – Tyler Atkins, Senior Director for Advising, Retention, and Recruitment at CAS
We’ve rounded up some advice for incoming students from our CAS peer advisors. Read on and get excited for fall 2023 at AU!
Set Personal Goals and Get Moving
Sara Gace (BA anthropology ’23):
“What I've found most helpful as a college student is staying active, which can look different to every person! I've had friends that have taken advantage of the club and intramural teams at AU and others that make a habit of going to the gyms on campus. For myself, I like to explore different running trails in DC :) Not only does staying active have the obvious benefits for your physical health, but what I appreciate most of all is getting the carved-out time to think, reflect, and listen to some fun audiobooks!
AU also has a platform called You@AU where students can organize what wellness looks like to them as a whole and make personal goals. I haven't used this myself, but I know friends who have and benefited from it.”
Enjoy the Process
Nico Howeth (BA sociology ‘23):
“It takes time to find friends you genuinely click with and activities you sincerely have sustained passion for. Don’t get discouraged if things don’t all fall into place right away. Part of the fun is exploring—even if that means taking a bunch of classes in things you’ve never heard of. You might just find your new major and like-minded friends like I did. Enjoy the process.”
Embrace New Experiences
Devi Dutta-Sultan (BA philosophy, Honors Program CAS LEAD ’25):
“I've found that it has been very important to me to have that space where I am open to new experiences outside of what I would usually do and also being open to my own ideas, which have led me to have some really cool and exciting experiences during my time in college. For example, if I find myself with some free time and in need of a break from schoolwork, I may join a club/organization activity and find myself meeting new people and learning something new and being really glad that I had joined. Or I might find myself going out for a walk in the nearby neighborhood or take a bus ride somewhere and discovering a new place and being happy that I took that spontaneous trip because I discovered something really cool!”
Learn About On-Campus Resources
Jules Herald (BA international studies and public health ’23):
“I work as a peer health educator (PHE) at AU. We run health programming events and serve as a general information resource about health topics and help get students connected to the services on campus that best fit their needs. And, while we used to be part of the Health Promotion and Advocacy Center (HPAC) on campus, PHE’s will be a part of the new Center of Well-Being Programming and Psychological Services.
In addition to holding events related to alcohol and other drug use, safe sex practices, mental health, and other important health topics, we are also going to be merging with the Counseling Center and will serve as a more centralized resource for health and wellness information for students. We’re all excited to see the centers evolve and collaborate to meet the needs of the students on our campus!”
American University Health and Wellness Resources
- Recreational Sports & Fitness
Fitness centers, aquatics center, fitness programs and sports programs. No matter how you choose to stay active, RecFit has something for you!
- Academic Support and Access Center
ASAC offers tutoring, academic coaching, disability support services, grievance procedures, and more.
- Student Counseling Services
These are challenging times — please know that the Counseling Center is here for you! We are providing remote and limited in-person services for the AU community.
- Crisis Support
Now available 24/7 through AU ProtoCall. Students can call AU ProtoCall from anywhere at any time. Parents, faculty, and staff may also call AU ProtoCall services if concerned about a student. The number for AU ProtoCall is 202-885-7979.
- Campus Life
What's your passion? Whether it's social justice, community service, the arts — or, say, frisbee or beekeeping — AU has a home for you. At AU, involvement isn't an after-thought. It's how students build skills, make change, and find space to relax and connect. It's a big part of what makes us a community. Check out all the ways to get involved!
- Career Services
Get help with career guidance, resume writing, job searches, and more.
- Kay Spiritual Life Center
American University’s place for meaning, purpose, and community.