exercise

It Is Time to Stop Stressing Out

In college, sometimes things get tough. I’m going to shed some light on how you can help yourself get through these “tough” times and not get too stressed out.

Scenario number one: I need a job! Money is tight for most all college students. If you have time to work but are worried you won’t be able to find a job in your new town, don’t be! I moved from Iowa to Omaha and I wanted a job more than anything. You have to be proactive. I went around to various stores and introduced myself to many managers.  I filled out numerous applications and sure enough, quickly got multiple interviews. The key is to look for a job right at the beginning of the school year. Most part time jobs have seasonal workers who maybe live in your college town but go to school elsewhere. When these employees to away to school, they need people to fill their shoes fast during the school year, it’s perfect! Be confident and go get em!

Scenario number two: Homework overload! College is interesting because although you will suddenly have an abundance of free time, you will also find yourself with insane amounts of homework. If you put two and two together, do your homework in your free time! I know it doesn’t sound like the most fun to use your free time for your studies, but it will benefit you. If you use time between classes or at lunch to study, you can use your evenings to relax. I’ve found myself mastering the art of getting everything done early in the day or afternoon; it’s so nice to be able to relax when dinner time rolls around.

Scenario number three: I got dumped! I know the initial thing to do after being dumped is going to one extreme or the other. Either you don’t eat or you eat the whole pantry. Either you don’t sleep or you sleep your life away. Either you don’t work out or you never stop. Point is, neither extreme is healthy. College brings change that sometimes high school relationships or summer flings can’t handle. If you find yourself suddenly riding solo, embrace it! Think of all the new fish in the college sea. I know at first it will seem as though no one can compare to the one you were with, truth is; only time will tell. If you are supposed to be with that person, eventually it will happen if not, it might as well end sooner than later.  Have fun, remain confident, and don’t always think you NEED to be in a relationship to be happy.

Scenario number four: I’ve gained weight! Everyone has heard of the so called, “freshman 15.” It’s true that college can initially lead to weight gain. This is due to eating at later times in the night, eating more fast food, and not working out as much. Alcohol is also one of the main causes of weight gain in college students.  To fix your sudden weight gain, start with eating right. Pick meals that include each food group, and attempt to snack less. Along with eating the right foods, try and eat all your food before 9 at night. The later you eat, the more food sticks on your body once you sleep. Eating breakfast is one of the main contributors to a healthy diet. Breakfast gets your metabolism going sooner, and leads to less hunger overall throughout the day. If you must go to a fast food restaurant to eat, try and pick a subway or order off the lower calorie menu. The best advice is to just avoid fast food. Other things to avoid include pop and alcohol. These beverages are loaded with a ridiculous amount of calories. If you feel a good workout is in order, just do it! Now that the weather is getting nice, try going for a run or a bike ride. Getting active is a step in the right direction.

I hope if any of my scenarios related to you, my advice will also. Have an awesome last few weeks of school!

-Speedy G.

College Food Pyramid

My parents are in the next cycle of college visits. First it was my older brothers, then it was my turn, and now it’s on to my little brother, the baby of the family. As they jump from school to school some things seem to blend together—nice campus, good “quad” space, excellent facilities etc. However the one area that I wasn’t expecting to get a progress report on was the dining halls and food options. At least when I was getting ready to jet set off to school, I almost forgot to check out the accommodations. I figured, “How bad can it be? I’m sure they are all the same!”. But when you stop to consider it, how do your dining options stack up? How do you navigate through it all to make sure you are eating right and still getting a little of the college feel for food?

My mom was shocked at some of the schools—they really had a lot to choose from! From little markets, to pizzerias, to actual chain restaurants right smack in the union. She called me saying, “How do kids do it? They have so much food here, how does everyone keep the weight off?”. While weight is a tricky topic, some keep it off, some don’t, she was right in saying that the choices can be overwhelming. When should we indulge in treats, and when should we stick to the basics? Where are the good eats and where are they hiding the bad treats?

I look at dining halls in a couple of ways—take your school union for example. I’m sure that there are campus “fast-food” options, ready to pick up, and eat so you can run to class. At my school there is a sandwich stop, a pizza place, a stand that is also ready to serve chicken fingers and fries, and grill type option. In theory, all great food, but not so much if you are trying to watch the pounds.

Then there is the stable “Dining Hall”. Every day there is a different hot meal, your typical meat, vegetable, and carb. There are often different stations you can filter through—a salad bar, a soup stop, meat “carver”, a fruit bar—the options seem endless. You figure, “Hey, it’s all here, why not try it all”. In my opinion, that’s where we all go wrong.

The food on any campus is not going to be gourmet seven days a week, but it certainly isn’t down right bad for you. There are staples that help to create reliable balanced meals whatever your tastes are. You can stick to the planned meal; pick up whatever they are serving as a complete plate. However, most students take this as phase one. I’ve got the plate—what else can I add?

Students go from having a balanced meal—probably right in the zone for calories—a little protein, a potato of some sort (fries kind of count), and a vegetable. Then they add soup, grab some pasta, and maybe throw in a sandwich. Pretty soon it all starts to add up and before you know it, you have a full tray complete with soda, water, or a Powerade. Dining halls can be dangerous. Your eyes are almost always bigger than your stomach and anything can happen.

On the one hand you could eat everything on your plate—good for the kitchen, bad for your waistline. On the other hand, you could have all the food and really only touch a few things and shove peas around your plate. Students don’t realize how much food goes to waste when they pile up the plates on their tray only to discover they really aren’t that hungry later.

An important rule of thumb to consider when navigating your dining hall or school eating options is moderation. This isn’t the last time you are eating all week—it’s just one meal! Stick to the normal stuff, don’t pack it all on your tray! There will be more food in a few hours, tomorrow and the next day. It seems like you have to try it everything before some other student sneaks up behind you and takes it all, but I promise that won’t happen.

Try to align your eyes with you stomach and shoot for what you need as opposed to all the food you want—you could be making trips back and forth for hours if that’s the case. Food options can be tough, but remember that anything is good in moderation and small portions of anything can be great—as long as you don’t go overboard! Us your conscious as your food GPS and stick to the stuff that your mind and your body would say yes to. Maybe opt out of the ice cream bar and the choc chip cookie and settle for just one!

-Ring Queen

I’m reading Statistics for Behavioral Sciences

The Benefits of Riding Your Bike to Class

Who needs a car when you’ve got a bike? Gas prices are climbing and they’re expected to reach $5 per gallon or more. That’s just crazy. And I’m sure you’ve heard of another little thing that’s going around called global warming. What’s going on with our environment is just crazy too. So lock up your cars and do some stretches. You’re about to be schooled in how you can change your life by simply busting out your trusty bicycle.

You’ve most likely seen someone on campus biking or skateboarding around (heck, I live in the snowiest city of the US and I still see kids biking in blizzards). Maybe you’ve made fun of them for taking up the road or for having a goofy looking bike. Perhaps you’ve mocked their helmet hair or saw them get almost hit by a bus and had a mini heart attack—and don’t let this turn you off to bike riding; only the bikers not paying attention get in the way of a bus (crazies!). Laugh all you want because those foot pedalers are saving green in more ways than one.

Bike riding is good for you and the environment. You’ve likely heard all this before. Oh, I can build some muscles if I ride my bike for half an hour today. I won’t pollute the earth if I leave behind my car for this shopping trip. You think you can’t really make a difference. You think biking won’t really make a difference in your life. Err, wrong!

For starters, riding a bike can make a test day tolerable. By cycling to class on a fine morning, your stress will noticeably diminish. And if you keep this up every day for the week, your anxiety and any depression you feel will greatly reduce. It gives you time to take in nature—or, you know, all the buildings between your apartment and campus—clear your head, take in fresh air and relax. So, really, a bike ride is like taking a mini mental health day.

By riding your bike to class, you will actually make time to exercise. It can be hard to find time to go to the gym or sign up for a workout type elective. Between homework, internships or jobs, poor campus food and a lot of your day spent sitting behind a desk, those pounds will add on without you even noticing. Biking will give you a chance to tone up your legs, get in the cardio, increase your mobility, and just make you feel better about yourself.

If you’re concerned about leaving a carbon footprint, bike riding can haul that worry away. Not only will your car not be sputtering out harmful pollutants, you’ll also use less gas overall, which is a definite benefit with the world’s problems right now. With a four mile trip, you save us all 15 pounds of pollutants. Imagine if you and everyone you knew contributed to that! Also, instead of needing new roads and driving routes, you can take a scenic route and stick to the sidewalk, helping to save materials and keep nature as it should be—without a highway cutting through it. Plus, supplies for bikes don’t require the deforestation necessary for rubber plants and bio-fuels used in other transportation methods (aka the car).

Biking can also become a great way to meet new people and enhance existing relationships. Some people don’t like to drive to a store alone. So get them to bike with you instead. Believe it or not, just seeing you bike ride every day will inspire your neighbors and others to lower their environmental impact and work out on their way to work or school. You’ll be like a modern day gang…without the bandanas and violence.

And if that wasn’t enough to convince you, think of all the traffic you can avoid, alternate routes you can take, animals you can save (especially if you’re not a good driver), and the excuse to wear tight biking shorts without feeling like a total weirdo.

Oh, yeah, and it’s the third most popular activity in England, so if you want to pick up a cute Brit, biking could break the ice!

-ToonyToon

I’m reading A History of Western Art