How To Make Time For Going To The Gym In College

How To Make Time For The Gym In College

I finally reached my goal of consistently going to the gym five days a week! I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I’d tell myself that I’ll go and then I don’t. Or, I’ll embark on a journey of attending the gym everyday, go twice and then allow small hiccups in my schedule to prevent me from continuing to go. It’s really hard to squeeze gym time in between your part-time job, your internship, your class work and your social life. It’s also really hard to remain consistent with it once you start. Why that’s the case is beyond me. One thing I do know for sure is that I love going to the gym because for an hour and a half a day, I can focus on my music blasting in my ears without thinking about a paper or homework assignment. I also love knowing that I’m getting closer toward my health-related goals, so that also keeps me coming back.

Because I know that the struggle I described above is something than many others are all-too familiar with, I decided to write this post on how to better pencil in workout time even if you’re really busy. What’s your favorite thing to do at the gym? Let me know in the comments!

1. Sign up for a fitness class. 

This is one of my favorite (and most common) ways to not only motivate you to exercise, but also to make sure you add it to your schedule. When you sign up, you feel obligated to go. If you sign up to volunteer at the campus blood drive, you’d probably add that to your schedule so you don’t forget. So do the same with fitness classes. Check out your college’s fitness class schedules and try to find one that occurs when you don’t have class. My personal favorite is Zumba Toning because I can do cardio and strength training in one class.

2. Look for time in between your classes. 

I know a lot of people prefer to not go to class right after going to the gym because then they’ll be sweaty, but if it doesn’t bother you then this is a good way to get in a workout. If you’ve got an hour and a half before your next class and you’re looking for something to do, exercising is a good way to be productive in that time. On days that I slide a workout in between my classes, I bring deodorant and a change of clothes in my duffel bag so I can feel even a little bit fresh after my muscles and body cry for an hour. In my post on things to make college life easier, I talk about a great product that’s perfect for slipping into your bag when you need to freshen up but don’t have a lot of time.

If you don’t like being sweaty in class then maybe this isn’t the option for you. If that’s the case, check out my next suggestion…

3. Plan to go for at least an hour right after your final class of the day. 

Class is over for the day, so you can’t use being sweaty in class as an excuse anymore. This is also a good idea if you have back-to-back classes. If you need to bring gym clothes with you, do it. Make sure you plan ahead by bringing a lock if you’ll need to leave your backpack in a locker at the gym. Sometimes you’re already really tired after a day of class and going to the gym might tire you out even more. At the same time, going to the gym could also wake you up. You never unless you try! But if you’re worried that working out at the end of a long day will leave you exhausted, try doing low impact exercises for the hour. Or, instead of going for an hour, do 45 minutes and gradually work your way up to a longer duration.

I usually like going to the gym after I’m done with my classes because I can stay for as long as I want and I can really take my time. I don’t have to hurry to change for class or cut my treadmill time in half because of something else I have to do.

4. Pick two-three days during the week as “workout days.” 

And stick to them! Tell yourself that every Monday and Thursday after your psychology class, you’ll go to the gym. Forming a habit out of it will ensure that you keep going. You don’t have to plunge right into going to the gym for most of the week. Even starting out by picking one day a week to workout is a really good start.

5. Think of going to the gym as an obligation, just like class. 

Build the rest of your schedule around your classes and the gym, as surprising as that sounds. I have my beloved Zumba Toning class every Tuesday at noon and, I shit you not, I will NOT give up this time for anything else. If someone asks if I’m free then, the answer is always no. If I need to meet with a professor, I will not suggest this time to meet. I’m very stubborn when it comes to trying to compromise with this time because I love the workout so much and I basically treat my attendance in it as I would my attendance in an academic class: if I’m not so sick I can’t move, I’m going. This really helps a lot because at least I know that I’ll definitely have at least one workout day taken care of.

What are your tips for making time for a workout? 

Related: 20 Ways To Be Healthier In College, 10 Ways To Relax + Enjoy Alone Time In College

 

How To Create An Effective Study Schedule

If you’ve ever tried to sit down with a textbook in front of you and an army of highlighters at your command, you know that studying isn’t always an easy feat. It’s like you KNOW you need to start studying but you just can’t seem to find the right time, place, or sometimes material to get down to work. Sometimes it’s even hard to not wait until the night before to crack a book open, but when you have the weight of your college world on your shoulders, that’s exactly what happens anyway. And we all know what can happen if you wait until the last minute to begin prepping for an exam or paper…

Over the years, I’ve found some techniques that really help me get my shit together come exam time — even when I’m not in the mood for studying or work. It’s important to note that these tips require planning ahead — even doing a little bit a day can end up making a huge difference. So here’s pretty much everything I do to create my study schedule.

1. Invest in a really good planner that has EVERYTHING you need.  

I say invest because some planners can be REALLY expensive. I purchased a Happy Planner (pictured below) for about $30 (though I didn’t realize it was $30 until I got to the cashier). But it’s a really great planner because it contains tabs that organize all the months and make it easier for you to find your place. There’s also a page where you can mark down birthdays and important dates/items for the month. This is the “Right Now This Month” page. There’s a big calendar for each month so you can write in exam dates and such while getting a general overview of everything you have planned. This is probably my favorite thing because I like being able to look ahead and see what’s coming up. You can also write down to-do lists for every specific day. Plus, there are also adorable and motivational phrases throughout!

How To Create A Study Schedule

Planners are well worth it because you don’t have to keep everything jumbled in your head. Your planner can help you keep track of everything going on — you just need to commit time to marking it up! This brings me to my next point…

2. Use your planner: Fill in exam dates and due dates. 

Every time I turn to a new month in my planner, I use the monthly outlook page to write in any project and paper due dates, dates for huge homework assignments and exam or quiz dates so I don’t forget. Make sure you keep up to date with this especially if anything changes. If there are tutoring sessions or professor/TA office hours, fill this in as well.

3. Get the “small” assignments out of the way first. 

It’s a rare occurrence to have a “small” homework assignment in college, but if/when you get them, finish them ASAP so you can focus more attention on the larger assignments. It’s so easy to forget about the small assignments, too. I cannot be the only who’s ever forgotten to do an assignment and had a mini hear attack when the professor goes, “take out your assignments.”

4. Find out what will be on the exam. 

Usually, your professor tells you a week or two in advanced what the exam will cover, so make sure you attend class so you can find out! If for whatever reason you missed class and didn’t catch the exam topics, email your TA or professor right away. After you find out what the exam will cover, you can better plan out how much time you’ll need for studying. If you already understand the majority of the topics, you won’t need as much review time compared to if you don’t understand the topics.

5. Figure out if you’ll need tutoring or some form of extra help. 

If you know you’ll have to see your TA or go to the tutoring center, you’ll have to start looking up hours and making sure they fit in your schedule. A lot of times, you’ll have to plan your whole day around whether or not you’ll be able to go to tutoring, so make sure planning this out is a priority. When I was a freshman, I found it hard to ask for help sometimes because I was stubborn and thought I could eventually understand everything on my own if I gave myself enough time. I was so wrong! If you need help, get it. Don’t sit around thinking that if you sleep with your textbook under your pillow, the knowledge will seep into your brain and you’ll wake up knowing everything.

6. Pick a study method. 

Different study methods work for different subjects and different people. I like knowing exactly how I’m going to study for something before I sit down to do it because I feel like it wastes time when I’m sitting there for 30 minutes alone just trying to figure out where and how to start. Here are some ways I have studied for classes I’ve had in the past:

  • Italian: flashcards
  • Chemistry/Any science or math class: completing practice problems
  • History: study group
  • English: reading the book and following syllabus themes
  • Journalism: creating study guides

There are other ways of studying for classes, but this is just how I studied for past classes. I think creating study guides is my favorite way to study for anything, though, because I like having everything I need to know on one piece of paper in one place rather than having to constantly flip through separate pages of notes in a binder. Group projects can be a risky business because they only work well if everyone can contribute something to the rest of the group.

Related: 11 Tips For Conquering Group Projects 

7. If you plan to join a study group, schedule time for it. 

I personally like knowing whether or not I’m going to be studying with others ahead of time so I can schedule that into Google Calendar. Google Calendar is also another way I organize my study schedule. I like receiving reminders when I have things to do, especially if my obligations are back to back and I don’t always have time to whip out my planner while running around campus. If you also like receiving reminders of what you have to do next, I highly recommend using this app.

8. Don’t bring negativity to your study session. 

Leave whoever pissed you off today at the door. I find that whenever I have a lot on my mind, I tend to be less productive because it’s just so hard to push negative feelings to the back of your mind. Try to deal with what’s on your mind before you sit down to do work. If you need to vent to a friend, vent to your journal, take a nap, give yourself a spa day, do it so you can focus better later.

Related: 20 Ways To Be Healthier In College

9. WORK.

This is the part where you actually sit down and do work. You’ve already planned everything out, you know what and how you’re going to study, you’ve ensured you’re in the right mindset for studying, now actually do it. Remember to give yourself some breaks from time to time, and physically place yourself in an environment where you can get work done.

10. If you can’t finish something, schedule it for another day. 

Sometimes I have to move things around to better suit my schedule (or my brain). It’s fine if you can’t get everything done that you set out to do, just make sure you allow time for it at a later day. I like drawing arrows in my planner to indicate that I’ve moved a task or assignment to another day.

How do you create your study schedule? 

Related Posts: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session

 

20 Ways To Be Healthier In College

This is my sixth semester of college and, let me tell you, even when you tell yourself that you’e going to start being healthy in college, IT’S HARD. Your dining options aren’t always in line with your definition of healthy; your assignments have you pulling your hair out; your body tells you to go to bed but your pile of homework tells you to get shit done. Yeah, it’s pretty difficult, but it doesn’t have to be one big improvement all at once. I’ve come up with a list of small, actionable things that you can start doing to have a healthier college experience.

1. Get enough sleep!

Lots of college students pride themselves on being able to run through an entire day on four hours of sleep or less. The way you hear people bragging about this, you’d think they were competing against each other or something. Not getting enough sleep will make you very sluggish and less alert during your classes.

2. Hang out with friends.

Being social is actually really important for being healthy. Sometimes you just want to get out of your room and be around people for a little while. Also, friends are great for when you feel like you really need to get something off your chest. If you’re worried you can’t see your friends because you have a lot of homework, schedule a study date with them. I do this with my friends all the time, even though none of us are studying the same thing. It’s just really nice to see them and have them as company. Be sure to check out my Secrets For Making New Friends In College!

3. Don’t substitute snack foods for meals.

I was super guilty of doing this and it’s really unhealthy. You don’t get as much energy as you need to get through the rest of the day, and you’ll likely end up being hungry again really soon. A pack of crackers is not lunch. Sit down for an actual meal if you’re hungry and you’ll feel much more full. I know a lot of people look for healthy options on campus and college campuses aren’t exactly breeding grounds for healthy foods, but if your campus has a dietician, make an appointment with him or her. The campus dietician can help you identify food options that suit what you’re looking for.

4. Have a piece of fruit with every meal.

I started doing this during one mini winter semester at my school and I felt pretty healthy because, before, I was completely disregarding fruit in my diet, unless I grabbed a fruit smoothie from Red Mango. I started having a banana with everything I ate — with cereal for breakfast, with a sandwich wrap for lunch, with pasta for dinner (I chose a banana because I’m allergic to apples and the only open dining hall only had apples or bananas as fruit options). It helped fill me up quicker and I didn’t even feel the need to grab ice cream or cookies for dessert. This is a good trick to try if you also have a sugar habit you’re trying to kick.

5. Give yourself breaks when you do work.

Don’t try to cram all of your chemistry notes into your brain over the course of four straight hours. Your brain can get fatigued and you won’t be able to retain what you study. I like taking a 10-minute social media break after every hour or so of studying or doing work. Another method of studying I’ve heard of is called the Pomodoro technique where you work for 25 minutes, take a five-minute break and then repeat each work-study block as needed. However, you must give your full, undivided attention to your task during those 25 minutes. If you have tried the Pomodoro technique, let me know if you were successful with it!

Related: How To Have A Productive Library Study Session

6. Listen to your body.

This is one of the most important things you could do for yourself. Always put your personal health above everything else — yes, even above going to class! If you’re extremely exhausted and feeling extremely crappy, don’t push yourself to go to an event or even go to class if you don’t think you can make it. It’s better to show up performing at your best than at your worst. Listening to your body can really tell you what you need. A headache may not seem like a big deal, but it can be your body’s way of telling you that you’re dehydrated and need some water ASAP (this has happened to me a lot). Be aware of the signals!

7. Don’t hold grudges.

I’m a natural grudge-holder, but I’ve learned over the years that holding grudges takes some SERIOUS energy — energy that I can expend doing other more worthwhile things. There aren’t enough hours in the day to walk around with a chip on your shoulder because someone did you wrong. I don’t forget what people do, but I move on from the situation and I don’t make it the number one thing on my mind anymore. It feels so much better to just think about the more important stuff in life and not sit over one insignificant thing that I’ll probably forget about by the end of the semester.

8. Have alcoholic drinks in moderation.

I get that everyone wants to go out and party once in a while to relieve some stress and momentarily forget about school, but use caution when drinking. Avoid binge-drinking (four drinks in one sitting for girls) and try to drink with people you trust who will look after you if you need care.

9. Bundle up when it’s cold outside.

If  you see people shivering outside and you think you should wear a hat, YOU SHOULD PROBABLY WEAR A HAT. I know the weather can sometimes deceive you, but it doesn’t hurt to at least pack a hat or scarf in your backpack in case you need it. It’s better to overcompensate for cold weather than to walk outside unprepared. Don’t play games with the cold; it can get you sick in a heartbeat. For more tips, be sure to check out my post on How To Avoid Getting Sick In College.

10. Drink lots of water.

This ties into my point on listening to your body. When you’re dehydrated, you’ll feel it. I get headaches in a specific part of my head when I really need water, and those headaches can hinder me from staying focused on my work. Water is also a good substitute for coffee when you’re trying to stay alert but don’t want to add to your caffeine intake. I like carrying around a refillable water bottle during the day because I find that I drink more water than if I were to just use a recyclable bottle of water.

11. Follow the instructions for using gym equipment. 

If you’re one of the brave souls who like to mix things up at the gym and try out different types of equipment, first off, good for you — I’m too comfortable with the few machines I use to try out different ones. Second, make sure you keep yourself safe by asking for help if you aren’t sure how to use a machine or equipment. I know it can be a daunting task because you don’t want to look like you’ve never been to the gym before, but really, who cares? Everyone at the gym should be there to work and focus on themselves, not judge others. Better safe than sorry!

12. Walk to class instead of taking the bus.

This is an easy way to get your steps in for the day. My campus is huge and there are several buses running through it. Walking to class from my dorm room, even if it takes 15 minutes, is a great way for me to stretch my legs (and get my heart rate up if I’m running late!)

13. Avoid pulling all-nighters.

Sometimes, staying up extremely late is unavoidable if you have an extremely packed schedule, but if you can avoid it, you should. This ties in with my first point on getting enough sleep, so I won’t talk about this too much.

14. Create a bedtime routine to help you sleep.

If you sometimes get in bed but find yourself unable to actually sleep for another few hours, try coming up with a bedtime routine to get you to sleep. Here’s my routine: After finishing homework, I remove my makeup and take a shower; I get into my pajamas and hop into bed; I go through my phone for about 30 minutes to catch up on social media or messages; I read whatever book I’m enjoying at the time for about an hour to an hour and a half. I’m usually able to fall asleep by midnight if I do this. My routine is pretty simple, but feel free to do whatever you need to do to fall asleep. What’s your bedtime routine? Let me know in the comments!

15. Take care of yourself as soon as you think you’re starting to get sick.

If you feel your throat starting to feel dry and sore, get some cough drops and start drinking really warm tea. Don’t wait until it progresses to your nose getting stuffy and you coughing up a lung before you decide to take medicine or get treatment.

16. Find healthy ways of venting your frustrations.

Everyone has shitty days, but the way you handle them is what’s really important. I’m the type of person who needs to complain loudly to get something that really upset me off my chest. I always feel like I can move on once I tell someone about it. If you aren’t big on talking to others when you’re upset, venting to a journal is a great alternative.

17. Don’t over-exert yourself.

This ties into listening to the messages your body sends you, so I won’t go into too much detail with this one. I’m not just talking physically here, I’m also talking mentally. Don’t pile on too many obligations for your brain to handle. Know what your limit is and don’t try to exceed it.

18. Listen to music.

Listening to music is like a temporary break from your mind. I love listening to music in the morning while I brush my teeth and shower for class. It makes me feel so much better about having to wake up for my 8a.m. and it puts me in a really good mood. For more ways to have a brighter morning, check out my post on How To Make Your Mornings More Exciting.

19. Ask for help when you need it.

Don’t be afraid to ask for professional help if you need it. It’s not a sign of weakness and it’s completely okay to seek it. Looking out for yourself is one of the best things you could do.  Your college likely has free resources for students, so don’t be afraid to ask around and find the services that will suit you.

20. Set goals and be realistic about them.

Goal-setting is a healthy way to track progress and find ways to improve your performance. I love setting goals because if I reach or surpass them, I feel extra good, and if I don’t reach my goals I know exactly what I have to work on for next time.

What are your tips for healthy living in college? 

11 Tips For Conquering Group Projects

11 Tips For Conquering Group Projects

I have a serious love-hate relationship with group projects. I think they’re fun because it’s a chance to meet new people and you don’t have to do the work all by yourself for a project. But at the same time, sometimes you get unlucky and you DO end up doing all the work by yourself. Plus, you have to accommodate for everyone’s schedule and sometimes people have more free time than they’re willing to say, which makes it even harder to come up with adequate meeting time for the team. My group project experiences have NEVER been just okay or decent — they’re always either really great or really terrible. I’m starting to think that an okay group project experience just doesn’t exist. If you have proof of one, do let me know.

Whether you’re new to college group projects or a seasoned veteran who still experiences hiccups, I feel ya. The struggle is real. So I’ve collected all my tips from over the years in my mental reservoir to help you out.

1. Don’t work with friends.

I did a group project with friends from my Italian class last semester and it worked out really well because they know me and they know my attitude when it comes to working. They didn’t think I came off as bitchy or bossy and we were all able to be blatantly honest with one another on a variety of things without worrying about hurting each others’ feelings. So then why is working with friends such a terrible idea? Because you may not have this dynamic with all your friends. Sometimes, your friends think they can play around and talk about the latest piece of campus gossip when you’re supposed to be advancing your project. They might waste your valuable meeting time and this will drive you INSANE. It’s such a helpless feeling to know that you have a deadline fast approaching and the lack of action from your group is getting you nowhere. You don’t want to do all the work yourself because HELL-O IT’S CALLED A GROUP PROJECT, not a y’all-can-kick-back-on–Twitter-cuz-I-got-this-myself project.

2. Be the take-charge leader.

I always take the lead in a project. When I’m paired with people who don’t like speaking up much or aren’t the natural leader type, this makes it much easier to be in charge. Of course, you should never abuse your self-proclaimed power as group leader. When I assert myself as a leader, here’s what I usually do:

  • I usually read the instructions aloud to make sure everyone understands the requirements. This is a good way to also make sure that YOU understand the requirements because sometimes we can misunderstand things and your group mates can help you out.
  • I ask everyone for their ideas. Make sure you hear everyone out before you make a decision. If someone is being particularly quiet, directly ask what they think. Everyone’s input is important.
  • I create a group chat and a document on Google Drive to be shared with everyone. Google Drive is a good way for everyone to collaborate on the same document at the same time or whenever they’re free. Even if it’s not necessary for your project, it’s still a good way for everyone to see what’s happening. I do this as soon as I can so everyone is aware of it and we can start ASAP.

3. The best time to meet up is after the class.

I have found that this is the best time to meet up with group mates and I always suggest this time first before any other time. This is because you’re basically already with your group mates; you know exactly where they are and you wouldn’t have to wait around in the library for someone to show. You can all travel to your ideal meeting location together and get down to business immediately. If meeting up right after class doesn’t work for some people, then move to suggesting other possible times.

4. Sorry, but you may have to make small sacrifices.

I understand that everyone’s lives are different and some people are more busy than others, but you may find yourself having to sacrifice something for the project. Maybe you commute to school and your group mates who live on campus are only free in the evenings. If you really want to get this project moving, you may have to volunteer one evening per week to stay on campus for a bit longer. In the past, I have had to miss appointments and change my schedule around drastically to allocate time for working on projects. In the end it was worth it because we made progress and I could relax knowing that we were able to do something significant. Obviously, it’s very frustrating when someone else in the group isn’t okay with sacrificing something for the good of the project. If this is the case, you may have to try to advance things and fill them in later.

5. Pick your meeting location wisely.

First off, depending on the size of your group, you’ll want to pick a place that you know is big enough to accommodate all of you and the space you’ll need. Don’t go physics building if you know all the tables in the study lounge there are tiny af and you can barely fit a laptop and notebook on them. No, no, no. Don’t put yourselves through this torture. Second, pick a spot where outlets are available. You don’t want someone leaving the team meeting early because their phone died and they need to charge it, or for the one laptop in the group to not have a way of being re-charged if it dies. Most importantly, make sure you pick a spot where you won’t get distracted easily.

Related: 13 Tips For Having A Productive Library Study Session

6. If money needs to be spent, divide the cost evenly.

I used to be that kid in the group who would always go above and beyond when it came down to buying materials for projects. My parents would always ask, “so what’s everyone else bringing?” Good question. Make sure that no one person is spending all the money for materials. And if one person does buy everything, make sure he or she is reimbursed equally by everyone, otherwise it’s simply not fair.

7. Divide up all tasks and set deadlines for each. 

Assign work for each person to do, but when it comes down to writing a paper, have one person do it. This is to ensure uniformity in language and style throughout the paper. Everyone can do their research separately and hand it to the designated typer. Make sure you set a deadline for when everyone needs to have their part of the work completely finished. This deadline should be at least one week before the project is due. This leads perfectly into my next point…

8. Don’t stand for someone else not pulling their weight. 

You’re probably reading this and thinking, I’m always that kid who has to do everything in a group project. Same. That has always been me, and at some points in college it still was. A lot of times when the professor would come around to everyone’s groups and ask how we’re progressing, I’d find myself saying, “so far, we have research that proves blah blah blah,” or, “we are almost done with the experiment,” even if we didn’t do shit. I roll my eyes just thinking back to the times when I did that. I hate unequal workload just as much as the next overachiever, and I know if you complain to some professors, they’ll just tell you that in the real world, you have to work with people all the time and you can’t whine about it like a baby when someone slacks. You might want to not complain to these professors, but don’t be afraid to speak up with others if someone isn’t pulling their weight. I’m not about to help Tom, Dick, and Harry get an A when all they did was play on their phones.

9. Don’t go down for someone else’s dishonesty. 

Misery loves company. Tell misery to go screw itself. NEVER take the fall WITH or FOR anyone who cheats in any way on the group work. There are serious consequences for academic dishonesty in college and you don’t want to get wrapped up in any of them. You should be able to trust all of your teammates to put in the effort to contribute their own, original work, but it’s a shame that sometimes that’s not the case. Don’t even joke around with them about cheating.

10. Be kind and understanding. 

Things happen sometimes and we have very little to no control over them. The best thing you can do is be understanding about everyone’s situation even if it irks you or doesn’t put you in a desirable position. Things will be much easier if you’re just nice! That’s not to say that it’s okay to let people take advantage of your niceness and walk all over you, though. There’s a difference. Being understanding will make the project much more fluid and drama-free.

11. Review the work before handing it in. 

Everyone must do this to make sure that they’re all satisfied with the final product. Plus, with several pairs of eyes on the work, small mistakes are more likely to be caught. If you can, finish the project a couple of days before it’s due, don’t look at it for a day or two, then get back to it with fresh eyes. This can help you make sure you conveyed your points in a clear way, and you might be able to catch any mistakes you didn’t catch beforehand.

What are your tips for surviving group projects? 

Related: 13 Tips For Getting A’s In Your Classes