In Fall of 2009, coming in as a freshman at EMU, I thought I had mentally prepared myself so well for what was to come. I was so excited to not be in a classroom all day and to really take control of my own time and schedule. I recognized that my mom was no longer going to be making my meals and I wasn’t going to have tennis practice after school anymore to make sure I kept up with staying active. But I felt like I was in a good place to start a routine for myself.
Arriving at EMU was as a first year was so empowering. The sense of independence, meeting people, being in charge of getting myself to class every morning/afternoon, being the one to tell myself to get my homework done, being the one to decide when to return back to my room to make sure I get adequate sleep at night, and getting myself to church in the morning instead of hitching a ride with my folks. I was so ready for all of these things and after a couple weeks I really established a routine.
Since my senior year has started, I’ve recognized now more than ever how important it is to establish a routine such as this early on. I’ve definitely been that student who procrastinates a ten page paper, pulls an all-nighter to complete it, then naps the next afternoon to “catch up” and as a result doesn’t make it to the caf in time for a healthy meal. When that happens, it can ruin the rest of your week. How on top of your game can you be with small amounts of sleep, not enough brain-food, and poorly written papers? That’s enough to get you off track for awhile!
To help assist you in making the most of your independence I’ve come up with a list of ideas/facts for you to keep in mind as you get into and shape your routine. The earlier you figure out what works for you the more likely it will stick and the better you will feel!
Bigger ISN’T better when it comes to your food! (www.learningzonexpress.com)
Steer clear of ordering food with words like combo, ultimate, kingsize, jumbo, supersize, deluxe, tub (this word is gross!), value meal, supreme, biggie, and colossal.
Eating/drinking an extra 100 calories a day for a year can lead to a weight gain of 10 pounds if those calories aren’t expended! (www.learningzonexpress.com)
Know where your food comes from! Take advantage of the food that EMU provides from the campus gardens and local area, if you are unsure of where it comes from, ask. If the provider doesn’t know, be wary because chances are it is highly processed and loaded with preservatives.
Eat slowly! Enjoy your meal and pay attention to fullness cues. (www.choosemyplate.gov)
If you finish your meal and are still hungry afterwards, wait ten minutes before getting up for seconds. Give your digestive system time to catch up, if you’re still hungry after ten minutes, get something small like yogurt or fruit.
Don’t waste your daily calories on beverages. Drink water, milk or 100% juice to quench your thirst. (www.choosemyplate.gov)
Wake up at the same time every day!
Set monthly goals for exercise. If you want to start an exercise routine, start small and work your way up.
Take breaks! Set aside time to work on homework, but after an hour or two, take a break. Take a lap around the building, stop in a friends room, or catch up on your favorite TV show.
Most importantly, make sure your spending time with friends or doing something you love! You will be much happier and enjoy your college experience much more thoroughly if you have a good balance between work and play.
If you have suggestions or recommendations about something you’d like to read about, e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
-Hannah Wenger Richter