freshman 15 tips

Taking the stairs, and 8 other tips for Avoiding the Freshman 15

My fitness secrets revealed.

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Part of going off to college for the first time involves everyone and their mother, warning you about the freshman 15 and how real it is. Well, folks, hate to break it to you, but the freshman 15 may not strike you as hard as you think. My first few months at college I felt I actually lost a ton of weight. It was the polar opposite for me as well as some of my friends. There are many avenues and ways to pack on the pounds in college, but if you are smart and follow my tips, you too can avoid the big scary nasty freshman fifteen. Just kidding, it's literally nothing to worry about.

1. Exercise and take progress pictures regularly

Find your favorite form of exercise and incorporate it into your schedule! Maybe it is joining an intramural team, going on runs, hitting the gym, going to yoga, or cycling. You just have to promise yourself you will figure out what your "thing" is and stick with it! You do not have to do it every single day, but at least a few times a week. Taking progress pictures throughout your fitness journey will motivate you to keep going! You are your own biggest motivation, do not compare yourself or try to look like fitness or Instagram models.

2. Find a workout partner

Finding a workout partner will help hold you accountable as well as make working out more fun! If you dread working out to begin with, you are less likely to go if you are going alone. Misery loves company, so bringing your friend along for the ride will help you both start, and pick up momentum as you go. After going to the gym a few times with my best friend, I ended up loving working out and made it a goal to go to the gym every single day after class and I made it happen!

3. Eat whatever you want

Starving yourself or skipping out on meals on purpose is NOT the way to avoid the freshman 15. Honestly, trying to feed yourself three meals a day is not the most fun task and naturally, you will end up skipping at least one meal a day. At least that's how it was for me. So if my friends wanted to order pizza, I said yes because I was already super hungry from barely eating the entire day and it did not matter to me whether or not dinner was healthy. Stop caring so much and just eat. You'll be fine.

4. Coconut milk over dairy milk

Humans do not digest and process dairy very well and often times it can make you feel sick. Simply substituting the type of milk I drank helped me feel tremendously better. I always kept coconut milk on deck in case I wanted cereal, and a pint of coconut milk ice cream I could grab at any hour of the night and not feel gross after eating it.

5. Go to class!!

Going to class helps you avoid the freshman 15. Sounds silly, but think about it: walking around a huge college campus all day long five days a week adds up! The first month at school I can remember my legs being sore and tired all the time because I wasn't used to walking so much. Plus going to class means you get to see good boys, so attending is imperative.

6. Take the stairs

There are 500 billion stairs on a college campus. You're bound to encounter a case of those bad boys at least once a day, so you need to take them. My first semester I only took the stairs and always avoided the elevator unless I had a ton of groceries, and I feel that also aided my weight loss.

7. Plan your workouts around your class schedule

It is beneficial to figure out a gap in the day you are able to squeeze in a workout. You could take a look at your school's workout class calendar and attend yoga or Zumba after you get done with your classes on Tuesdays and Thursdays. You really have to tailor it to you and your needs. All my classes ended at noon or 1pm, so I made it a goal to go to Planet Fitness every day once I got out. Having a set schedule is important because it holds you accountable and you are more likely to stick to it.

8. Use dining dollars on healthier alternatives

I had the unlimited plan which included free meal swipes at places other than the dining hall. The dining hall gets old super fast and the thought of going may become repulsive. I found a place on campus called Freshii, which has a ton of healthy options. They have yogurt parfaits, smoothies, energy bites, and a variety of delicious bowls.

9. Don't be hard on yourself

This is something I am so big on! Focus on enjoying and loving life. Freshman year is the year you can be completely care free. You have so much free time to have fun and make the most of your college experience. If you want to sit around worrying about the way your body looks, you are wasting one of the most exciting years of your life. Relax and don't get down on yourself!

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To The Nursing Major During The Hardest Week Of The Year

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

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To the Nursing Major During Finals Week,

I know you're tired, I know you're stressed, and I know you feel like you can't go on. I know that no part of this seems fair, and I know you are by far the biggest critic of yourself. I know that you've thought about giving up. I know that you feel alone. I know that you wonder why in the world you chose one of the hardest college majors, especially on the days it leaves you feeling empty and broken.

But, I also know that you love nursing school. I know your eyes light up when you're with patients, and I know your heart races when you think of graduation. I know that you love the people that you're in school with, like truly, we're-all-in-this-together, family type of love. I know that you look at the older nurses with admiration, just hoping and praying that you will remain that calm and composed one day. I know that every time someone asks what your college major is that you beam with pride as you tell them it's nursing, and I know that your heart skips a beat knowing that you are making a difference.

I know that no grade can possibly prove what kind of nurse you will be. I know that no assignment will showcase your compassion. I know that a failed class doesn't mean you aren't meant to do this. I know that a 'C' on a test that you studied so. dang. hard. for does not mean that you are not intelligent. I know that no amount of bad days will ever take away the empathy inside of you that makes you an exceptional nurse.

I know that nursing school isn't fair. I know you wish it was easier. I know that some days you can't remember why it's worth it. I know you want to go out and have fun. I know that staying up until 1:00 A.M. doing paperwork, only to have to be up and at clinicals before the sun rises is not fair. I know that studying this much only to be failing the class is hard. I know you wish your friends and family understood. I know that this is difficult.

Nursing school isn't glamorous, with the white lab coat and stethoscope. Nursing school is crying, randomly and a lot. Nursing school is exhaustion. Nursing school is drinking so much coffee that you lose track. Nursing school is being so stressed that you can't eat. Nursing school is four cumulative finals jam-packed into one week that is enough to make you go insane.

But, nursing school is worth it. I know that when these assignments are turned in and finals are over, that you will find the motivation to keep going. I know that one good day of making a difference in a patient's life is worth a hundred bad days of nursing school.

Keep hanging in there, nursing majors. It'll all be worth it— this I know, for sure.

So, if you have a nursing major in your life, hug them and tell them that you're proud of them. Nursing school is tough, nursing school is scary, and nursing school is overwhelming; but a simple 'thank-you' from someone we love is all we need to keep going.

Sincerely,

A third-year nursing student who knows

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The Relaxing Physical Activity For The Person Who Loves Competition

How rock climbing changed my view on what it means to challenge yourself.

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I recently went rock climbing with my friends and walked away excited, proud, and craving more. In high school, I participated in competitive activities like tennis or tryouts to make the band. While I love these activities and don't see them leaving my life anytime soon, rock climbing changed my perspective on what accomplishment can feel like.

In sports, especially when competing in tournaments or for a spot, the fun of the game can be overshadowed by not-too-friendly competitors. It makes sense because everyone is fighting to win and prove that they deserve to be on the team. However, the relationship between everyone becomes more invested in maintaining a position than having fun and creating a family. Don't get me wrong, I love this highly-competitive arena, but rock climbing was the first time I had done something where I did not feel the need to compete with those around me.

One of my best friends coaxed me into going to a place about an hour away from my home. I was nervous to climb in front of others since it was my first time in years, however, my friend assured me it would be fine. It turns out she was 100% correct! We went with two other girls who were both very experienced and belayed us up and down walls. They were extremely supportive, and my best friend and I found ourselves attempting to defeat walls we never would have dreamed of climbing alone.

Climbing can definitely be competitive, but when surrounded by the right people, it gives you a chance to grow. It taught me that my biggest competition is with myself. My nervousness to embarrass myself in front of others was holding me back. When I truly started feeling comfortable, the main competitor was the wall. I found myself feeling like I was on a team that did not need to compete with each other but wanted everyone to succeed at their own rates. It was a great experience to feel fully supported and encouraged without the side order of having to constantly maintain rank.

I would recommend rock climbing to any overly competitive person like myself! It helps you challenge your own boundaries instead of other's and will help you to reflect on what it means to challenge yourself, mind and body, and how you work to overcome obstacles.

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