Sydney Stephens

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Sydney is the Assistant Lifestyle Editor. She is an English major/ journalism minor and hopes to work for a newspaper in the future. She enjoys writing and is passionate about fitness.

Travel: Spring break abroad

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

After months of sacrificing my Friday afternoons spending two hours on campus talking about Shakespeare, the day finally came that all of the reading and papers led up to. I nervously packed my suitcase with a week’s worth of clothing, assembled a carryon bag and gathered my passport and boarding pass. My mom drove me to the airport and noted how I seemed nervous. Of course I was. I had never been to Europe before and had never been without a family member in a different country. It left for the airport at around 3 p.m. and arrived to check in about two and a half hours before my 6 p.m. flight took off. I went through security and then found my terminal. I saw the faces of people who I barely knew also waiting. These were the people I would be spending the next nine days with. I hoped we would all get to know each other better and that it wouldn’t be awkward. Our professor walked around with his notorious moleskin notebook and began checking off people’s names in the neurotic way that he always did. The time passed and we finally bored our overnight flight to London. Looking back now a month after my trip, I can say that the faculty led spring break trip I took, Shakespeare in England, was one of the best experiences of my life.

Just the right amount of time

I always wanted to study abroad, but wasn’t crazy about going away for a whole semester to a continent I had never been to. I am quite the home body. Going to London for nine days was the perfect way to study abroad. I got to experience so much in those nine days and get to know people in my group pretty well. Even better, I was able to go away without the risk of getting behind in my degree by going abroad. We definitely made use of every second we were there. We went to three cities all together and I truly believe we got to see almost everything there was to offer in each city. There was not much down time at all. I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Seeing amazing things

Since pretty much every second was planned on this trip, our activities we already planned and there was not much leeway in skipping activities that maybe did not appeal to everyone. This could be a negative aspect to some people, but I grew to enjoy this. It provided structure and the guarantee of always seeing an extremely popular and important site with an amazing tour. One of my favorite parts of the whole trip was seeing Westminster Abbey. The extremely gorgeous church is where many important monarchs, scientists and authors are buried. We had an excellent tour guide who really made the whole experience with his knowledge and wit. We got to see many other places such as the British Museum and the Tower of London. While in Oxford we got to see many of the places where the Harry Potter films were made. I think if our group had more free time and less structure, I would have missed many of these amazing places because I would have probably been so indecisive about what I wanted to see. Also, great tours are very expensive to swing on your own. Sure we all felt a little annoyed following our professor around like sheep in London while he tried to navigate the tube system, but it was worth not getting lost on our own and missing things.

That is not to say that we had no free time because there were times we got to venture out and do what we wanted. One day some friends and I went to King’s Cross during free time to see platform 9 ¾, where we saw Professor Sprout.

The studying part of studying abroad

Because this trip was for a grade and the course was called “Shakespeare in England,” we were obligated to prepare beforehand. This included a lot of reading and writing, but by the time we got to London and saw productions of what we read, I was grateful for the readings and discussions beforehand. We saw five plays in London and two in Stratford-upon-Avon, Shakespeare’s hometown. It was an amazing experience going to some of the most famous performance spaces in London and seeing the shows. It was also really cool to go to a pub afterwards and critique and discuss what we saw over a pint. That and spending almost every second of the day with members of the group got all of us relatively close. Seeing plays was a very cool way to “study” while abroad. The rest of our time was spent sightseeing.

Looking back, it all went by so quickly. I am extremely grateful for the experience and all that I got to see. It was great getting to know my peers and professor in a different way than in the classroom setting. I will never forget the amazing plays we saw, the great food we tried and the little memories that made the experience of a lifetime.

Why you should pay attention to the SGA election: A talk with the all-female ticket running for office

Photo by Jessie Puffer
Photo by Jessie Puffer

There are many things that go on behind the scenes at UNC Charlotte and the Student Government Association has a hand in many of them. Most students do not realize the impact that SGA has, but the organization votes on issues such as transportation on campus, residence and dining halls and even how the library runs.

Jessie Puffer and Amber Creft are both current members of the SGA who have seen the organization make many changes on campus. Puffer is the current executive internal affairs secretary and Creft is the senator of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“Even things that we may see as small make the biggest impact in the end,” Puffer said. “Students are able to give their input and participate in things and it changes their overall experience at the university and SGA is the liaison for that happening.”

“We really are the liaison between administration and students,” Creft said. “The Chancellor comes out to speak to us, as well as the Provost and the Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs. So we really are the direct voice when students want to make changes. We get the students’ feedback and then the administration gets our feedback.”

Puffer constantly stresses the importance of students going to vote. She said every student should do research on the candidates and vote because the election will determine how the next academic year will be, as it effects everything for how classes are run to dining.

“SGA does a lot for the students,” Creft said. “Every week new organizations are approved and legislation is constantly being passed. Taking on part of the Belk Forum was SGA’s doing, we made sure that students were able to give feedback about what they wanted to see when the Belk Tower was removed. We deal with academic affairs and the advising system. If there is something that needs to be changed within that such as the withdrawal policy or the grade replacement policy that is something SGA is able to make a difference in.”

Puffer describes one of her favorite experiences as Secretary of Internal Affairs was sitting on the campus accessibilities organization. The goal of this organization is to figure out how to make UNC Charlotte’s main campus and Center City campus accessible to every student, addressing any type of safety or assistance need.

“We got to do a safety walk where we flagged all of the lights on campus that did not work, and flag areas on campus that are slippery or need to be fixed for safety,” Puffer said. We get to adjust the face of campus and the inner workings of campus.”

Puffer and Creft said one goal that they have is to gain as much community support as possible for the University. “Now that we are growing and becoming established, I think students want to see UNC Charlotte be that image in the community,” Puffer said. Creft said fostering tradition is important and making sure people know of the traditions that UNC Charlotte has.

Both Puffer and Creft are very passionate about the importance of the SGA and the difference it makes for students. They are hoping to take on new leadership roles and take their responsibilities to the next level. Puffer is running for Student Body President and Creft as Vice President. There has not been a female President in many years, and there has never been a female President and Vice President team.

“I feel that we may be the underdog in some sense because we are two women, but that doesn’t mean we are not able to do what we need to do,” said Creft. “We both have the mindset that women can do anything.”

Puffer and Creft said they want to build a cabinet that has a lot of diversity and reflects the student population. “If we can’t empathize with a situation, we want someone on or cabinet that can sympathize with the situation and help the student out with the challenge no matter what it is,” Puffer said.

“In general I don’t think the gender of a president is important, I think how they do their job and view the role as the voice of the students is the most important part of their job.”

“My main goal is to voice all of the main concerns and opinions,” Puffer said. “Whatever the students need, I want to take that to the administrations and student committees and make it happen. If students have the chance to be heard and say what they need to say then I think we will have done our job.”

Clubs around campus: The Ghost Hunting Club

ShirtDesignThe stairs were narrow and Greg Jones carried all of his camera equipment. He followed a strange noise that he heard to a blocked part of the USS North Carolina, a site that has had many reports of paranormal activity. He ventured to an area of the ship that was blocked off after continuously hearing a strange noise. While making his way to the most intimate parts of the ship, Jones suddenly felt a severe feeling in his arm. He compares it to being gouged by a piece of metal, but believes it was a spirit urging him to go no further. Perhaps a friendly warning to stay where he was permitted to explore.

This is not most twenty something’s average Saturday night, but you won’t find the members of the UNC Charlotte Ghost Hunting Club at a bar or club on the weekends. Instead, they travel around the Charlotte area, and anywhere within 10 hours investigating sites that have reports of paranormal activity, seeking answers for themselves, hoping to see what lurks in the darkness.

Jones, Ryan Beckman and Russell Hicks are members of the Ghost Hunting Club. After becoming involved in the club, they all began noticing strange things happening. “The tipping point for me was when we were in Storrs 290. I said ‘If there is anyone in here with me, make a noise,’ and a chair that was to my left moved,” Jones said. That was the biggest experience pushing him from being skeptical about the supernatural to truly believing. The club goes around campus exploring spots such as Denny 290 and McKnight Hall, both places where paranormal activity has been reportedly spotted.

The club has gone all around Charlotte, exploring local businesses and residential cases, but the most exciting adventures have happened on trips to the most haunted places on the East Coast; the Old City Jail in Charleston, S.C., the USS North Carolina in Wilmington and St. Alban’s Sanatorium in Virginia. There are three trips planned for this semester, one is to arguably the most haunted place in the country, Waverly Sanatorium, another to the Old Pittsburgh Hospital in Tennessee.

Beckman describes one of the most exciting things he has experienced on an investigation, “At the Old City Jail I heard two disembodied voices, a young girl and an older male, hours apart during the investigation. I was the only one to hear the girl’s voice, but all of us heard the male’s voice. These voices happened around three and five in the morning. You start to wonder if you actually heard voices, or if you’re just exhausted and hearing things. That is where the review comes in. We reviewed all the audio and we actually found both voices. The validation of hearing what you heard in the middle of the investigation when you were exhausted is just awesome. It really does make the long night worth it.”

Before an investigation the club does extensive research on the site they are visiting. They go over the history and layout to have a game plan. Once they are at the site, they take a guided tour, finalize the plan of equipment and then finally go lights out and explore the premises. They record what they see and hear with infrared full spectrum cameras that allow them to see better in the dark and pick up things that would otherwise go unseen in the darkness.

The club seeks to find answers. “We want to know if there is something going on in a place. The two most important thing to have on a hunt is knowledge and patience. Without those, you will fail and have a bad time,” Jones said. He explains that most people do not realize how much time goes into ghost hunting. What you don’t see in ghost hunting shows is the extremely long periods of time teams wait at sites to see activity. “Sometimes it can days for something to happen, but the shows capture everything in 30 minutes.”

They hope to understand why paranormal activity occurs at a location. On the USS North Carolina investigation, both Hicks and Jones describe having a profound experience. “[This was] our first real Investigation of a known place that’s haunted. That was the first time that I actually witnessed something paranormal and that I could not explain,” Hicks said.

“Five soldiers lost their lives in one area of the ship. There’s a room with bunk beds, and we were a room over and the there was a wooden table. For 10 minutes we were hearing a screeching sound. We walked out and it was still happening. Imagine someone turning a giant metal wheel. As soon as we went into the room it was coming from it stopped. After I walked out it started again. We have this recorded. It was so bizarre,” Jones said.

The UNC Charlotte Ghost Hunting Club is currently meeting and welcomes new members. They have many exciting things planned for the semester and meet on Tuesdays. If you are interested in investigating the supernatural, attend a meeting. For more information contact Jones at gjones59@uncc.edu.

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Anthony Tate

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

“During the snowpocalypse I played a few card games which was fun. I indulged in some gossip and threw a little shade. My friends and I stocked up on pizza and Jimmy John’s. I went out in the storm for a minute and got pelted with hail so I was like, ‘no thank you, good night.’”

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Chauncey “Chill” McNeill

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

“My Organic Chemistry II class might be the hardest class ever. I might go crazy studying for that final. I’m a chemistry and criminal justice double major. I have an organizer, and I just put everything in there. You have to be really structured, otherwise you will drown with all of the stuff. After college, it’s either grad school or the military to pay off all of these loans.”

Foods to add to your menu

After Thanksgiving, it can be sad to say goodbye to the lavish, extremely tasty foods that fill the season. The gourmet casseroles, the turkey, the delicious breads and all of the other things that made the holiday a binge-eating dream. Eventually you will run out of the leftovers your family sent with you and you will be forced to cook for yourself again. It is unfortunate, but you don’t have to do without tasty food. There are many options out there for delectable recipes that are easy and even healthy. For example, these two food items are easy to make, low in calories and fat and will turn any drab dinner into something you will actually look forward to eating.

Skinny cheddar biscuits

Anything with the word “cheddar” usually sounds unhealthy but, these biscuits are low in calories, sodium and fat. They taste just as good as they sound.

Ingredients:

– 2 cups Heart Smart Bisquick Baking Mix

– ¾ cup reduced fat sharp cheddar shredded cheese

– ½ teaspoon garlic powder

– ½ teaspoon Italian seasoning

– ½ cup cold water

First, preheat the oven to 400° F and spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Next, stir together the Bisquick mix, cheese, garlic powder, Italian seasoning and cold water. Make sure to follow thepreparation directions for the Bisquick mix so that the dough will be bread-like. I used fat-free milk so that it would be healthier. Stir the ingredients until the mixture is thoroughly combined. The batter will be thick and not smooth. Drop the batter onto the baking sheet.

The recipe will make 16 biscuits using a heaping tablespoon, but you can make them bigger or smaller if you would like. I used a muffin pan to make 12 muffin sized biscuits. Bake for 8-10 minutes, or until golden brown.

The recipe includes a step at the end where you can brush the biscuits with butter. I did not do this to try and be as healthy as possible. If you would like to do this, simply melt unsalted butter and then coat the biscuits and contains 160 milligrams of sodium. Even with this step, each biscuit is only 80 calories.

When I made this recipe, I used gluten-free baking mix. This is an option so those who cannot eat gluten can enjoy a biscuit.  The baking time for the gluten-free mix will be slightly shorter than regular biscuits. Just make sure not to burn them.When I bit into one for the first time, I was pleased with how the cheese flavor and garlic flavor went so well together. I will definitely make these again.

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

Stuffed baked apples

This dessert option is filling, tasty and will get you in the holiday spirit with its delicious apple spice flavor.

Ingredients:

– 4 baking apples

– ¼ cup instant oats

– 2 tablespoons brown sugar

– 1 teaspoon cinnamon

– 2 tablespoons fat-free cream cheese

– 1 teaspoon orange zest

– ¼ teaspoon vanilla

First, preheat the oven to 375° F. Next, core the apples and scoop out the centers. Make sure you do not cut all the way through them.  In a small bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar and cinnamon. Then, in another small mixing bowl, stir together the cream cheese, orange zest and vanilla. Spoon one tablespoon of the cream cheese mixture into each apple and fill it the rest of the way with the oat mixture. Do this for all 4 apples. Finally, place the apples in a small baking dish and pour enough water to cover the bottom of the dish by about a centimeter. This is important so the apples do not burn in the oven. Cover the baking dish with foil and bake for 20 minutes, then uncover and bake for an additional 25-30 minutes to make the apples soft.

This recipe is fairly simple and is a great option if you are craving something sweet after dinner but want to be healthy. Each apple is 182 calories, but this value will vary if the apples you use are smaller. This number reflects large apples. I did not know what to expect with the cream cheese mixture and how it would taste after it baked, but it was amazing and paired well with the baked apple cinnamon flavor. I will be making this recipe again, especially since the holidays are approaching. I also liked the presentation of them. If you have dinner guests, they will surely be impressed with this creative dessert.

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

Humans of UNC Charlotte: Vamshi Dhar and Hassan Al Labbad

Left, Hassan Al Labbad. Right, Vamshi Dhar. Photo by Sydney Stephens
Left, Hassan Al Labbad. Right, Vamshi Dhar. Photo by Sydney Stephens

“We met through an on campus club and started hanging out. I’m from Saudi Arabia and he’s from India. This is my first time playing pool here, and only the third time in my entire life.”

-Hassan Al Labbad

“I’m decent. You could say that I’m a regular pool player.”

-Vamshi Dhar

Humans of UNC Charlotte

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

“I just started here. I’ve been here for two months. Never be afraid to move. You’re never too old, and I guess that would be my advice for anyone. I got my English degree and now I’m working for the University’s writing program. I like to come here and read on this little bench. At my University, there were only 10,000 students and a little fountain. There wasn’t a place like this. I really like it here at Charlotte.”

-Jacki-Lynn Baynks

PSA: Starbucks Frappula Frappuccino here for a limited time

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

Enjoy a Halloween treat from Starbucks. The vampire-themed Frappula Frappucino is now available at Starbucks, but only from Oct. 28-31. Don’t worry, if you miss the chance you can order the concoction as a secret menu item. Here’s the recipe:

Start with mocha sauce and whipped cream at the bottom of the cup, then add white chocolate mocha Frapp. Top it off with raspberry syrup to give it a gory look.

 

App Review: Untappd

untappdAre you a beer connoisseur? Do you ever find yourself looking at a beer list and seeing something that you want to try, but are unsure if you have had it before because the name sounds all too familiar? There is a way to catalog each and every beer you try and whether or not you like it with Untappd.

Download this free app, sign up for an account and begin untapping. You can even add your friends and see which beers they are trying. When you check-in with a beer, you can take a picture of it and then rate it on a scale from one to five bottle caps, five being the best. Then, add a description of what the beer tastes like. The picture and description are not required, but many people use these features. The ratings you give beers will create suggestions for different beers to try in the future. When you untap beers, you will earn different badges. These are a fun way to celebrate drinking beer.

If you enable the location setting, Untappd will find local breweries and craft beers special to your location. It will also find bars and trending beers close to you. This is my favorite aspect of the app. I highly recommend Untappd for social drinkers.

Workout your week

Photo by Sydney Stephens
Photo by Sydney Stephens

Sometimes it is hard to get motivated to work out if you are bored with what you are doing in the gym. The same thing day after day becomes monotonous and lack of change does not promote muscle growth. Implement these workouts into your gym routine this week if you don’t mind being a little sore afterwards. Each exercise plan is fast-paced, so if you like to make your workouts short and to the point instead of spending hours at the gym, these will suit you.

Military Monday

This full-body workout is derived from the Marine Corps “short card.” Although it is “short” compared to other workouts used in the Marine Corps, it is anything but easy. This circuit will work each muscle in your body and even force you to work on flexibility. You will only use your body weight, so it can be done anywhere. Once you finish one exercise, go straight to the next without rest. If you need to, modify the push-ups and burpees to fit your fitness level.

If you’re ready:

Start with 30 push-ups and immediately move into 30 air squats. Next, do 30 crunches, followed by 10 burpees and 10 windmills. To perform a windmill, stand with your feet spread apart and arms extended out to your sides. Then, bring your right arm down to touch your left foot without bending your knees and repeat with both arms. This is a flexibility exercise. After the windmills, crank out 30 more push-ups and 30 mountain climbers. Next, complete 30 flutter kicks for some more abdominal work, followed by 10 burpees and 30 more push-ups.

The next thing on the list is a set of 30 jumping jacks. This will give your chest a much needed break. Then, work your back with 30 back extensions. Perform these by lying on your stomach and lifting your chest and knees off of the ground at the same time. Next, you guessed it, 30 push-ups. Finally, finish the workout with 30 lunges, 10 trunk twists and 10 more burpees. If you didn’t get extremely fatigued, repeat the circuit again.

Treadmill Tuesday

Enjoy a fast-paced workout on the treadmill. This high intensity interval training workout will take you only 16 minutes, not counting the warm-up, but will be very beneficial to your cardiovascular fitness. First, warm-up by jogging for five to 10 minutes. Then move into interval training. Sprint for 30 seconds and then jog for one minute and 30 seconds. Repeat this eight times. High intensity interval training is a great way to burn fat and boost your metabolism.

Fast Friday

This workout is perfect if you want to spend a short amount of time in the gym, but still want to feel the burn. Use this plank circuit to tone your stomach and arms. If you are a beginner, aim to complete this circuit once. If you are more advanced, try to do it three times.

First on the list is a round of plank mountain climbers. To do this, hold a plank while moving your feet as if you were running for one minute. Next, work your oblique muscles with side plank donkey kicks. Begin in a side plank. Bend your right knee and pulse your heel up toward the ceiling for 30 seconds and then switch legs. Rest for 30 seconds and then get back into a regular plank position for the next exercise, plank jumping jacks. While in the plank, jump your feet apart and then back together for one minute. In the next exercise, your shoulders and biceps will feel the burn with plank-up-and-downs. Start in a push-up position and then lower yourself onto your elbows, one at a time, then back up. Do this for one minute. The last exercise is a star plank. Start on one side in a side plank and extend your top leg as high as you can. Hold for 30 seconds and then repeat on the other side. Your abs and arms will be on fire after all of these planks.

Be sure to stretch before and after these workouts. Remember, the first time trying a new work out is always the hardest. The next time will be easier because you will be stronger.

App Review: Audible

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Photo by Sydney Stephens

Fall is quickly approaching and the summer days of lounging by the pool with a good book are coming to an end. As a book lover, I am now looking for ways to fit reading into my schedule. Sometimes it is hard to read during the week with classes and homework and the weekends can be just as busy. I also feel guilty reading for pleasure when I know there are hundreds of pages to read in not so desirable books for classes. Luckily, there is an app that solves all of these problems so I can enjoy a good book and have time for everything else.

Audible is a free app that allows you to download audiobooks straight from your phone or tablet and listen to them anywhere, anytime. Audible has over 180,000 titles to choose from and pretty much every genre you can imagine. Whether you enjoy the classics or the best sellers, there is something for everyone. The first 30 days are free to new users and includes one book. After that, members pay $14.95 each month for a single book credit and 30% off all other books. If you don’t want to pay the monthly fee, you can still buy books and enjoy the app.  If you are hesitant on purchasing a book, you can listen to a sample before spending money.  I love this feature because it allows you to hear the narrator and then decide if you like their voice. Narration is the selling point for me. I enjoy this app because with it I can listen to books while driving, walking to class and working out. Sometimes, you can even find class textbooks on Audible, which makes homework a little more convenient if it can be done on the go.

Audible is a product of Amazon, so if you have ever used Kindle, Audible will suggest titles for you based upon what is in your Kindle library. The suggestions are always helpful if you are looking for a new book but don’t know what is out there. If you are unsatisfied with your audiobook, you can exchange it for another one for free thanks to the app’s “Great Listen Guarantee.” I highly recommend this app.audible-logo

Charlotte 49ers volleyball fall 3-1 in first away game

The Charlotte 49ers (2-2) travelled to Indianapolis this weekend for their first away games of the season in the Hampton Inn Invitational. The 49ers lost to Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Friday night in an upsetting 3-1 match.

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Morgan Barker. NT file photo.

Charlotte quickly fell behind two sets to none (25-17, 25-18), but came out in the third not willing to be swept and managed to make a comeback. They stayed ahead of the Jaguars for the majority of the set, even though IUPUI was within one point at a crucial time with the score 23-22. Kills by Semen Sen and Sarah Adams ended the set 25-22 and ensured at least one more round for Charlotte.

The fourth set was a steady back and forth battle, neither team taking more than a three point lead. Charlotte nearly forced the game to a fifth set and held the Jaguars at set point 24-23, but a service error extended the play. A final service error and a Jaguar kill cost Charlotte the match 29-27.

Sarah McDonald led the 49ers with 15 kills, followed by Sen who recorded 13 and a .462 hitting percentage.

Charlotte will take on West Virginia at 10 a.m. and Eastern Michigan at 4 p.m. to finish the Hampton Inn Invitational.

Tips for staying active and healthy this semester

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Photo by Sydney Stephens

“I will wake up and go to the gym every morning before my classes,” I told myself before the fall semester began. Over the summer I made it a priority to eat healthily and follow an exercise regimen that had me feeling strong and energized. Going to the gym each morning before class sounded like a great idea and something that would be easy to maintain, but after I received syllabi for each of my classes, I realized that my workload was going to be quite heavy. I quickly became discouraged and thought it would be nearly impossible to make it to the gym every day of the week with homework and extra-curricular activities.
After taking a step back at the end of the first week, I realized that I did not have to give up my health despite a busy schedule and everything would be fine. After all, change is good for the mind and body. If you are worried about staying fit or just being able to give your body the energy it needs during the daily grind of college life, these tips may be helpful for you.

iPhone health appFIRST: STAY MOVING
After class hours, it can be very tempting to sit back and relax for a while until it is time to go to work or do homework, but why not stay moving for a little while? The endorphins that your body produces during exercise will make you feel great afterwards and will help you sleep better at night. Exercise can also help fight depression and anxiety. Even if you only have a few minutes at the beginning or end of the day, try and do something physical. There are plenty of exercises you can do in your dorm or apartment if you are unable to make it to the gym. Try doing yoga or push-ups and sit-ups in your living space. Do not get discouraged if you miss a day of working out. Rest days are good and help promote muscle growth. Also, you are more than likely getting more exercise than you realize walking around campus. To be considered an “active person,” according to the National Health Association, you need to take at least 10,000 steps a day. Most smartphones have health trackers that count your steps and can give you a good idea of how much you are moving.

SECOND: DON’T GET COMFORTABLE
Once you figure out your schedule and have successfully navigated how to incorporate exercise into your routine at least five times a week, change up your workout. It does not have to be a huge change, but it is important to challenge your body so that your exercise is effective. This will help you see results. If you are lifting weights, try to either add an extra set or a few more repetitions to your routine, or increase the amount of weight you lift. Take your cardio to the next level with interval training. According to the Mayo Clinic, interval training is one of the most beneficial forms of exercise. It is very simple to implement and can be done without any equipment. Also, it helps you burn more calories and will allow you to exercise longer and with more intensity. For example, jog steadily for three minutes and then sprint for one minute and continue that cycle. You can modify each time to your capabilities. Interval training will help keep your mind engaged and will prevent boredom.
Try a group exercise class to spice up your exercise routine. Most fitness clubs offer a wide variety of classes that cater to many fitness levels. The Student Activity Center on campus is also a great place to explore group exercise. Classes are offered Monday through Friday and Sunday. Sometimes it is nice to have an instructor coaching you through a workout so you do not have to worry about coming up with a plan on your own. Group exercise instructors are trained to make sure you are doing the movements correctly and will always make sure you are getting the most out of the hour you are there.

breakfast options
Photo by Sydney Stephens

THIRD: CREATING HEALTHY EATING HABITS
It is always tempting to eat whatever is quick and easy with a busy schedule, but if you are mindful of what you put in your body, you will feel much better and ultimately have more energy. Of course it is easier said than done, but try to avoid fried foods and put as much green in your diet as you can. It is also important to try and not skip meals. Eating something for breakfast will help kick-start your day and your metabolism. Even if it is something small like a granola bar, it will help. Drink water as much as possible. Avoid drinking soda and limit yourself to black tea and coffee as sources of caffeine.

LASTLY: SLEEP
If you find yourself hitting the books until the early hours of the morning and only get a few hours of sleep, make sure that you are able to have some down time. Your body needs rest and relies on sleep to help maintain the knowledge you are gaining. Sometimes it is impossible to get eight hours of sleep when there are papers to write and tests to study for, but try to sleep at least some and the next day don’t be afraid to take a short nap if you have more work to do. Irregular sleeping patterns can be the cause of weight gain and even memory loss. During the lighter weeks of the semester, try and rest. Avoid binge-watching Netflix until 3 a.m. every night.