Summer-The warmest season of the year, in the northern hemisphere from June to August. What student doesn’t love this season? It’s when the rigors
of classwork slow down. It’s that time of year where you don’t have to peel off multiple layers as soon as you walk into a building. Finally, after months, you are able to escape the rattling indoor heat to indulge in the sights and smells of the great outdoors. Most students see this as a time to kick back and do, literally, nothing. Why not instead, take advantage of the opportunities available to you during this break?
Here are some tips to help make the most of your summer.
Get a job/internship
Are your dues owed by the time everyone gets back for fall semester? Planning on a spring break trip next year? What about formal? These things all require a good amount of money, but if you start working and saving over summer, it’ll be much easier to manage. The scope of jobs and internships available for college students is vast, but they all can help you plan for a great year, while at the same time provide you with real world work experience. The great part about this is that you are choosing it. If you get an offer for an internship that you aren’t excited about, look around for another opportunity. Summer offers something we normally don’t have an excess of: time. Regardless of the path you take with a summer job or internship, the experience could provide opportunity for full-time employment after you graduate. At a minimum, you’ll meet new people and expand your network.
Take a class
A lot of majors have that one required class that nearly everyone seems to struggle with (organic chem. FTW). Taking it during the summer is a great chance to earn a better grade. You have the opportunity to take one class at a time and won’t have other coursework to distract you. Yes, having class during the summer is not ideal having fun, however ask yourself: Do I really want to take this class along with a full course load? Equally, it could also be a chance to take a class that interests you, but you haven’t been able to fit into your regular course load. Just because you’re a molecular biology major doesn’t mean you should bar yourself from taking a stab at that sculpture or piano class. Don’t be scared to try something new.
Establish a workout routine
Summer is a great time to start a workout schedule. Due to the nice weather gyms often offer great deals during the summer to attract more customers (I used to pay $60 for 3 months during the summer with free parking at my school’s rec center). With the warmer weather you can create a mixture of inside and outside exercise routines to keep you invigorated. Developing an effective workout schedule in the summer gives you time to build a habit and perfect it towards your needs. By the time fall semester starts up, it will be that much easier to continue and give you an outlet whenever a break from classes and studying are needed.
Make time for yourself
Whether it is reading a book on the sunny veranda or hitting the links for a round of 18, making time for your own enjoyment is essential. Summer is a great time to decompress from all the hours of studying from the past school year. It also gives you time to hang out with friends and family. Enjoy this beautiful season before reality hits, once again.
Summer never seems to be long enough (especially up in the north). Instead of spending your entire summer on a couch do something to help better yourself. Don’t worry, Netflix will still be there once the cold weather hits again.
Nick Hoke, Field Executive
In a few weeks it’ll be time to cram for those final exams then it’s finally three months of freedom! Being from Maryland, this means boat trips on the river, Orioles games at The Yard, crabs doused in Old Bay, and of course a trip to Ocean City. But whatever your summer plans may entail, it probably involves trading in your sweatshirt for a Theta Chi tank. That means it’s time to start shedding the winter plumpness and getting in shape.
I’m not going tell you to skip “wing night” or not eat Chick-Fil-A; you can still have fun, go out with friends, and eat the foods you like. I’m here to give you a quick rundown on how to eat a little healthier and still be yourself. Education is the first step to living a healthier lifestyle. One blog post cannot possibly cover it all, but it’s a good place to start and hopefully it will inspire you to continue the research and share the knowledge.
First, let’s talk about your diet. When I say diet, I don’t mean going on one, I’m talking about what you actually eat. Unfortunately, diet fads don’t work. Even though you may lose weight (awesome), they don’t focus on long-term health (not awesome.) The fat cells your body develops to store fat as you gain weight, never go away – even when you lose the weight. This is why it is so easy to put weight back on. If weight loss is your goal, you’ll need to develop a plan to change your lifestyle. That sounds daunting but I’ll break it down and offer some tips to help you out.
- Before you make changes, record what you eat and how much you exercise for seven days. You don’t need to spend money on this, there are plenty of free apps to help you: My Fitness Pal and My Plate are two I would recommend.
- Take your seven-day log, do a little research, and figure out what areas you can improve in. This is the hardest part so feel free to get help from a nutritionist or personal trainer. Chances are you might have someone in your chapter majoring in a health and fitness field that could help.
- Make a plan on how to incorporate your areas for improvement into your diet over time. The key here is not to quit “cold turkey”. If you have a few sodas each day, cut your limit to one per day then once you conquer that, every other day, and so on. You can still go out but consider grilled chicken instead of fried, downsize your unhealthy selections – then eventually eliminate them, hold the butter and salt, etc.
- Take a look at your exercise routine. If you don’t have one, incorporate an actual plan. Put your workout schedule into your calendar and try to keep it to the same time each day. It may be hard at first but once your body gets acclimated to this routine, it becomes almost second nature. Make sure you’re lifting and doing cardio. You don’t need to get big, but use weights to tone your body. Burning fat will happen through cardio. You can do as many crunches as you want but it’s actually cardio that will allow those abs to show.
- Continue tracking your food and drink intake and educate yourself about what is in your food so you know what you’re eating. This is really important. If you go through three sauce packets at Chick-Fil-A, that’s 400-500 extra calories. A large Baja Blast from Taco Bell is over 500 calories. Those items might seem rather harmless but they add up quickly and neither of those items have any nutritional value. On the other hand, guacamole (minus the chips) and nuts for example, are high in fats but in reality offer high nutritional value so they’re good, in moderation. This is why it’s important to know exactly what you’re eating.
Then what? Keep it going! Continue slowly eliminating the unhealthy aspects from your diet, exercising, tracking your food intake, and educating yourself on healthy foods. Get a brother or friend to join you. It adds a layer of accountability and even a little competition. There will be times you need the motivation. Don’t be afraid of a cheat day or cheat meal as long as you don’t make a habit out of it. After a while, you’ll find yourself not even wanting those unhealthy foods you used to crave.
Ultimately, It’s about living a healthy life and developing a healthy lifestyle while you’re young and can better train your body and mind. You’ll feel better, be more productive, be more confident, and just be all around happier. For those chapters I’ve visited you’ve already heard this but for the rest of you – buy a tux before you’re 30 and stay that size.
Marc Bodine, Field Executive
Going off to college is like baiting your own fishing hook for the first time; It’s a rite of passage. You’ve been told by your father, his father, and maybe even his father about what to expect when you take those nervous first steps onto campus. They describe this utopia of free thought, open minds, flowing fountains of knowledge, etcetera, etcetera. All of these things sounded wonderful but one thing they warned me of was the dreaded Freshmen Fifteen.
Before I made this journey a reality I spent my first year out of high school working and saving money so I could have the ideal freshman year. No work, just school and fun. During this year I gave up soda, changed my diet, began to exercise more strategically and ended up losing 40lbs. I was ready to make a name for myself on campus. I knew fraternities were a thing but I hadn’t give it much thought until I found myself at a baseball game with a bunch of guys from Theta Chi Fraternity.
“I hope you’re ready for the best year of your life” felt like it was on repeat during the beginning of the recruitment process; almost like they practiced it over and over in the mirror. Even up to initiation, these words flowed from their mouths and into our ears and we were ready. Somewhere during the pledge process some of the older active members took me under their wing and began to show me the ropes. How to act during a social, what to do when you ask a girl to formal, how to properly handle a celebratory taunt when you score the winning touchdown during the IM all-campus championship and even how to handle the psychological damage of getting dunked on the next month during the IM all-campus championship; these guys knew how to conduct themselves. But something was off. We were being social, athletic, I was going to class but somehow the Freshmen Fifteen was gaining on me. Literally.
Flash Forward a year and I am living in the house and instead of just 15 lbs. I was now 30 lbs. heavier than when I started. My body was beginning to feel the effects of a year of abuse. I abused alcohol, food and apathy for anything that didn’t include drinking and chilling. I was quickly running out of money and the ladies who were giving me the time of day my first semester stopped texting. Something had to change.
When I told folks my plan to take year off drinking I was confronted with blank stares and confused responses. “This is college dude. No way you can last a year” was the refrain from the peanut gallery but I was determined to make this a reality. Brotherhood camp outs were tough, going out to the bars were even harder but something had to give. Some of my closest friends were enablers too. After all, “its college” was a mantra some of them lived by. But still, I knew I needed to make a change.
It wasn’t easy, and it had a sweeping effect on my social life, however, by the second semester of my junior year I had given up fast food too and was starting to see my hard work come to fruition. Eventually, I had the support of my chapter and brothers who wanted to tag along. We worked out at 6 a.m., ran 15 miles per week, and didn’t settle for a crunch wrap supreme after a night out. Yes, if you’ve been to Iota Beta, you know the struggle between healthy eating and late night Taco Bell runs(walks).
I had once again lost 40 lbs. and not only gained the respect of my fraternity brothers, but regained my self-respect. Defeating the Freshman Fifteen is possible and rewarding. Find a habit that gets you active and moving, and don’t be afraid to take a night off. We all go to college for an education but for some of us, the most useful educating comes from outside the classroom. Discovering and developing healthy habits will pay off when you leave school and free time is limited. Setting expectations, allowing flexibility and understanding how healthy living is a viable option for college and beyond is a great way to turn a habit into a lifestyle.
Check out this link for info on how to create a healthy routine.
Jordan Carter, Development Officer