Category Archives: Balance

Advice for maintaining a general sense of well-being

To Cram or Not To Cram?

As spring and its many activities approach us, I ask one question: How will we manage? Should we head to the ZSR for a few hours each day to prepare for a test, even with the quad glistening and the sundeck of South calling your name? Or should we wait until the night before and hide in our rooms, cramming the material for tomorrow’s computer science test into our brains?  This is a dilemma that most students at Wake face: To cram or not to cram?

With all of the activities and involvement available on campus (not to mention the beautiful weather we are about to have upon us), it is very difficult to carve out time each day to get ahead and practice long-term studying techniques.  Teachers, parents, and even fellow students advise each other to start studying early in order to avoid stress leading up to a big paper or exam, yet we rarely take their advice.  More often than not, the ZSR is filled with crammers, those waiting until the last minute to get their work done.

Here are some quick ideas about each method of studying:

  1. Cramming can be beneficial: Cramming, if effective, allows you to have more free time while also accomplishing your work.
  2. Cramming can be detrimental: Learning all the material in one night is not ideal.  If you write a paper in one night, you do not have time to edit or proofread the essay, leaving excessive room for error.
  3. Long-term can be beneficial: Long-term studying allows you to have minimal stress and a more well-rounded study method.
  4. Long-term can be detrimental:  Heading to the ZSR everyday can cut into time with friends, involvement with other organizations on campus and social life in general.Cramming_for_Test_H
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Posted by on March 19, 2013 in Balance, Strategies


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5 Tips for Fitness in the Forest

With one holiday under the belt (literally), another on the way, and exam week just around the corner, the need for fitness has never been greater! A healthy body means a healthy mind, getting you one step closer to dominating “Work” Forest. Follow these easy tips and you’re on the right track!

1) Less soda, more water

It’s easy to reach for a coke over water when you’re in study mode, but sugary sodas pack on the calories and make it easier for you to crash and burn. Water is the best choice when choosing a drink. It’s not only the best source of hydration, but it also removes waste from the body and encourages brain function.

2) Take the stairs

Nothing is better for your body than physical activity. It revs your metabolism and gives you more energy so you can make it through your demanding schedule. You don’t have to go on a 5 mile run every day to achieve the right amount of physical activity—every little bit helps. Take the shuttle to campus? Try walking (if it’s safe, of course). Need to go to the 8th floor of the library? Say no to the elevator and yes to the stairs. Time for a study break? Try taking a stroll around campus with a friend instead of downing another latte. Anything is better than nothing!

3) Sleeping is good

It may seem like common sense, but the necessary amount of sleep is the key to brain function. Try to get at least 8 hours of sleep a night and you’re guaranteed to feel more rested, more energized, and ready for whatever comes your way.

4) Late night studying should not equal late night junk eating

Though you try to avoid them, all-nighters sometimes seem inevitable. We’ve all been there: it’s 3AM, you’ve just started your ten-page paper, and suddenly the snack cravings creep up on you. Fight the urge for Cook Out and reach for something healthier, like an apple. You’ll save gas, money, and calories. Plus, the Vitamin C that comes from fruits and vegetables strengthens your immune system, keeping you healthy and happy during exams.

5) Eat breakfast

You may be surprised to find out that your mother was right: breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Breakfast not only gives you the energy to start a new day but also keeps you from over-eating throughout the day. Eating in the morning boosts your metabolism so you’re likely to eat less, keeping you from snacking on unhealthy food. Satisfying your hunger in the morning also increases concentration and performance in the classroom!

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Posted by on November 27, 2012 in Balance


Last week we gave you some tips for time management. Wake can be hectic, but it’s only as difficult as you make it! Don’t forget to take some time for yourself and recharge when necessary; you’ll find you’re more productive!


My shoulders have dropped. I’m breathing deeply.

I’ve really enjoyed a blessed two-week respite, even while still working at the computer almost every day for a few hours.

These things helped:

Long evenings with dear old friends, people who have known me at 15 or 25 or 40, who remember and pay attention. I love having a long history with people, watching them grow (up) as well. A deeply shared history is comforting to me.

Being outdoors in warm fall sunshine. Went for a really long hike this afternoon at Warsaw Caves, (thanks to Ontario reader Susan F. for her blog’s inspiration!) and loved seeing all the mushrooms, sniffing the pine needles and coming home worn out.

Physical activity. I took my first golf lesson, biked, walked, went to the gym.

— A vigorous 90-minute massage. If I were rich, I’d have a massage…

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Posted by on October 1, 2012 in Balance, Strategies


Time Management Tips!

Not finding enough time to get all of your to-do’s done?  Looking for a way to combat the “Work Forest” attitude that so many students get overwhelmed by? Struggling to find a routine? Stressed so much that you can’t even take care of yourself? Take a look at our top 5 Time Management Tips!

1)  Create a Month-at-a-Glance Calendar

This can be a reference for all of the important dates heading your way in the upcoming month. Large desk calendars can easily be found for under $5 at your local Walmart.

2)  Establish a Weekly Priority List

Use a planner to outline the most important to-do’s for the week on a day to day basis. This can help keep you on track and establish a routine.

3)  Write down your Semester Goals

By determining your goals for the semester, you can better plan out how you want to spend your time.

4)  Find a Balance

If you can develop a routine that covers all of your bases – eating, sleeping, exercising, studying, socializing, and attending extracurriculars to name a few – you’ll be a much happier person and be more successful in the long run.

5)  Breathe

Don’t put too much pressure on yourself. We’re not superheroes. Realize that there’s only so much you can do in a day! Take a deep breath, go for a short walk, meditate…do whatever you can do to separate yourself from the grind and relax, even if it’s just for a few minutes.

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Posted by on September 25, 2012 in Balance, Strategies



Spring Break 2012

After all your hard work, it is time for a well deserved break!!

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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Balance


Back in the Habit

New Year’s resolutions aside, it’s time to get back in the swing of a new semester of college. Those long, lazy days at home with home-cooked meals, endless television, and late-night movies with friends from home have been replaced by class reading, paper writing, extracurriculars, and buffet-style dinners at the Pit.

To be successful this semester, you need to focus on more than just the grades. Your sleeping, eating, and exercise habits have a profound impact on your performance in the classroom and on the job (for those working as well). But there’s no need to stress over how to get yourself organized and motivated this semester. We are here to help with some useful tips for staying on track this spring!

Never skip breakfast. We all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but when all-nighters cause you to oversleep, you often forget to grab a piece of fruit or a granola bar on the way out the door to your 9am class. It is unrealistic to expect every student to set their alarm 30 minutes earlier to make time for a well-balanced breakfast at the Pit, so we recommend keeping grab-and-go options in your room (Suggestions: high fiber/protein granola bars, preferably all-natural; low-fat yogurt, especially the Greek variety; whole fruit, like apples, bananas, oranges, etc.; instant oatmeal; whole grain bagels and/or English muffins). At night, before you crash, put a bar or a piece of fruit in your school bag so you’ll have breakfast on hand even if you’re running behind.

Drink plenty of water. Coffee is a great (and healthy) caffeine alternative to soda, but your body needs a lot of water when you have a busy schedule to keep you hydrated. Invest in a reusable water bottle (like Camelback) to carry with you throughout the day. It’s economically and eco-friendly!

Make time for exercise. Not only will you feel more confident after a workout, but exercise is proven to increase alertness and academic performance. It is a great stress-reliever (which we could all use a lot more of) and a fun way to take a break from the library. And with so many different workout programs to choose from, you will never get bored! Try a yoga or Zumba class at the Miller Center; go for a walk/run through Reynolda Gardens with a friend; join an intramural team (intertube water polo anyone?); or just take 30 minutes to hop on the elliptical with a magazine and your favorite iPod playlist. The options are endless.

Try to schedule regular meal times. Sounds crazy, right? But eating around the same times every day increases your metabolism and can help prevent over-eating, meal-skipping, and poor food choices. Also, make sure you have a balanced plate at every meal: protein, complex carb, and lots of produce (fruits and vegetables). The Pit has a lot of great options, but don’t forget about the other campus dining options: the Benson food court (including the new salad bar!), the Mag Room, Subway, and Shorty’s. Each location offers a wide variety of healthy, well-balanced choices.

Sleep. But really. Late nights and early mornings are no anomaly on college campuses, but sleep is just as (if not more) important as cramming for that biology exam. Ideally, students should shoot for 6-8 hours of sleep each night. Just like you did with your mealtimes, try to schedule your sleeping hours. For instance, always make yourself go to sleep by 1 AM at the latest, and wake up by 7 or 8 (for class or to finish up whatever work you couldn’t finish the night before). Sleeping in on the weekends will help you catch up on any missed sleep from the week, but it can also disrupt your sleep cycle, so sleeping till noon each Saturday and Sunday afternoon isn’t such a great idea.

Notice that none of these tips requires a personal journal, weekly tracker, or scale. That’s because these are guidelines that you should use to make the best of the spring semester. Setting realistic goals, especially when it comes to your physical and mental health, makes it easier to stick with it and stay successful all year round!

Interested in joining DEACademics? Email Emily ( or Sam ( for info!

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Posted by on January 23, 2012 in Balance



Schedule, Schedule, Schedule

…. Did I mention the word “schedule”?  If you ask 10 different people their thoughts on scheduling, you’re going to get a variety of answers.  Some might say that you should write out daily to-do lists and cross off items as you accomplish them.  Cool.  Doesn’t it feel great at the end of the day to look at a list of items that you’ve spent the day scribbling through?  Ahhh…sweet, sweet productivity!  Others might argue that a failed to-do list brings out the mentality that it’s a failed day.  Example: “I got only eight out of ten things completed.  What a waste of a day!”

Where there are pros and cons to scheduling, most can agree that it’s important to have some sort of organization for the day ahead.   Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on November 7, 2011 in Balance, Strategies