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  • A group of 10 college friends taking a selfie inside a college gym.

    A Productive Lifestyle for College Students

    Will Jansen

    The challenge of being a productive college student is that, for the first time in the traditional student's life, he or she has so much freedom in how time is spent, a sharp contrast from high school. It can be intimidating, but it should really be viewed as a terrific opportunity. Interests, hobbies, class times and majors influence the exact responsibilities each student has, but students should apply themselves in specific ways to make the most of their time.

    Here are 6 areas to prioritize to achieve a productive lifestyle.

    1. Studying

    This is both most obvious and vital, hence it is placed first on the list. Most professors in three credit hour courses recommend a minimum nine hours of study per week—If a student takes 15 credit hours, that’s a recommended 135 hours of study weekly, excluding class time! Realistically, some classes, especially core courses and prerequisites, demand maybe two hours, while a major course could demand 12. Every student is different; just make certain you review regularly and stay on top of the busy work for easy points.

    2. Physical Fitness

    An active, healthy body makes for a strong mind. Lift weights and run long distances if you prefer, but that isn’t at all necessary—just keep moving to stay fresh. For me, I play basketball with my friends two or three times a week at the campus rec center, push some weights around or hit a treadmill two more times. Choose whatever you prefer; keep a strong body and have some fun while doing it.

    3. Campus Involvement

    Staying tied in on campus is a great way to get the most out of your college experience. There is plenty of overlap here with other points, but getting an on-campus job and being involved with clubs can help a student immensely. Most schools have student organizations centered around each major or college and are great ways to get involved. However, get out of your comfort zone and try other areas: student government, intramurals, and more.

    4. Nutrition/Meal prep

    This one can be tricky, especially for those living on campus with no kitchen. As I said in point 2, a healthy, strong body makes for a strong mind, so work on yourself in every aspect. Nearly every eating location on campus is required to offer low calorie or vegetarian meal options, so take advantage. Eat at regular intervals; eat with constraint. Take care of yourself to perform at your best.

    5. Outside Work/Side Projects

    This one encompasses both short- and long-term development. Some students may need to work full time jobs to help fund college. For a traditional student, part-time on-campus employment opportunities may need a little digging but should be very easy to find. Any good part-time college position will be flexible with your classes. Have new experiences, get some cash to have fun with your friends, and maybe save some away if you can. At the same time, look at career development—work on those LinkedIn profiles, reach out to established professionals in fields you’re interested in. Work on your own projects that excite you: research a topic you often think about, coach a youth sport you love, read a book, or, maybe, even write one. There is no limit to the applicable options here, work hard on whatever piques your interest.

    6. Rest and Recovery

    Getting to all of those above can feel like a lot to tackle. But what’s just as important as any of those is personal time. College is meant to be enjoyable. Work hard, live hard. Go watch your school play any and all sports, go out with friends on a Friday night. You’ve earned it.

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