Moderation, discipline, self-control – they are all important lessons to learn on the college campus. Make friends, but don’t overdo social activities. Eat pizza and ice cream late at night with your roommates, just don’t make poor eating a habit. Study hard and long, but also sleep.

I asked faculty and staff at HBU what advice they have about exercise, nutrition, and social activities. Their practical advice may seem obvious, but so many college students don’t execute what they know to be true. So listen to the wisdom of James 1:22, “But prove yourselves doers of the word, and not merely hearers…” (NASB). Even though James is talking about being a doer of the word, his wisdom still applies. Don’t just hear what is good; do it – eat healthy, sleep and exercise regularly, and invest in good friendships.

I hope college students at HBU and beyond will implement this advice into their lives.

Why is it important to have a balanced life?

Campus life can easily tempt you away from a balanced life of rest, nutrition, and social interaction. Without these you cannot maintain the habits necessary for long-term success to the fullest extent of your abilities. – Dr. Micah Snell, School of Humanities

Do not neglect any of these areas: exercise, nutrition, and social experiences. Exercise and nutrition help to keep you strong and alert enough to take on the challenges of college. Social experiences allow deep learning to take place, because it forces that which you learn in the classroom to be expressed in your “everyday life.” – Mon’Sher Spencer, Student Life

Short term gain that is purchased by poor eating and exercise habits will exact a cost in the long run. Build good habits and integrate them into your studies. Remember you are playing the long game, and if you sacrifice your health to get ahead, you will not enjoy it even if you get there.  – Dr. Jerry Walls, School of Humanities

Practical Advice for Eating Well & Exercising

Find ways to relieve your stress that don’t involve stress eating.  Try to make healthy choices when there are options offered so you can splurge not so healthy options when a group is going for ice cream. – Dr. Angie Durand, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Become acquainted with the Bradshaw Fitness Center on campus. Try to schedule a few workouts each week. Videos on some of the latest nutrition research are at – Dr. James Claycomb, College of Science and Mathematics

Work into your schedule some time to be active, whether it is running or working out at Bradshaw, playing intramural sports, or other forms of exercise you enjoy. – Dr. Lisa Ellis, College of Science and Mathematics

Try to have a regular schedule and then be flexible, but do take some time to “sharpen the ax” by getting exercise. Even a 20-minute walk helps. – Susan Priest, School of Nursing and Allied Health

Science has shown that exercise helps keep our minds healthy. It increases blood flow and also nitric oxide production, which helps us learn. Exercise also helps keep your heart healthy. Therefore, exercise is very important – not only for our physical health, but our mental health. Along with sleep and exercise, nutrition is incredibly important. What we eat directly affects how our minds and bodies function. Try to avoid a lot of fatty and sugary foods, and attempt to eat mostly lean protein and A LOT of vegetables and fruits.  – Dr. Meredith O’Hara, College of Science and Mathematics

Practical Advice about Sleep

Get plenty of sleep before midnight. – Dr. Collin Garbarino, School of Humanities

Sleep, eat correctly, exercise–you can’t learn anything after 10:00 at night. – Dr. Matt Boyleston, School of Fine Arts

Rest is important for your health, so make sure to sleep enough hours where you wake up refreshed and ready to greet the day of classes.  – Dr. Angie Durand

Have a daily routine that you keep all five days of the school week. Make sure that routine includes plenty of sleep. You need more than you think you do. It will do wonders for your mental health and your grades. If you have dedicated time to eat well, exercise, sleep properly, and study, your life will be much happier. – Dr. Russell Hemati, School of Humanities

You must get a good amount of SLEEP! Not getting enough sleep is one of the biggest mistakes college students make. Science has also shown that when we sleep, brains solidify and consolidate memories we have made – therefore, if you want to remember what you’ve studied, you MUST get decent sleep. Sleep is also when our brains are “cleaned” out – meaning it is the time when all of the metabolic wastes that are produced when your neurons are functioning are removed from your brain, essentially cleaning it and creating a healthy environment for proper functioning. Sleep. Sleep. Sleep!! – Dr. Meredith O’Hara

Sleep at least 5 hours the night before an exam for maximum cognitive function. – Dr. Brenda Whaley

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Practical Advice about Making Friends

Get out of your dorm room and meet people. Go to the events — most are free to you. – Dr. Vickey Giles, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

Do not isolate yourself. Do a little every day toward building friendships. But don’t rush anything. Keep in mind that it is good to have a lot of friends and acquaintances, all at different levels of familiarity. You will not know in your first semester who your closest friends will be. Take it slow. Slow but steady. – Dr. Anthony Joseph, School of Humanities

Talk to your classmates. Share email or phone information so that you can study together. Get notes or information if you are absent, and encourage each other.  – Dr. Lisa Ellis

Find friends that make you a better version of you and avoid toxic relationships. – Dr. Brenda Whaley

Spend time with people and take part in activities that will fill your cup. You become like the people you spend time with, so invest in relationships that encourage your heart. – Dr. Katie Alaniz, College of Education and Behavioral Sciences

I would also advise students to grow in their relationship with God. – Dr. Saul Trevino, College of Science and Mathematics

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