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3 ways to avoid the temptation to cheat on your next exam

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Cheating happens—and despite the consequences, some of the reasons students do it are easy to understand. “I wanted to get a high mark in the class so I could get into the best colleges [near where] I lived,” says Erica*, now a senior at the University of Kansas.

Looking over someone’s shoulder can seem like it’s NBD—it’s just a little innocent glance, right? Not in the eyes of the people who determine your grades—and whether you graduate. If you get caught cheating, the consequences can be huge—think failing the entire class or getting kicked out of school completely. If you’re unsure of your school’s policy on cheating, your student handbook is a good place to look.

Despite the massive consequences cheating can have, it happens a lot—46 percent of students surveyed in a recent Student Health 101 poll copped to cheating at some point in their academic career.

Students passing notes

The problem is, cheating doesn’t always feel as black-and-white as Googling answers under your desk or paying someone to write a paper for you. “I believe, for the most part, students don’t come to [school] intending to cheat,” says James Black, director of the Center for Academic Achievement at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. “More often than not, they get overwhelmed and panic.”

Why students cheat—and how to avoid it

Considering the huge consequences of getting caught cheating, why do so many students still do it? “Cheating on exams is rarely premeditated,” says David Rettinger, executive director of the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service at the University of Mary Washington in Virginia. “It’s much more commonly a crime of opportunity”—that is, students find themselves in a situation where the answers are available, and they take advantage of it.

Another major reason students cheat? “Lack of time management,” says Jessica Waters, dean of undergraduate education at American University in Washington, DC.

It’s not hard to see how this happens. Balancing classes, college applications, and an after-school job or internship would make anyone feel stressed and even desperate. Like Rettinger, Waters finds that most students who cheat don’t usually set out with the intent to be dishonest—instead, they find themselves in a situation where cheating seems like the only/best option. “Often, students who cheat haven’t set aside enough time to complete a paper, start researching online at 2 a.m., and find themselves copying and pasting material to cobble [it] together,” she says. “This is a recipe for disaster.”

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How to avoid the temptation to cheat

One of the best ways to keep yourself out of a situation where you’re tempted to cheat is by practicing better time management. Here’s how:

1. Check your syllabi at the beginning of the semester and flag any due dates that fall close together.

If you notice you’ll have four exams on the same day, block out specific days to study for each of the tests in the weeks leading up to them. This way, it’s already in your calendar and you can tackle studying one subject at a time.

2. Give yourself plenty of time to research.

When it comes to papers (even the short ones), “set aside enough time to thoroughly research, write it carefully, and then have time to check that you’ve properly attributed and cited any outside resources or work that’s not your own,” says Waters. “When in doubt, cite!”

3. Ask for help.

If you do find yourself in trouble, whether it’s a time crunch or struggling with the material, ask for help—the earlier, the better. If you’re utterly overwhelmed, let your teachers know as soon as possible. They may be more sympathetic earlier in the process rather than to an eleventh-hour plea.

Students taking a test

Citing sources to avoid plagiarism

It’s also important to ensure you know when and how to cite sources properly, since not doing so could be considered plagiarism. If you’re unclear on proper citation conventions—how to document sources and ideas in your work—visit your school’s writing lab, speak with a peer tutor, or consult your teachers. The Purdue Owl is also an excellent resource.

What to do if you get caught

“If you’re accused of plagiarism or other academic dishonesty, make sure you understand your school’s policy and the potential sanctions,” says Waters. “While such a charge can have severe consequences—including dismissal—it’s important to view this as an opportunity to learn a valuable lesson”—for example, how not to get in trouble again. If you’re allowed to remain enrolled in the class, make sure you’re 100 percent clear on what behaviors are considered cheating and what put you in the position to cheat in the first place.

Ultimately, the consequences just aren’t worth it—no matter how easy or justifiable cheating seems. “Honestly, I wasn’t happy [that] that’s how I got my grade, and so I stopped,” says Janelle*, a junior in Dayton, Ohio, who cheated during her freshman year. “I was really proud of myself after taking a test I didn’t cheat on because I knew that it was my hard work that got me the good grade.”

Find Out More or Get Help

These resources can help you learn more about academic integrity and proper citation techniques.

Academic integrity in high school: KidsHealth

Online Writing Lab (OWL): Purdue University

International Center for Academic Integrity: Clemson University

For more information about these topics, as well as your school’s honor code, consult your teacher, or writing lab or peer tutoring program, if you have one.

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Article sources

David Rettinger, executive director, the Center for Honor, Leadership, and Service, and associate professor of psychology, University of Mary Washington, Fredericksburg, Virginia.

James Black, director, the Center of Academic Achievement, Susquehanna University, Selinsgrove, Pennsylvania.

Jessica Waters, dean of undergraduate students, American University, Washington DC.

Best College Reviews. (2012). Cheating in college: The numbers and research. Retrieved from https://www.bestcollegereviews.org/cheating/

Dillion. W. (26 June, 2006). Study examines why students cheat. Ames Tribune, as printed in USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/2006-06-26-cheating-study_x.htm

Grasgreen, Ali. (16 March, 2012). Who cheats, and how. Inside Higher Ed. Retrieved from http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2012/03/16/arizona-survey-examines-student-cheating-faculty-responses

Iowa State University News Service. (15 June, 2006). Why do some students cheat? They rationalize it, ISU research finds. Retrieved from http://www.public.iastate.edu/~nscentral/news/06/jun/rationalizing.shtml

Talk of the Nation. (19 July, 2010). Cheating in college is widespread—but why? National Public Radio. Retrieved from http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=128624207

Young, J. R. (18 March, 2010). Cheaters never win, at least in physics, a professor finds. Chronicle of Higher Education. Retrieved from http://chronicle.com/blogs/wiredcampus/cheaters-never-win-at-least-in-physics-a-professor-finds/21895

5 ways to help yourself and others navigate the drinking scene

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There are plenty of reasons for not wanting to drink: You’ve got homework to do, you’re worried about getting in trouble, or maybe you just don’t feel like it. So when someone hands you a beer, why can it sometimes feel super awkward to say, “No thanks”?

Over half of high school students said choosing a nonalcoholic drink at a social gathering might mean being judged, according to a recent Student Health 101 survey. The question is: Are people really judging you, or are you just worried they might?

Believe it or not, most people don’t drink in high school. Sometimes it seems more common than it is because people talk it up or because we see it in the media, but research tells us that the number of teens who actually drink are a lot fewer than you think. Only a third of high school students said they drank alcohol in the past month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Youth Risk Behavior survey.

Social pressures are often unspoken

In our survey, 53 percent of high schoolers said they’re confident turning down a drink they don’t want—and that’s great. But peer pressure more often occurs indirectly. Simply being in the presence of someone else drinking, for example, can make you more likely to join in. A body of research backs this up—if the people you want to be accepted by are drinking, it makes it easier to perceive drinking as a positive and socially acceptable experience. Additionally, teens may find it more difficult to control impulsive or risky behaviors when their friends are around, according to a review of studies published in Developmental Review.

Part of the pressure to follow the crowd is due to your basic biology. “At puberty, our brains develop in specific ways that make us care about our social standing more than ever before,” says Dr. Mitch Prinstein, distinguished professor and director of clinical psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. “We always feel the pressure to fit in, but before the age of 25, we have a hard time overcoming that pressure because the region of our brains that promotes inhibition is not fully developed,” he says. In other words, in high school, we have a supercharged drive to want to fit in—but our mental brakes haven’t fully developed.

So if you don’t want to drink, how do you resist without busting your social scene?

It’s all about confidence

“Being able to resist the pressure depends on the student’s power and ability to feel content with themselves,” says Patricia Saltzman, licensed social worker and substance abuse counselor in Connecticut, who works with teens. “Low self-esteem makes it a lot harder for [students] to stand up for themselves.”

The best way to feel good? Respecting your own boundaries. Being up front and honest is sometimes more respected than accepting a drink you don’t want. “Stand firm in your own values,” Dr. Prinstein says. “When we have high self-esteem, we have sources of self-assurance that come from places other than peer feedback,” such as your group of friends or your family. “It’s good for students and adults to know that it’s totally natural to want to feel liked and included,” he says. But that doesn’t mean someone’s opinion of you defines your sense of acceptance or self-worth.

It’s not easy to flick a switch and suddenly emit confidence. Insecurity can impair your choices, making it a lot harder to stand up for yourself. It’s perfectly fine to want to be liked, but the people who truly care about you will want what’s best for you. If you find yourself in a situation where friends ask you to do things you’re uncomfortable with, take a couple steps back and reevaluate your friendship. Do these people truly care about your well-being? Listen to your instincts, and think about spending more time with friends who will respect your boundaries and desires.

Here are 5 ways to tell someone you don’t want a drink without being awkward

friends laughing

1.

“Say you’re the designated driver for the night if you’re worried about being hassled.”

—Sydney, senior, Indianapolis, Indiana

How to say it

“Thanks, but I’m driving.”

How to hear it

“No worries, I hear you. Something else?”

2.

“Tell them you’ve had enough.”

—Kenlee, sophomore, Phillipsburg, Kansas

How to say it

“Thanks, but I’ve already got one.”

(Note: You can also respond by getting a drink yourself and making it without any alcohol.)

How to hear it

“Enjoy!”

3.

“[Say] you have an early morning.”

—Rebecca, Providence, Rhode Island

How to say it

“I’d love to, but I’m running a 5K in the AM and I’m trying to set a new personal record.”

How to hear it

“Oh, that’s awesome! I respect your willpower. How often do you train?”

4.

“Say you’d love a drink but would prefer starting off with something nonalcoholic.”

—Lindsay, Ontario, Canada

How to say it

“I really haven’t hydrated enough today. Would you have something without alcohol in it to start me off?”

How to hear it

“Absolutely! Water?”

5.

“Just give a firm, confident ‘no.’ You don’t need to give an excuse. It’s your body and you choose what to put into it.”

Karoline, junior, Wiggins, Mississippi

How to say it

“No thank you.”

How to hear it

“OK, cool.” 

“Your confident attitude will be contagious. Others who may not have the strength to say no may find it just [by] watching you. Be a leader!”
—Jeani, Redding, California

Keep it comical

“I found that incorporating a joke into the rejection lightens up the mood and saves you from feeling embarrassed.”
—Shania, senior, Milton, Massachusetts

Fake it

“Take the drink, but don’t drink it. Put it down on the table or floor, or ‘accidentally’ spill it or pour it out.”
—Niamh, senior, Boston, Massachusetts

“I would make my own drink and just not add any alcohol so that people don’t try and offer me another.”
—Alayna, Beaverton, Oregon

Don’t sugarcoat it

“Be clear about your choice not to drink. Be polite but firm.”
—Mehakpreet, Surrey, Canada 

Kill ’em with kindness

“As long as you have a good attitude about saying no and don’t seem disgusted, most people are OK with others not accepting a drink if you politely decline or make some good of the situation.”
—Emily, Ontario, Canada

Know your true friends

“The people who really matter won’t mind, and those who make a big deal about it aren’t people who have your best interest in mind.”
—Brianna, Ontario, Canada

How to respect other people’s decisions about drinking

If you’re the one handing red solo cups to everyone, take a moment to check in with yourself.

Keep these tips in mind:

  • Show support by letting up on your own drinking.
  • Let your friends know that not drinking won’t affect your relationship.
  • Apologize if you made your friend feel uncomfortable.
  • Suggest a different activity that doesn’t involve alcohol.
Get help or find out more

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Article sources

Jann Gumbiner, PhD, licensed psychologist and clinical professor at the University of California, Irvine College of Medicine, Irvine, California.

Mitch Prinstein, PhD, ABPP, John Van Seters distinguished professor and director of clinical psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Patricia Saltzman, licensed clinical social worker and substance abuse counselor, Child Guidance Community Clinic, Manchester, Connecticut.

Geiger, B. B., & MacKerron, G. (2016). Can alcohol make you happy? A subjective wellbeing approach. Social Science & Medicine. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0277953616301344

Kinard, B., & Webster, C. (2010). The effects of advertising, social influences, and self-efficacy on adolescence tobacco use and alcohol consumption. Journal of Consumer Affairs, 44(1), 24–43. doi:10.1111/j.1745-6606.2010.01156.x

Kuntsche, E., Knibbe, R., Gmel, G., & Engels, R. (2005). Why do young people drink? A review of drinking motives. Clinical Psychological Review, 25(7), 841–861.

Mascarelli, A. L. (2012, October 17). The teenage brain. Society for Science & the Public. Retrieved from https://www.sciencenewsforstudents.org/article/teenage-brain

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2009). Make a difference: Talk to your child about alcohol. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/MakeADiff_HTML/makediff.htm

National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism. (2016, January). Underage drinking. Retrieved from https://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/UnderageDrinking/UnderageFact.htm

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). (2012, March 2). Peers increase teen driving risk via heightened reward activity. Retrieved from https://www.drugabuse.gov/news-events/nida-notes/2012/03/peers-increase-teen-driving-risk-heightened-reward-activity

Palmeri, J. M. (2011). Peer pressure and alcohol use amongst college students. Retrieved from https://steinhardt.nyu.edu/appsych/opus/issues/2011/fall/peer

Regan, D., & Morrison, T. G. (2011). Development and validation of a scale measuring attitudes toward non-drinkers. Substance Use and Misuse, 46, 580–590. doi:10.3109/10826084.2010.518748

Sandahl, E. (2016, April 1). Do you drink? Exploring the reasons behind your choices. Student Health 101, 2(15). Retrieved from https://sh101academy.getsh101.com/do-you-drink/

Steinberg, L. (2008). A social neuroscience perspective on adolescent risk-taking. Developmental Review, 28(1), 78–106. 

Student Health 101 survey, July 2016.

Teese, R., & Bradley, G. (2008). Predicting recklessness in emerging adults: A test of a psychosocial model. Journal of Social Psychology, 148(1), 105–126.

Terry-McElrath, Y. M., O’Malley, P. M., & Johnston, L. D. (2009). Reasons for drug use among American youth by consumption level, gender, and race/ethnicity: 1976–2005. Journal of Drug Issues, 39(3), 677–714. Retrieved from https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/family-home-consumer/adolescent-alcohol-and-other-drug-abuse-10-216/

FitnessU: 7 ab exercises that aren’t crunches

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Did you know that working your core adds a lot more to your well-being than washboard abs? Our core is made up of many different muscles, including our obliques (the muscles covering our ribs) and diaphragm (our primary breathing muscle). These muscles work together to do two main things: 1) help stabilize our spine, and 2) transfer energy throughout our bodies.

Spinal stability is important because of the vast network of neural connections that run through our spine. These nerves are responsible for transmitting the signals throughout our bodies that allow us to move in a coordinated manner. In order for these signals to be communicated properly, our spine needs to be stable and erect. Poor posture and movement can compress the spine, causing pain and eventual injury.

To train your abs’ ability to stabilize the spine, it’s important to practice exerted stable movements, such as a plank. These types of movements teach your body to resist the tendency to collapse into poor posture. For example, in a plank, you’re holding tension in your abs to prevent your hips from rising up or falling down.

Your core is also responsible for transmitting energy throughout your body. To understand how this works, think of a boxer: When a boxer goes to throw a punch, they gather their strength by using their legs to generate force against the ground. This force is then transmitted up through their core and into their punching arm as they exert it into their target.

A weak core can negatively affect our ability to pick up, carry, or put down objects; throw things; or even do something as simple as carry your backpack without straining your lower back. To train your abs to better transmit force, you need to practice movement-based exercises that require you to contract and release your abs.

Let’s recap:

  • Abs help you accomplish things in your daily life—much more than just your appearance.
  • The core helps you stabilize your spine and effectively transmit force.
  • Stabilization and movement-based exercises are the best ways to strengthen your abs.

Easy crunch-free moves for a stronger core

Below is an easy-to-follow abdominal circuit consisting of seven different movements that are completely crunch-free (because—let’s be honest—we’re pretty over crunches). Each movement increases in difficulty to help you create a strong, functional core.

To build these exercises into a full workout, perform each movement for a minimum of 15 seconds. As you get stronger and better at the exercises, work your way up to 45 seconds per movement. Repeat each movement for two to four sets. Focus on keeping your hips as steady as possible while also controlling your breathing.

Dead bugs



Variation one

Lying on your back with your hands raised, lift your knees up to a tabletop position toward your core, and back down again.

Variation two

Perform variation one, but as you lift your knees up and down, move your arms along with them.

Variation three

Perform variation two, but instead of moving both your knees and arms, move one arm at a time, opposite your knees, one after the other.

Beasts



Variation one

Facedown, place your palms on the floor with your knees hovering a few inches above the ground. Lift one foot and then the other, switching each time.

Variation two

Facedown, place your palms on the floor with your knees hovering. Instead of lifting your feet, lift your palms off the ground, one at a time, tapping your opposite shoulder each time.

Variation three

Facedown, place your palms on the ground with your knees hovering. Lift your opposite foot and hand at the same time, switching sides each time.

Planks



Front plank to side plank

Start in a plank position on your forearms. Then, rotate your body to the left and lift your right arm. Then place the arm back down and turn toward your right, lifting the left arm.

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Apps and podcasts we love: Timely

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Dany C., second-year graduate student, University of Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.

 

Overall rating: 4 out of 5 starsStudents time everything: when to wake up, when to empty the washing machine, when to start the next lap at the gym…you get my drift. Our alarm clock on our smartphones makes it pretty easy—so it’s hard to think there could be a better way to do it. But it turns out there is! Timely is basically a replacement for your phone’s default alarm clock app, but it does everything so much better. You might want to add it to your list of “Always install, forever!” apps.

The app includes a set of alarm sounds that have been handcrafted and engineered with one purpose: waking you up in a pleasant way. The “smart rise” feature can start playing your (now angelic) alarm 30 minutes before you want to wake, with slowly increasing volume. Chances are you’ll wake up before your alarm is on full volume—which will make your roommates grateful too (they hate your rooster sound at 6 a.m. and you know it).

To turn off the alarm, this app requires you to do all sorts of things that will ensure you actually wake up. For instance, you might have to shake your phone or solve different kinds of puzzles. You can tap the screen while asleep, but mustering the strength to shake your phone is surprisingly difficult—so it really gets you up and going effectively.

Timely also includes a timer, stopwatch, and a beautiful screen clock you can set up as your phone background. Now you can safely drag your old alarm app to the trash and check the time with style.

I highly recommend this app for anyone who has trouble getting going in the morning or, really, just anyone who’s sick of the conventional alarm clock.

Similar app for iOS:

Student spotlight: Dany C.

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Dany C. is a second-year graduate student at the University of Victoria in British Columbia, Canada.

For this issue, Dany reviewed the app Timely.

How do you chill out when you’re stressed?

I go to this amazing Asian restaurant (my favorite) and treat myself to a meal. Food solves all my life problems; being upset about school is far worse than being worried about my budget.


What bands are you listening to right now?

I recently broke up with my ex, so I listen to uplifting songs that keep me on track with my goals, like Hadouken’s “Levitate” and Eminem’s “Lose Yourself.”


What’s the quirkiest or most unusual thing about you?

I’m a better-than-average dancer, at least regarding Latin music. I was raised in a culture where being a good dancer is a must, and that’s what people remember about me after get-togethers.


What was your last Halloween costume?

A millennia ago, I made a full set of Pegasus armor (Saint Seiya) out of cardboard and aluminum foil; for a 13-year old, I was very proud of my work (even sold a couple “armors”). My friends didn’t look that proud, though.


What advice would you give to your younger self?

Girls are very picky at your age, but that will change.

3 ways exercise can set you up for a successful school year

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Chances are, if you’ve ever set foot in a gym, it was to build muscle or get fit—and there’s nothing wrong with that. But working out can have way more of an impact on your body than just physically.

“Exercise can help improve mood, reduce stress and anxiety, and help you sleep better,” says Alissa Rumsey, a strength and conditioning specialist in New York. That brainpower boost can set you up for academic success all year long.

Here are 3 ways exercise can upgrade your life (that aren’t just physical):

1. Brain power

“Exercise increases your heart rate, which helps supply your brain cells with plenty of oxygen for brain power and growth,” says Rumsey. With that boost, regular exercise can improve your memory, focus, and ability to process information. Translation: It can help you perform better in school.

Memory

Scientists at the University of Illinois have found that moderate exercise, performed three days a week, improves memory by literally growing your brain volume. The hippocampus, the part of the brain primarily associated with memory, naturally shrinks as we age. But the researchers found that regular exercise actually boosts the volume of the hippocampus, thereby improving memory.

Focus

A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health found that students who started running just 30 minutes a week reported improved concentration in class (in addition to better mood and better-quality sleep).

“Physical activity helps me when I’m stuck on homework or can’t get started,” says Jill, a junior in Bloomington, Minnesota. “I can go exercise for a little bit, and then I’m able to focus so much better when I go back to it.”

Information processing

Regular cycling and stretching exercises can improve your test skills, according to a study published in the Journal of Health Psychology. The researchers also found those who were physically active on a regular basis had better motor skills (i.e., all the actions that involve muscle movement) compared to people with a sedentary lifestyle.

yoga class holding mats

2. Stress

Exercise stimulates the release of a chemical in the body called brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), which is associated with decreases in anxiety and depression, according to a 2016 study. BDNF supports neuron growth and survival, the capacity to learn, and memory function. It has also been shown to positively affect our body’s ability to keep blood sugar levels consistent, which is important for maintaining energy, concentration, and overall health, as well as stabilizing our emotions and stress levels.

“I run every day after school as a way to vent out my anger from the day and to get out of the house. It definitely relieves my stress, which helps motivate me to achieve more things after that. It clears my head and helps me to be productive and study,” says Geoffrey*, a senior in Raleigh, North Carolina.

3. Energy

It seems logical that exercising would sap your energy—but several studies show the opposite is actually true. One study from the University of Georgia’s Exercise Psychology Laboratory found that regular exercise increased the energy of sedentary participants by 65 percent. According to its findings, low-intensity exercise is actually a better energy booster than working out harder (though both low- and moderate-intensity exercise increased participants’ energy).

“When I’m doing more physical activities, I have more energy and more motivation to do my school work,” says Makayla, a junior in Hondo, Texas.

How does it work? Another study published in the Journal of Applied Physiology found that physical exercise stimulates the development of mitochondria—your cells’ internal power plants—in brain cells. That stimulation ups your body’s energy and can help boost your productivity.

How to make time for fitness

climbing stairs

Here’s the thing: Any movement is good for your brain. “A lot of studies [on the benefits of exercise] look at walking, so it doesn’t have to be anything really intense,” explains Rumsey. In other words, you don’t need to sign up for a weight-lifting competition to feel the effects.

Find ways to integrate exercise into your daily routine
Grab your friends for a basketball game, take a walk around the neighborhood, or go dancing.

Take small steps
Add activity by doing things like parking farther from buildings, walking instead of taking buses, and using stairs.

Find an exercise you enjoy
“There’s no need to do exercise that you hate,” says Rumsey. “Try different classes like boxing, swimming, yoga, Pilates, and biking.”

Buddy up
Rather than catch up via text, go for a walk with a friend.

Join a school or intramural team or sports club.
Get involved in a way that’s social but also boosts your activity levels.

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Article sources

Alissa Rumsey, MS, RD, CSCS, founder of Alissa Rumsey Nutrition and Wellness, New York.

Erickson, K. I., Voss, M., Prakash, R., Basak, C., et al. (2011). Exercise training increases size of hippocampus and improves memory. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 108(7), 3017–3022. doi:10.1073/pnas.1015950108

Garber, M. (2017). Exercise as a stress coping mechanism in a pharmacy student population. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 81(3).

Hötting, K., Reich, B., Holzschneider, K., Kauschke, K., et al. (2012). Differential cognitive effects of cycling versus stretching/coordination training in middle-aged adults. Health Psychology, 31(2), 145–155.

Kalak, N., Gerber, M., Kirov, R., Mikoteit, T., et al. (2012). Daily morning running for three weeks improved sleep and psychological functioning in healthy adolescents compared with controls. Journal of Adolescent Health, 51(6), 615–622. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2012.02.020

Nofuji, Y., Suwa, M., Sasaki, H., Ichimiya, A., et al. (2012). Different circulating brain-derived neurotrophic factor responses to acute exercise between physically active and sedentary subjects. Journal of Sports Science and Medicine, 11(1), 83–88.

Puetz, T., Flowers, S., & O’Conner, P. (2008). A randomized controlled trial of the effect of aerobic exercise training on feelings of energy and fatigue in sedentary young adults with persistent fatigue. Psychotherapy and Psychosomatics, 77(3), 167–174. doi:10.1159/000116610

Sleiman, S. F., Henry, J., Al-Haddad, R., & El Hayek, et al. (2016). Exercise promotes the expression of brain derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF) through the action of the ketone body β-hydroxybutyrate. Elife5.

Steiner, J., Murphy, E. A., McClellan, J., Carmichael, M., et al. (2011). Exercise training increases mitochondrial biogenesis in the brain. Journal of Applied Physiology, 1066–1071. doi:10.1152/japplphysiol.00343.2011

Apps and podcasts we love: MyFitnessPal

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Augustine is a senior in Boston, Massachusetts.

 

Overall rating: 3 starsMyFitnessPal is designed to keep track of your daily intake of food and amount of exercise in order to ultimately reach a goal you’ve made for yourself. It requires you to input your meals each day as well as any workouts performed. Each week, the app analyzes your progress so you can see a visual representation of where you’re at in your goals.

Besides personal goals, MyFitnessPal also has easily accessible links to websites and videos that provide motivation to eat well and exercise. I personally love this feature of the app the most because it’s engaging and fun to use and provides lots of reputable information to help me pursue my health goals.

It was helpful to know where most of my calories came from and how many calories I consume on a daily basis, yet on the other hand, I personally don’t think simply counting calories will contribute greatly to leading a healthier life. I think the app was helpful in promoting health and wellness videos to users, but I wish it went beyond counting calories to provide incentive to help users maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Overall, I would recommend this app to someone interested in seeing how what they eat and how much they move affects them each day.”

Get it on iTunes StoreGet it on Google Play

How to encourage students to get the sleep they need

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The value of sufficient sleep can’t be overestimated, especially for busy college students. Researchers consistently find that not getting enough sleep can significantly affect how students function.

Lack of sleep has a negative effect on the regulation of hormones and other physiological processes, such as motor skills. Sleep deprivation is also linked to an increase in cortisol, more commonly known as the body’s “stress hormone.” And stress levels have an impact on weight, mood, energy level, immunity, and concentration—so sleep is a key factor in students’ academic success.

Acute sleep deprivation is often associated with episodes of “microsleep,” or brief, uncontrollable periods of sleep lasting three to six seconds. “[They can] intrude upon wake at inopportune times, such as during a lecture,” says Dr. Michel Bornemann, a sleep medicine specialist and former codirector of the Minnesota Regional Sleep Disorders Center in Minneapolis.

It can also be more serious. Dr. Bornemann points out that research shows driving after pulling an all-nighter is “very similar to the impairment experienced when driving while intoxicated with alcohol.”

How to help students get proper sleep

  • Emphasize the essential role of sleep in physical and emotional well-being. Reiterate that sleep can help them in more ways than just feeling refreshed; their stress, concentration levels, immunity, and overall health will all improve.
  • Help students find ways to prioritize getting sufficient sleep. If they can prioritize what needs to be done immediately and what can wait, they’ll likely get a bit more sleep.
  • Teach them about good sleep hygiene. Winding down in a dimly lit room, avoiding screens an hour before bed, and going to bed and waking around the same time each day will help them regulate their sleep cycle.
  • Encourage your student to avoid driving and similar activities when drowsy. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that drowsy drivers cause 100,000 crashes every year.
GET HELP OR FIND OUT MOREArticle sources

Dr. Michel Bornemann, lead investigator, Sleep Forensics Associates and physician at Olmsted Medical Center, Rochester, Minnesota.

American Psychological Association. (2013). Stress and sleep. Retrieved from https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2013/sleep.aspx
Harvard School of Public Health. (n.d.). Waking up to sleep’s role in weight control. Retrieved from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/obesity-prevention-source/obesity-causes/sleep-and- obesity/

Leproult, R., Copinschi, G., Buxton, O., & Van Cauter, E. (1997). Sleep loss results in an elevation of cortisol levels the next evening. Sleep20(10), 865–870. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/sleep/article/20/10/865/2725962

National Sleep Foundation. (2012, November 9). Young people more likely to drive drowsy. Retrieved from https://drowsydriving.org/2012/11/young-people-more-likely-to-drive-drowsy/

Watson, N. F., Buchwald, D., Delrow, J. J., Altemeier, W. A., et al. (2017). Transcriptional signatures of sleep duration discordance in monozygotic twins. Sleep, 40(1). doi: 10.1093/sleep/zsw019

Wright Jr., K. P., Drake, A. L., Frey, D. J., Fleshner, M., et al. (2015). Influence of sleep deprivation and circadian misalignment on cortisol, inflammatory markers, and cytokine balance. Brain, Behavior, and Immunity47, 24–34.

Ask the counselor: “How do I know if I found the right psychologist for my mental health needs?”

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—Andrew P.*, The College of New Jersey

Congratulations on taking the first step in caring for your mental health. It’s great that you’ve committed to seeking help from a professional who can guide you through the healing process.

There are many psychologists and therapists out there, and it’s all about finding the one that’s right for you. Here are four steps to help you determine if you’ve found a good fit:

1. Confirm that the psychologist is licensed.

You can use the American Board of Professional Psychology website to look them up by name or location.

2. Check out their specialties.

Consider what types of issues you’re looking to address in your sessions. While a well-trained psychologist or therapist will know how to assist with a range of topics, most have specialty areas. For example, some psychologists focus on family issues, such as divorce, or work with specific traumas, such as child abuse.

3. Find out how they conduct their sessions.

There are various approaches to therapy. Some focus more on helping you create more healthy thoughts and behaviors. You’ll often complete exercises and practices to learn how to make helpful changes in your life. Another approach is focusing on your past and getting a better understanding of how the past is affecting your present. There are also approaches that include art, music, spirituality, aromatherapy, and more.

Most psychologists and therapists use a combination of approaches. Think about what you’d be most comfortable with and try to find someone who matches that.

4. Do you vibe with them?

Lastly, but also very important, is figuring out if the match between you and the psychologist or therapist is a good one. Do you feel you’re able to share freely and honestly with them? Do you feel a connection with them? Research shows that if it’s a good fit, you’re more likely to stay in therapy and have better outcomes.

Don’t feel badly if you start seeing a therapist and don’t feel like they’re a good match; they won’t take it personally if you speak up about it, and may even be able to recommend someone else more able to suit your needs.

*Name changed

Article source

Martin, D. J., Garske, J. P., & Davis, M. K. (2000). Relation of the therapeutic alliance with outcome and other variables: A meta-analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 68(3), 438–450.

How to set your students up for studying success

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The majority of students retain information most effectively when blending a few different study methods. But setting students up for studying success begins before they get to the library.

Be up front

“Complete transparency about what it takes to study and retain the material is key,” says Amy Baldwin, director of the Department of Student Transitions at the University of Central Arkansas. “Letting students know that up front can be really impactful.”

  • When you announce tests or exams, consider including an estimate of how far in advance students should start studying to do well.
  • Have a successful former student talk to the class about how much time they dedicated to studying and what study tools they used.

Emphasize the “why”

Many students get a boost from knowing the “why,” or purpose, of material they’re being taught. “It’s very easy to dismiss something that doesn’t feel interesting or relevant,” Baldwin says. When material might not be directly relevant for their major, emphasize how the problem-solving or creative thinking skills they’re developing will help them later in life. “Learning to learn is a useful skill everyone can walk away with,” says Baldwin.

Champion study resources

Finally, do your part to normalize the use of outside help such as tutors and campus study centers. “Smart students go to tutoring—it’s not just for students who are struggling,” says Baldwin.

Here are some helpful tips

  • Provide practice tests: These are a tangible way to help students stay on track.
  • Encourage students to color-code materials to aid memorization.
  • Come up with acronyms for lists students need to memorize.
  • Create a concept sheet with key words, diagrams, and charts to summarize the material for each unit.
  • Assign/encourage study groups.
  • Record lectures and post them online for students to review.
  • Break any study materials down into small sections to help students space out their studying.
  • Encourage students to review lecture notes and add their own reflections or questions after class.

With some creativity, your students’ studying can be more effective and even enjoyable.

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Article sources

Amy Baldwin, director of the Department of Student Transitions, University of Central Arkansas, Conway, Arkansas.

Dr. Damien Clement, assistant professor of sport and exercise psychology, West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia.

Carlson, S. (2005). The net generation goes to college. Chronicle of Higher Education, 52(1), 1–7. Retrieved from https://chronicle.com/article/The-Net-Generation-Goes-to/12307

Gurung, R. A. (2005). How do students really study (and does it matter)? Education, 39, 323–340. Retrieved from https://02c44f4.netsolhost.com/ebooks/tips2011/I-05-04Gurung2005.pdf

Komarraju, M., Karau, S. J., Schmeck, R. R., & Avdic, A. (2011). The big five personality traits, learning styles, and academic achievement. Personality and Individual Differences, 51(4), 472–477. Retrieved from https://ac.els-cdn.com/S0191886911002194/1-s2.0-S0191886911002194-main.pdf?_tid=1cc52fea-0920-11e3-8138-00000aab0f01&acdnat=1376952107_d8d9f6534a777cd4b523196c3175c933

Karpicke, J. D. (2012). Retrieval-based learning: Active retrieval promotes meaningful learning. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 21(3), 157–163. Retrieved from https://learninglab.psych.purdue.edu/downloads/2012_Karpicke_CDPS.pdf

Kornell, N. (2009). Optimising learning using flashcards: Spacing is more effective than cramming. Applied Cognitive Psychology, 23, 1297–1317. Retrieved from https://web.williams.edu/Psychology/Faculty/Kornell/Publications/Kornell.2009b.pdf

Heath, C., & Heath, D. (2007). Made to stick: Why some ideas survive and others die. Random House: New York.