It’s that time of year – everyone is sick and contagious.
I’ve already been sick a few times this semester, and let me tell you – it’s not fun.
And the worst part of being sick at school is trying to do your homework and go to your classes when all you want to do is stay in bed.
So here are some tips and tricks for getting healthy quicker and staying productive even when you don’t feel good.
1. Know the signs and stay healthy!
If you feel your throat getting a little sore or you’re getting tired more easily, act preemptively!
When you live or work on a college campus, there are a lot of germs, and it’s pretty likely you’ll get sick at some point or another. So take action before it happens! Eat plenty of fruits and veggies that naturally give you the kinds of vitamins and nutrients your body needs to maintain a strong immune system!
Or you can get your fruits and veggies together! This is one of my favorite smoothies I get from the Natural! smoothie shop in Green Hall.
This one has spinach, apple juice, banana, and oranges!
Another super important way to ward off sickness is to get plenty of sleep! College students are prone to pulling all-nighters, but it’s during those stressed-out times that you need sleep the most! Being tired means your body doesn’t have the strength to fight off those nasty diseases around campus!
2. Stock up on the essentials!
Whatever kind of illness you get, make sure you get the right remedies to make sure you feel as good as possible.
I recently had a bad cough, so I stocked up on cough drops, a decongestant, and some additional vitamins!
Make sure you do your research and know what kind of medicine is right for the symptoms you’re experiencing.
3. Take breaks and don’t try to over-work yourself.
During my latest sick day, I tried to write five more pages for the latest draft of my senior thesis. Normally, I could knock that out in a couple hours, with the research, wiring, and editing. But in my condition, that was unrealistic. Set goals that you can actually meet and prioritize the assignments you really need to focus on.
4. Rest in the God who has it all under control.
One of the most frustrating parts of being sick for me is feeling unproductive. I hate knowing how much work I could have gotten done but didn’t have the energy to complete. I get frustrated with my very human condition – I’m weak and fragile in the face of tiny little germs. Sometimes, it’s in this place that He finds me and speaks the loudest. When I believe the lie that I am in control and can orchestrate my life all on my own, He allows a little cold or flu to remind me that I’m dependent on the God of the universe, and I need to surrender my illusion of control to Him.
This week was a good week for Convocation! On Monday, we listened to NFL Hall of Fame Wide Receiver Tim Brown, and today we heard from FOUR incredible people – Shane & Shane and Rick and Sherri Burgess.
Shane & Shane have been making music together for about fifteen years, and have produced eleven studio albums. They sang “Psalm 46 (Lord of Hosts)” from their new album Psalms, Vol. 2 (which is AMAZING), as well as some favorite covers including “Good Good Father” and “No Longer Slaves.” Shane & Shane are incredible musicians, and they beautifully set the stage for what Rick and Sherri Burgess would speak about.
The Burgesses shared the story of Rick’s success as a speaker and radio show host, as well as the tragic story of their young child’s drowning. Rick powerfully shared the truth that God uses trials and difficulties in our lives to shape us into people who are more like Him. He explained that the “wealth, health, and prosperity gospel” didn’t hold up to the truth in the actual Gospel: we will certainly face suffering but God will use it for His glory and our good. Sherri joined him and explained how difficult the tragic event was to endure. She shared that while she once questioned why God would take her son from her, she can now see how her family’s trial became a powerful testimony of God’s grace and deliverance.
Shane & Shane rocking it out!
If there’s anything college students like, it’s late-night chocolate.
And this week, the girls on the debate team celebrated “Galentine’s Day” by eating late-night chocolate!
A few days after Valentine’s Day, we dipped marshmallows, graham crackers, and other goodies in chocolate while making valentines for everyone on our team.
As busy as we all are, we decided to carve some time out of our busy week to spend time bonding over chocolate and crafts!
Here’s part of our group!
After getting a sugar rush from our chocolate, we started working on our valentines!
Making valentines isn't all fun and games!
Even if it’s not Valentine’s Day (or “Galentine’s Day”), spending some time with friends and chocolate is an important break in any student’s life.
We’re reaching that point in the semester: the one where you give up on all of your well-intentioned plans to get your homework done ahead of time, the point where you rely on three cups of coffee a day to stay awake, and the point where seniors like me start counting down the days until graduation.
One aspect of my schedule that simultaneously adds a lot of stress and gives a lot of joy is the debate team. The Liberty Debate Team travels a few weekends out of every month, and our trips usually take three or four days. Since most people have no idea how debate tournaments work, I thought I’d bring you along on our most recent trip and show you how we spend our crazy weekends! This weekend, we were traveling to a large national tournament in Austin, Texas.
We get picked up from our dorms at 5:00 AM to drive to the Lynchburg airport. (That’s one important feature of debate tournaments: waking up early!)
We flew from Lynchburg to Charlotte, and then from Charlotte to Austin.
First stop upon arrival in Texas: BBQ!
We didn’t have any debates our first day in Austin, so our day consisted of tacos, preparing for the tournament, settling into the hotel, and, of course, BBQ.
We woke up at 5:45 and left the hotel at 6:30. We had four debates this day!
Each debate takes around 2 ½ hours. There are eight speeches – four nine-minute speeches and four six-minute speeches. Two-people teams debate each other, with each debater giving two speeches. After the debate, a judge takes some time to think about the debate, and then gives the debaters their decision for who won the debate, as well as comments about what they could improve on.
Again, we wake up at 5:45 and leave at 6:30 for four more debates!
At large national tournaments, there are usually over 150 teams debating. These preliminary debates show which teams are the best and will advance to elimination rounds on Monday.
Elimination debates! The 32 teams that have advanced to the elimination debates are organized in a bracket and debate each other until only two teams are left, and that debate determines the winner of the tournament.
These debates are either stressful (if you’re debating in them) or really fun (if you’re not, you get to watch really good debates and learn a lot).
Travel day – We flew back from Austin to Lynchburg early Tuesday morning. At closer tournaments, we often ride on Liberty buses to the tournament, and the ride home looks a little more like this:
This is Ana, who had great dreams of getting Biology homework done on a ride back from a tournament.
Debate tournaments aren’t as physically exhausting as sports tournaments, but they are mentally exhausting. We’re debating for long hours every day, traveling for long hours, and trying to finish our Stats homework on bumpy busses.
As stressful and time-consuming as debate tournament are, they’re also rewarding and fun. It’s a special feeling to know that your hard work has paid off, and you’ve accomplished something you’re proud of.
During this chaotic part of the semester, let’s all keep our focus on working hard, no matter what our pursuits are. Let’s work hard, not for earthly success, but for the value of using the talents our God has given us well.
It’s the #1 piece of advice most people give college students. But sometimes…we don’t listen. I have gotten myself in this scenario more than once: you’ve put off writing your paper/studying for your test/working on your project until the night before, and you know have less than twelve hours before said assignment needs to be turned in.
So while you should avoid this situation at all costs, here are some tips for when you’ve procrastinated!
If I am really uninterested in writing that paper that’s due in the morning, I often find myself suddenly incredibly interested in doing all sorts of other less-urgent assignments. Don’t do it! Make a list of what you absolutely need to get done that day, and prioritize each thing in the list so that the most important ones get done first. What are the most important ones? That depends on your list. What things are worth the most points? Will take the most effort to do right? Are most important for your degree program? If it’s just not possible to get everything done (again, hopefully you don’t put yourself in this situation!), then you need to prioritize tasks.
2. Caffeinate and eat the right food!
You probably will actually need some coffee tonight, so stock up. BUT, don’t give in to the temptation to also stock up on junk food and candy bars. You’ll crash earlier and harder than if you choose some sustainable snacks, like apples and peanut butter or veggies and hummus.
3. Find your spot.
If you’re going to have to concentrate the work you should have spread out over a few weeks into one night, find a spot to work that has everything you need. It should be comfy (but not so comfy you could conceivably sleep there), have good lighting, and plenty of space to spread your work out.
Here’s mine! My desk in my room has multiple light sources, a big enough space to spread out my laptop and books, and is surrounded by things that inspire me and make me happy. You can also see my coffee and To-Do list!
School is important, and doing your best work glorifies God. But your grades do not define you, and if life has piled up on you unexpectedly and you do some things imperfectly, it’s okay! He wants more for His children than tidy lives and fake perfection – He wants you to be alive in His grace and perfection, not your own.