Habits of Highly Successful Freshmen: Wake up!

College may be the most dynamic period in a person's life, yet all across campus students seem to sleepwalk through their days until they can go back to bed. When does the excitement of these four years dry up? At what point does spontaneity turn into routine, ambition into mediocrity, and passion into indifference? As a freshman, one of the most beneficial habits you can adopt is filling your life with the health, energy and vitality you need to truly appreciate the college experience.

It starts with the moment you wake up. Freshmen registration naturally attracts 8:30 a.m. classes, and even on weekends, a long night out almost guarantees a miserable morning. But when you wake up on the proverbial wrong side of the bed, that negative energy has momentum. The entire day can go downhill from five minutes of an irritable wake-up. Assuming that there's not much you can do about early classes, and that there's not much you will do about late nights, you can still trick your body and mind into having more energy than they naturally would.

The moment your alarm goes off, get up and get vertical as fast as you can. Force your jaw into a smile and throw your arms over your head. Act as though you are waking up to the best day of your life. It may feel goofy and will definitely feel fake, but no one is judging. Physiology and psychology are constantly trying to match up with each other. By overriding the former with physical energy, no matter how compulsory it may be, you'll begin to feel great in just a few minutes.

Once you're up and somewhat moving, make showering and eating top priorities. The rush of warm water stimulates the nerve endings of your skin, which raises the activity and awareness of your brain. In short, a hot shower when you wake up gives you an instant boost of energy and vitality. Eating breakfast in the morning is such common wisdom that it borders on cliché. But when you "break your fast," as the etymological breakdown of the word goes, you kick-start your metabolism, replenish blood glucose levels and fill your tank for the day.

If you wake up right, staying awake throughout the day will follow suit. As one who has struggled with the alarm clock all his life, I am living proof not only that the early bird catches the worm, but that morning people are made and not born. Pumping your energy levels before you even leave the house will spill over into everything you want to accomplish. As the day proceeds, you can use simple principles of diet and exercise to keep your mental and physical state running at full capacity.

People seem more concerned these days with discussing the best diet plans than with actually eating well, but everyone ultimately knows what they have to do to lose or avoid the "Freshman 15." If you really can't make your peace with CAS, at least boost your activity level. Maybe walking is your thing, maybe swimming, maybe weight-lifting, maybe sports - whatever turns you on to exercise, get in the habit of doing it on a daily basis. There is more at stake than your weight on a scale. Your body's energy comes from what you put in and put out. Just compare the walk from M.J. to Newton after a Gordita Supreme versus a salad.

Getting enough sleep is standard advice for college students, but more often than not it's handed down from people who are not living a college lifestyle. If you really want to find success in college, you can't sleep through the experience. Wake up, stay awake and enjoy all that these four years have to offer.