If you’ve been in college for more than a couple weeks, you’ve probably learned what just about every students learns really quickly: you’re going to be tired a lot. You probably aren’t sleeping enough (who wants to sleep when there are friends to hang out with, homework to do, papers to write, and girls/guys to chase?), you’re spending a lot of mental and physical energy going to class and studying, and you’re expending energy walking around all day (in addition to any sports you play or frisbee-tossing sessions you engage in). What does all of this mean? It means that, at some point, you’re going to need an energy boost.
The college student’s fallback energy boost is, always has been, and always will be caffeine. Whether it’s in soda, coffee, tea, an energy drink, or some other form, caffeinating is a reliable way to get a boost. Unless, of course, you’ve been having a lot of it and you’re developing a tolerance. In this case, you’ll need to start having more and more for it to have any effect. I highly recommend limiting your caffeine intake when you don’t need it just so that it’s more effective when you do actually require a boost.
One of my favorite strategies is to avoid needing an energy boost in the first place. You may not be able to get much more sleep, but you can still do some things that will help keep you from running so low that you need some artificial help. Eating breakfast, for example. Make sure you don’t let yourself get overly hungry throughout the day, and you’ll avoid the blood sugar swings that will make you really tired and leave you in search of a cup of coffee.
Stress is near the top of the list of college student energy sappers. I’ve written about stress management quite a few times on this blog, so you should have at least some idea of how to keep your stress at a reasonable level by now. If not, start reading up on it. It’ll make a big difference. Not only will it help out your energy levels, but it will really have a positive effect on the rest of your life.
Even though it may seem obvious, taking a nap is a very under-utilized energy booster. Get back to your dorm for 15 or 20 minutes, turn off the lights, and lay down. Even if you don’t sleep, the relaxation should help you re-center yourself and get some energy back. It’s easy for a 15-minute nap to turn into a 2-hour one, so be careful doing this.
Everyone has their own preferred energy boosts. Whether yours is coffee, sleeping, or something entirely different, use it when you have to! Being overly tired all day may seem like a good way to get a lot of things done, but it can also get you sick, and it certainly won’t have a good effect on your grades. Keep your fatigue under control, and you’ll be in good shape.