College Seniors on the Health and Fitness Tips They Wish They Knew in the Beginning

While freshmen are usually clueless on many levels (#sorrynotsorry), navigating a healthy eating and fitness plan can be even harder than finding your way around campus. Here, we talked to 10 college seniors for advice.


Photo by Olga Khvan

With another school year about to begin, incoming college freshmen may think they have enough to worry about between making friends, living on their own for the first time, and, oh yeah, doing well in school. Wrong. From the freshman 15 — hello, dining hall food and 2 a.m. pizza runs — to binge drinking, college is full of bad health choices just waiting to happen, and every new student needs to be prepared.

Luckily, for every incoming freshman, there are just as many college seniors who have been there, done that, and managed to (finally) drop those freshman year pounds in the process. We asked 10 rising college seniors from schools across Boston for the health tips they wish they’d known as a freshman. Here’s what they said:

1. “Working out early in the day allows you to get in your exercise without it conflicting with spontaneous adventures. There have been countless times when I planned on going to the gym only to scrap the idea when a roommate tells me something fun that’s going on.” – Aidan Corrigan, Boston University

2. “Take advantage of the health services your school has to offer, or at least look into it. I was sincerely shocked when I went to [Northeastern’s health center] last week and found out it looked and functioned even better than my primary care physician’s office at home.” – Jordan Mandell, Northeastern University

3. “It’s important to find the foods they make in front of you [in the dining hall] or even go to vegan or vegetarian sections for fresh things.” – Aran Hubbell, Boston College

4. “I wish I had understood how important mental health is in regards to physical health. I think society teaches us to constantly improve our exterior body rather than focusing on our psyche. Whether it’s visiting a psychotherapist, practicing meditation, or exercising, I believe we all need to relieve stress regularly.” – Adriana Jodoin, Northeastern University

5. “It’s more important to stay active rather than diet. Many schools may claim to have healthy food choices, but every university will have a fitness center.” – Anuj Vadalia, Brandeis University

6. “I wish that I had known I was going to get sick of literally everything the dining hall offered, so there was no reason to over-eat out of a desire to try everything.” – Zoe Sobin, Tufts University

7. “Eat something healthy before going out to avoid getting too drunk, and to hinder the inevitable late night binge eating afterwards.” – Alex Jenney, Bentley University

8. “No school sports means not having practice five days a week. In addition to having to learn to be self-sustaining in just about every other regard, you have to learn to keep yourself in shape.” – Matt Garvin, Northeastern University

9. “I wish I would have known that unhealthy eating habits can be both in the form of overindulging in the new world that is the college dining hall as well as not getting enough nutrients or a balanced diet due to stress or acclimating to a new setting.” – Ashley Goncalves, Boston College

10. “The best way to develop good habits is to set attainable goals and schedule your workouts into your day. Without this kind of motivation and focus to keep you on track, your fitness goals will inevitably fall by the wayside.” – Harrison Odaniell, Tufts University