Monday, July 18, 2011


IMing with a coworker recently, I mentioned the upcoming academic meetings, where twice a year faculty from all over the country fly in for a conference. Only instead of calling it the academic meetings, I called it the acacemic meetings. While I see the spelling and grammar missteaks I make in IM, I generally don't fix them or call attention to them based on the informal, conversational nature of IM, unless it made what I wrote illegible. This Freudian slip, however, was too much to leave on the table.

acacemic = cross between academic and glycemic

During the first such conference, I gained five pounds that week. With as much food as was floating around, I'm surprised I limited my increase to that. During the last one we did, I was able to break even by watching my eating closer and exercising more. The only soda I remember drinking was near the end of the week. I was having the hardest time staying awake so grabbed a Coke, only to find myself in the living-healthy-when-you-work-at-home-for-an-online-school session.

We went on to analyze various high-and-crash situations. Any time you get excited about some new idea, the reality of trying to implement it always seems to put you back into your place. This is all over in academia from starting a new class or degree program to graduating and trying to find a job. It doesn't slow down for professors either as they try to get tenure, wrangle for grant money, and work to save their departments from budget cuts.

Thinking about traditional schools, food (often high in sugar) is commonly used to keep the excitement going between the figurative highs and lows. What traditional college student (or assistant professor) isn't always on the lookout for free donuts, pizza, candy, coffee, soda, ice cream, etc.? Among stress, alcohol, buffet meal plans, abnormal sleeping habits, and simply lack of experience living on one's own, the Freshman 15 attacks many, holding on for a 6 year ride.

That is why WGU provides mentors for their online students, to make regular contact and ensure students can bounce out of the lows that life throws their way. I'm imagining now a deal with a nationwide pizza chain where online students can get a free pizza delivered to them, let's say 6 times per year, included in the cost of tuition. Feeling low? Click here for an instant pick-me-up.

I was exposed to yoga at the last academic meetings and have kept up with it semi-regularly. There's nothing like meeting people in person to improve the quality of virtual meetings. Setting regular goals and regularly checking them off your list is a great motivator for many.

So what are some other healthy ways of keeping the high going or at least leveling out the lows? I was going to offer a chocolate bar to the best answer, but Phillip ate it at the beginning of the post.

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