On The Trinity Perspective, you will find those answers—or at least someone who asked the same questions. We have been in your shoes. The Trinity Perspective collects advice and stories from current students, parents, faculty, and alumni to share with you—prospective students, families, and the Trinity community.

Balancing Work & Play: The Importance of Exercise

By Sarah Fulton ('15)
Sarah Fulto
Sarah Fulton ('15)
Biomedical Researcher & Frisbee Fanatic

If you asked the average Trinity science student how much they had on his or her plate this semester, you would likely get a mixed response of shrill laughter or tears. One of the things that makes Trinity an amazing place is that we are small enough to cultivate the individual. It is rare to find a group of students that dedicate themselves only to school. More likely, your friend, the engineer, sings in a choir, is in a fraternity, and serves on the student conduct board. In my case, I am a neuroscience/premed student, work in a cancer biology lab at the UT Health Science Center, am a member of a sorority, and am starting a women’s Ultimate Frisbee club team at Trinity. This cultivation of interests means that time is usually not a resource that is easy to come by for most students.

There are various ways to manage time at Trinity and ensure that you are able to be successful in your classes, as well as leave time for extra-curricular activities and a modest social life. I have received various helpful tips in the past including keeping a planner, getting lots of sleep, and studying for exams in advance. While helpful, my personal experience has revealed these goals to be surprisingly hard to achieve (perhaps not the planner as much as sleep and studying early). I should mention that the students who are able to do all three are significantly (p = 0.05) less stressed out than students who do not. As I mentioned, maintaining all three habits can be difficult. 

But fear not! There is hope for those of us who cannot go to bed before 11:00 and study at the last minute.

In my junior year, I discovered a habit that made me happier, less stressed, and more alert while studying. It is incredibly simple – exercise. At first glance, exercising seems counter intuitive, and indeed this logic kept me from making physical activity a priority my first two years at Trinity. Exercising requires time, both for work outs and clean up, and is physically draining. Despite becoming svelte and boosting gym friendships, I didn’t see much need for it. However, since I have picked up Ultimate Frisbee and IM sports, exercise has become one of the biggest determining factors for keeping my stress level low. 

Trinity University Club Sports
Students love club sports, like ultimate frisbee, where they can relax and recharge in between assignments.

Spending an hour or so playing pickup Frisbee rejuvenates me. The physical exertion releases endorphins, which are our bodies’ natural pain relievers and sedatives. The chemicals reach receptors in the brain and diminish our perception of pain. They also cause a temporary euphoria by binding to the same receptors in the body as morphine. This natural high gives me fresh perspective and makes me more keen on studying for my classes. I would highly (no pun intended) recommend that you find an engaging and interesting physical activity, and then chisel out a small portion of your day for it. If you are a lady (or a man who can rock pigtails), I will shamelessly plug our new Ultimate Frisbee team. Getting to the gym (or field) can be challenging at times, but it will pay you back with interest.

About Sarah Fulton
Sarah Fulton is a senior neuroscience major looking to attend medical school after Trinity. Sarah participates in many exciting activities while here, including ultimate Frisbee, undergraduate research, alpha chi lambda, student ambassadors, the Plunge, and the Trinitonian as an editorial cartoonist. Originally from Duncan, Oklahoma, Sarah just returned from a semester abroad in Scotland.


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