Author Archives: Audrey Webb

Study Tips: Food for Thought

Food for Thought:
Good Food for Studying


Does your all-night studying include all-night snacking? Do you keep your brain and body going by working your way through packages of Oreos, bags of hot Cheetos, Dr Peppers, Red Bulls, and a thick-crust pepperoni pizza . . . one chapter at a time? Do you overeat to cope with the stress of last-minute studying?

Skip the junk food aisle when you're gathering snacks for your study sessions.

Steer clear of the junk food aisle when you’re gathering snacks for your study sessions.

Filling up with junk food can actually sabotage your efforts to prepare for final exams. Foods with high sugar content (cookies, cakes, candies, pies, sodas, energy drinks, etc.) can cause your blood sugar level to spike and then crash, which can spell catastrophe for the clear thinking and mental energy required to tackle finals. Students following this “cramming menu” have also been known to fall asleep ― right through their finals. No kidding! Add those bottomless cups of caffeine to this Hell’s Kitchen menu, and you may “jitter” yourself out of a good performance no matter how long you have studied. Big meals and high fat foods make your body work hard at digesting and can make you feel tired and lazy. When your blood sugar level spikes and drops, it can also leave you with a serious headache and fuel your anxiety instead of your brainpower.

What’s a late-night cramming student to do?

  • Eat small, light meals that are high in protein, low in fat, and include whole grains.
  • Skip the 3Cs (cookies, cakes, candies).
  • Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. If you do drink coffee or sodas, try to alternate those beverages with water.
  • Take breaks and go for a walk instead of grabbing another package of Twinkies.
  • Some nutritionists suggest eating something small about 10 minutes before a test to give you a sustained energy boost: a banana or an orange, a bowl of granola, or nuts and raisins. These foods will be digested slowly enough to give you brain power that actually keeps you going!

Student Life: Migraines and Headaches

Don’t Let Pain be an Obstacle:
What You Should Know
to Prevent and Manage
Headaches and Migraines

By Jack Fraim, M.D.

College. For some, that word alone is synonymous with “headache.” With late nights, early mornings, partying, studying, social obligations and tests, headaches are a given at some point in a student’s college tenure.

For some students, migraines can be a serious concern. These excruciating headaches can slow you down. So how can you know the difference?

Knowing the difference between a headache and a migraine can help you prevent and manage the associated pain.

Knowing the difference between a headache and a migraine can help you prevent and manage the associated pain.

Headache vs. Migraine. Believe it or not, there is a difference, and it’s more than just the pain level. Headaches are symptomatic, triggered by something that occurs such as stress, staring at a television or computer screen for too long or not getting enough sleep. Migraines are actually a part of someone’s genetic makeup deep in the neuro system. In fact, about 75 percent of migraine symptoms are inherited. For the most part, migraines don’t have the same external triggers as headaches, although they can be triggered by certain foods.

Why am I Getting Headaches? By far the leading cause in headaches for a college student is stress. However, sinus infections are a second cause. And then there’s the sleep deprivation that comes with college life. Studying all night for the big exam and late nights out with friends is taxing on the body, particularly over time. Therefore, it’s extremely important to get enough rest and hydrate with water in between those visits to your favorite hangouts.

Healthy Diet, Healthy Head. One of the most effective forms of headache and migraine prevention is eating properly. Avoiding food with additives (i.e. fast food) in favor of more oxygen-rich foods (like fruits and vegetables) can help prevent headaches. But don’t worry, caffeine is fine in small doses, although overdoing caffeine can be terrible for the head. The most severe migraines are caused from foods with high contents of monosodium glutamate (MSG) and nitrates. Artificial sweeteners, such as aspartame and NutraSweet, are also common triggers in severe migraines. As much as you might not want to hear it, alcohol can be linked to head pain as well, and that’s not counting the morning after. Another great way to prevent headaches is staying hydrated and exercising. All you really need is 20 minutes a day of light exercise.

When to Visit the Doctor. Headaches can come and go, so it’s good to be aware of when you might need to visit the doctor. If you get minor to mild headaches every month or two, then over-the-counter medicines such as Advil or Tylenol work fine for treatment. However, if headaches are waking you up at night, occurring more frequently, lasting longer and are beginning to prevent you from doing daily activities, then a doctor’s visit is advised. Some migraines and severe headaches can warrant prescribed medication.

Your college experience doesn’t have to be a big headache. Recognizing the difference between a manageable headache and the severity of a migraine is important, and knowing what causes them is the best form of prevention.

Dr. Jack Fraim is a neurologist with the Seton Brain and Spine Institute and assistant professor of neurology at the Dell Medical School.

Student Life: Tattoo Tips

So, You Want to Get a Tattoo?

By Ammar Ahmed, M.D.

Over the past 20 years, body art in its many mediums has become a more acceptable part of mainstream culture. Whereas tattoos once were the hallmark of sailors or bikers, tattoos now are common among all ages of people, particularly college students. In fact, according to a report by the National Institutes of Health, 73 percent of people who have a tattoo got their first one
between the ages of 18 and 22.
Whether it’s a statement of personal expression or a memento from that unforgettable weekend, getting “inked” is a permanent commitment with more than just cosmetic risks. Here are a few things to keep in mind before you go under the needle. Continue reading

Student Life: Down on the Farm

Preparing for Spring

by Emily Arnold

Well, nobody said it would be glamorous! Emily Arnold learns about the best ways to fertilize crops.

Well, nobody said it would be glamorous! Emily Arnold learns about the best way to fertilize crops.

The Freeman Ranch staff gave us permission to collect horse manure from the horse pen at the ranch. Horse manure is the best kind of manure for composting because of the animals’ digestive tract as well as their diet. They are by definition “hind-gut fermenters,” which means the absorption of nutrients from their food doesn’t begin until the end of the digestive tract. This makes their waste higher in nutrient content. Also, the horses at the ranch are fed entirely pesticide- and herbicide-free grass.

Once we collected the horse manure, we put some aside in a compost pile, and we applied some directly to rows that are currently empty. Because of the high nutrient content, we went in with rakes and manually tried to break it down and mix it into the soil. If we were to try and plant directly into the manure without letting it sit, the plants could get burned from high levels of nitrogen and die. We have been watering the rows with the manure in it to speed up the break down, and hopefully when we go to plant in week or so, the soil will be more fertile and give our plants some extra nutrition.

Students: Megan Holmes

Open to Opportunities: Grad student finds reward in her passion

by Megan Holmes

Photo of Megan Holmes

By expressing her opinions and taking a chance, Megan got an opportunity to expand her network and gather new insights. Well done!

I’m a Bobcat for life! I earned my bachelor’s degree in psychology with a minor in forensic psychology here at Texas State and I’m currently completing my master’s in agricultural education. My soul’s drive is to make an impact in the lives of high school students through agriculture.

One of the things I love most about Texas State are the dedicated professors.  The professors here have a genuine interest in my personal success. Continue reading

Student Organizations: H.E.A.T.

Compassion knows no borders

by Audrey Webb

The Human-Environmental-Animal Team (H.E.A.T.) is a community service organization dedicated to humanitarian work, environmental conservation and animal welfare, all while focusing on positive activism. Rather than focusing on conventional sad statistics and depressing photos, H.E.A.T. aims to incorporate humor, art and creativity into projects to help solve real-world issues.

In September and October of 2011, Bastrop community members experienced tragic losses during the fires that swept the area. A Texas State student wanted to find a way to help. She found the opportunity through H.E.A.T., one of Texas State’s 360+ student organizations. Continue reading

Alumni: Brianne Corn

Gear shifts: Alumna follows her heart and chases down a life-long dream

By Audrey Webb

If it's got a motor and wheels, Brianne Corn will race on it.

If it’s got a motor and wheels, Brianne Corn will race on it.

A study abroad program changed Brianne Corn’s life in ways she had never intended. In her final semester at Texas State, Corn enrolled in two courses in Italy: Italian art history and street photography. At that point, her plan was to graduate, then travel to Greece to photograph the 2004 Summer Olympics. But after a daring drive up a mountain in a rental car, Corn steered her life in a whole new direction.

On a day off from class, Corn started racing Italian drivers up a curvy mountain road — “misbehaving,” she admits with a grin — and when she finally pulled over, her heart still racing, she had what she can only refer to as an epiphany, “literally in the shadow of a castle,” she recalls.

“I asked myself a question: ‘If you won the lottery, and money was no object, what would you do?’ My answer was that I would become a rally car driver,” says Corn.

She completed her degree — a B.S. in digital and photographic imagery with an art/design minor — ditched her plans for Greece and set out full throttle to fulfill a dream that had begun when she was growing up in Victoria, Texas. Continue reading