There are few absolutes in human behavior, so it could be that you could perform at least average college work while you sleep only a few hours per night, watch lots of TV and party hearty several times per week.  However, for the majority of people there is a direct correlation amongst decent grades, feeling healthy and optimistic, and living a healthy lifestyle.  Too much use of alcohol and caffeine, too little sleep, and not enough exercise combine to compromise the immune system.  In turn, one becomes more susceptible to stress, which further erodes the immune system, creating a true downward spiral. A few weeks of this often leaves a person feeling fatigued, bored, depressed, irritable and angry.  If drug abuse is added to this recipe, the risks to health become even greater, but, in addition, now one also faces the possibility of getting arrested and facing other consequences of impaired judgment, including accidents, financial difficulties or family disputes.


Aside from abstaining from a drug lifestyle and moderating the use of alcohol and caffeine (technically speaking, also drugs), a person who expects to succeed academically needs to get an adequate amount of sleep, at least some aerobic exercise daily, and a network of social support.  Productive relaxation, such as a hobby or volunteering one’s time, is also healthier than hours spent idly watching television or playing video games (the good these did for your brain and your eye-hand coordination was done a long time ago – you’re past that now!).


When I read this back I admit it seems terribly prudish, and, to be honest, I am not sure I lived quite so purely forty years ago – but I really wish I had.