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Jenni Whalen

More by Jenni Whalen

PMS: What Causes It, How to Avoid It & How to Deal


Each month, Keara from Hamilton College experiences the same series of miserable events.

“First I send a text to a friend, and when they don't respond right away I start wondering ‘What if none of my friends like me?’ ‘What if I have no true friends?’” she says. “Then I look in the mirror and think that I'm getting fat and need to start a diet, but can't fulfill my hunger. I get extremely clumsy, get a pimple right next to my nose, and then start to piece together that I must be PMSing. But after about a week of PMS and cramps, I usually still haven't gotten my period and begin to worry that I'm pregnant (even when I haven't been having sex – my PMSing brain is reasonable, right?). And then finally one night I am impossibly hot and can't sleep at all even though I'm exhausted, and the next morning I get my period. It’s brutal.”

All of Keara’s symptoms are a part of a little something we like to call PMS, or Premenstrual Syndrome. Over-exaggerated emotions, uncomfortable cramps, pimples and mood swings make us groan and complain about our womanhood as we snap at our boyfriends and best friends and down the nearest chocolate bar. So what gives? What causes these oh-so-lovely symptoms? And is there anything we can do about it?

What Is PMS, Exactly?

Recipes for Easy Variations on Collegiette Staple Foods: Ramen Noodles, Mac ‘n Cheese & More


The easiest and cheapest foods often come in boxes and cans, and, let’s face it - this means most collegiettes are left using their food budget on boxed foods! However, we all know that the easiest foods can also become the most boring, so Her Campus has some easy ways to spice up your favorite staple meals!

Mac ‘n Cheese

Annie’s, Kraft… you’ve got ‘em all lined up on your shelf, but you’re getting bored with the same old recipe. Take a good look around your kitchen, see what other ingredients you have and try one of these tasty renditions.

If you’re a cheese lover…Try adding another type of cheese to the boxed mixture when you add the milk, butter and cheese powder to the noodles. Parmesan, Velveeta and Sharp Cheddar all taste great!

If you’re craving baked mac ‘n cheese… Cook the noodles for about a minute less than normal (they will finish cooking in the oven) and then prepare the cheese mixture according to the directions on the box. Add the cheese mixture to the noodles. Pour the prepared macaroni into an oven-safe container, then crumble up croutons or buy bread crumbs at the store. Add parmesan cheese or cheddar cheese to the bread crumbs if you have some, along with some salt and pepper, and sprinkle the mixture over the pasta. Bake in the oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes or until top is golden brown.

How to Work Out More, Eat Healthier, Relax & Get Inspired This School Year


Heading back to college each fall means lots of exciting changes – new classes, a new dorm room, new roommates, and maybe even a new you! The best part of the start of a new year is that you have a clean slate, so you can make those changes to improve your health that you never got around to last year. Living healthier may be easier said than done, but with these tips on how to successfully stay fit, eat well, get inspired, and even relax, maintaining a healthy lifestyle will be (almost) as easy as 1-2-3(-4). So this year, don't just make resolutions and forget about them one week later—stick to them and get the results you want!

1. Create a Workout Plan

Each year, I decide that I am going to work out more frequently, and each year I end up becoming so busy that I forget about my resolution as quickly as I made it! So what’s a girl to do with a busy schedule and an aversion to the treadmill keeping her away from the gym?

Schedule It

Whip out your trusty planner on Sunday night and look at your schedule for the week. Do you have a two-hour break between classes on Wednesdays? Or a class-free afternoon on Mondays? Find pockets of time and then pencil (or pen!) in a workout. Instead of sitting in the library for two hours between classes, bring your running shoes and workout clothes in your backpack and head to the gym to kill the time. Treat your scheduled workouts like an important appointment. Planning to work out at a certain time each day will help you to keep yourself accountable and help you stay fit!

Find a Workout Buddy

How to Train for a Full or Half Marathon: Advice from Collegiette Marathoners


“The crowds were lining the finish corral and the cheering and inspirational signs were everywhere,” says recent Bucknell University graduate Hilary, recalling the first marathon she ran. “As I was approaching the finish line, I remember thinking to myself that the pride and sense of accomplishment of running a marathon isn't something you feel every day, or really more than a few times in a lifetime, if that!”

Running a full marathon (26.2 miles) or a half marathon (13.1 miles) is a test of mental and physical strength. Running these races can give you unparalleled feelings of accomplishment and pride. But let’s face it – running a marathon can also be incredibly intimidating and scary! What is training and competing in one really like? We talked to real collegiettes who have participated in both full and half marathons to find out their stories, experiences, and struggles. If you’ve ever wanted to run a marathon, read on for these girls’ awesome advice.


Pick a Training Plan

Kathleen, a collegiette from James Madison University, ran five half marathons in high school and one full marathon in college. Her main piece of advice is to “follow some kind of training plan, even if it's not to a T.” She explains, “it gives you something to guide you towards your end result and that is incredibly helpful when you're trying to balance other things.”

Kelsey, a marathoner from Boston College, also emphasizes training plans because they “ensure that newer runners don't over-train,” which can lead to exhaustion and injury.

The Dangers of Extreme Calorie Counting


“I cannot tell you how many collegiettes I know who will brag about how few calories they eat,” says Kelsey Mulvey, a junior at Boston University. “One friend told me she was sticking to a 700 a day calorie diet! If you're not meeting your nutritional needs, that's an issue!”

Kelsey is right – calorie counting is a method that many collegiettes use to diet and to maintain their current weights. Instead of simply eating without any knowledge or concern of the nutritional content of the food in front of her, a calorie counter will read labels and record her total caloric intake each day, limiting that intake to a specific number tailored to her weight loss or maintenance goal.

But while calorie counting can be a helpful tool in some respects, it can also be dangerous when taken too far. We need to consume a certain number of calories daily (for women this is generally a minimum of 1,200 but this depends on our age, size, and activity level) to carry out basic daily functions and simply survive. Cutting below this bare minimum can put physical and mental health at serious risk.

Since monitoring calories is such a common practice amongst collegiettes, we want to determine when, how, and why calorie counting stops being healthy and becomes extreme, obsessive, and destructive.

What is a Calorie?

The Most Common Post-Grad Freak-Outs (& How to Deal)


In the movie “Post-Grad,” Alexis Bledel rests her head in her hands as she yells at her boyfriend “This is not the way it’s supposed to go! You’re not supposed to come back when you’ve already left the nest. This whole post-graduation thing is not turning out the way I planned.” And while I’ve seen the movie before, it’s suddenly ringing much more truthfully as I enter the real world. Yes, collegiettes, I am now a post-grad, a post-collegiette, a college graduate, a real adult. And this new life comes with a lot of new worries. Luckily, most of these worries are universal, and even your mother probably felt the same way that you do now when she graduated all those years ago.

So, post-collegiettes, take a deep breath and I will too. Her Campus and Jenny Blake, a life coach and the author of the best-selling book Life After College, the Complete Guide to Getting What You Want and of the Life After College blog, are here to help us all.

“You have to expect that this time in your life will be a little bit of a rollercoaster,” says Blake. “For most people, college graduation is their first time without a prescribed template, so it takes time to adjust. It’s not easy but it can be a time of real growth!”

Blake is right. Now, there are no road maps to solve all of our problems, no rules to follow that will eliminate the worries and stresses we are currently experiencing. However, Blake and other recent grads have some advice about their experiences with post-grad freak-outs that may just help us out.

Freak-Out #1: I am going to lose touch with all of my friends

Why You Might Have Iron Deficiency Anemia (& How to Prevent It)


Sarah, a Boston College junior, began feeling chronically exhausted during her junior year of high school.

“My mom had to force me out of bed in the morning,” she said. “I would spend the entire morning eating sugar and drinking green tea, and by the time I got home around 2:30, I would eat another meal and sleep until dinner time. I had absolutely no energy, and had to force myself to do my homework. I was irritable, most likely due to my lack of sleep and energy deficiency. My doctor heard about my tiredness, saw the pallor in my face, noticed the dark rings under my eyes, and saw my chronically chapped skin, so he sent me to get blood tests done.”

Sarah’s doctor discovered that she had Iron Deficiency Anemia, also called IDA, which is a condition where a person has inadequate amounts of iron in their body. Iron is an essential component in hemoglobin, the oxygen carrying pigment in the blood. It is also a part of myoglobin, a component that helps the muscle cells store oxygen. Iron deficient people tire easily because their bodies cannot effectively synthesize fuel and are therefore starved for oxygen. About 20% of women, 50% of pregnant women and 3% of men are iron deficient.

Because so many young women are affected by IDA, Paula Martin, a registered dietitian who provides medical nutrition therapy at Carnegie Mellon, and Dr. Traci Brooks, the director of Adolescent Medicine Services at the Cambridge Health Alliance, have chimed in to give collegiettes some important information about how to identify and prevent Iron Deficiency Anemia.

What Causes Iron Deficiency Anemia?

A Beginner's Guide to The Pill


According to the Guttmacher Institute, an institute which specializes in sexual and reproductive health, 62% of the 62 million women in the United States aged 15–44 are currently using at least one method of contraception. The most common method used by teenagers and women in their 20s is the birth control pill, commonly known as the Pill.
Birth control pills can help us with everything from preventing pregnancy to eliminating acne and minimizing menstrual cramps. It’s important to remember, however, that there are also risks associated with these pills. Rozalyn Yannacone, a Registered Nurse Practitioner at Bucknell University who specializes in gynecological services, shares some advice on how to deal with the ups and downs of birth control.
Starting Your Birth Control

How to Make 10 On-the-Go Lunches With 20 Basic Ingredients


Is this the year that you’ve resolved to finally eat healthier and save your money instead of spending it? Packing your own lunches each day for work and school is both cheaper and healthier, and Her Campus is here to help inspire your culinary genius! This week, we’ve compiled a list of ten lunches that can all be made using twenty cheap ingredients. So grab a friend and head to the grocery store – healthy and delicious lunches await you! Bon Appétit! 
Your Shopping List:

Peanut Butter Honey Mayonnaise Mustard Unsweetened Greek Yogurt Olive Oil Granola Crackers Bread Lettuce Tomatoes Cucumbers Grapes Bananas Apples Cheddar Cheese Tuna Sliced Deli Salami Feta Cheese Sliced Deli Chicken

1. Fruity Peanut Butter Yogurt Dip
This yummy dip makes for a great snack and a fun lunch! If you like it with unsweetened Greek yogurt, try it with flavors like strawberry or raspberry too. It keeps well in your fridge for about a week, so make a big batch and take part of it to work or school in a little Tupperware container. It tastes great with bananas, apples, crackers and little pieces of bread!

1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1/2 cup natural runny peanut butter
1 Tablespoon honey
Fruit/crackers for dipping

Pick It or Skip It: Dining Hall Edition


Eating in your university’s dining hall may be a necessary part of college, but making healthy choices in the cafeteria can prove to be difficult for the health-conscious collegiette. After all, what’s a girl to do when she’s surrounded by hundreds of meal options in a buffet-style setting? In an effort to help you keep off that freshman fifteen (or even that sophomore, junior, or senior fifteen...), we’ve consulted with Kelly Klaczkiewicz, a registered dietitian, and compiled a list of the dining hall’s best and worst options to make choosing your meals a piece of cake (not literally!).


Pick It: Yogurt, Granola & Fruit
Grab a bowl of low-fat or Greek yogurt and add some granola. Try Kellogg’s Low Fat granola or Trader Joe’s granola if your dining hall offers it – many other brands can be high in calories. According to Livestrong’s diet & nutrition tips, the combination of six ounces of low-fat yogurt and a ¼ cup of granola weighs in at only approximately 240 calories. Plus, granola is high in fiber and protein, helps build muscles mass, and keeps the skin healthy, while yogurt contains healthy bacteria that keeps digestion moving smoothly. You can also add fresh fruit to the mix for a sweeter taste and a vitamin boost – one cup of blueberries contributes only 80 calories to your meal and gives you the added bonus of antioxidants, which can lower your risk of cancer and slow down the aging process!