Curtesy of Kushagra Kar
Not many people can balance the stresses of being a college student and co-Editor-in-Chief of Oberlin’s newspaper of record — unless you’re rising College third-year Kushagra Kar. This week we speak with Editor-in-Chief Kar on how he finds time for wellness in between classes and publishing a newspaper every week.
This interview has been edited for length and clarity
How important would you say health, wellness, and fitness are in your life?
Wellness is top priority for me — being mentally and physically in tune with the things that I need to be doing. This looks like being able to do my classes properly and being able to live my life the way I want to, a lot of which is tied to wellness and the ways that I interact with people. Health is also important, including eating healthy and taking care of myself, but both health and fitness tend to take a bit of a backseat because there’s a lot of other stuff going on. Because of this, the workouts that I do are more focused on mental wellness. Health, wellness, and fitness are a very different set of priorities for different people, but it is important to figure out something that gives you peace.
What does working out look like for you?
I was a competitive swimmer for six years. In high school, I was a long-distance swimmer and I still do recreational swimming at Oberlin. I start with some light freestyle and then transition to 400 meters per set for three sets in about an hour. It’s calming and comfortable.
What do you enjoy about swimming?
Swimming, for me, is a way to unwind. In high school, I trained to be a lifeguard which introduced me to swimming as a tool for survival — to help people — and just a way to unwind and have fun in the water. During the day, I can take time off and go for a swim which calms me down.
How do you manage the stress of being a student and Editor-in-Chief of the Review?
They’re both intense time commitments. As a student, you have a dozen assignments, and everything needs to be done. The Review is similar to that, and we’re working on extremely tight deadlines. Between everything that I have to do, it’s really important for me to take moments of time for myself. That’s what I find really fun about swimming; it helps me unwind, because it’s a dedicated set of movements. You’re kicking and pulling and turning your head to breathe; you get into a flow. My mother is big on meditation, and that’s how I feel when I’m swimming. It pulls me away from the daily stress, because at that moment my top priority is to just breathe.
What advice would you give to students who are struggling to make time for themselves?
It’s difficult, because I also struggle with time management. That being said, I have a clear understanding of what my priorities are in a day. If I have two assignments due tomorrow and the paper needs to come out on Friday, I balance it by writing half of my article today, and then setting it aside to work on my assignments. Somewhere in the middle of my work I like to take 20-minute breaks where I leave my work and get some space from whatever I’m working on. When I return from my break, I’m in a different headspace which allows me to approach what I’m working on in a different way. It not only improves the quality of my work, but it also makes me work faster in a given amount of time.