It’s that time of year on campus at Penn…No, not Autumn, nor pumpkin spice month, but on-campus recruiting.

OCR can be recognized by the seas of suits that replace the student body on campus. What are the common OCR pitfalls and how do you avoid them? Seniors and young adults recruiting for jobs, juniors seeking internships, and all people interested in healthy ways to manage stress, read on. 

Typical responses to OCR stress include reaching for unhealthy food, skipping workouts, and opting for extra late-night meals. 

Like many Whartonites, I’ve been OCRing since I was a sophomore. I’ve always been interested in health and nutrition and, now a senior, I have a few lessons to share. Ladies and gentlemen, these are the do’s and don’ts of staying healthy during OCR.

DO choose fuel for your body wisely.

salad, vegetable, spinach, herb, lettuce
Allison Walter

Consider lean proteins and non-starchy vegetables like green beans and cauliflower

DON'T reach for sugar and carbs

chocolate, sweet, cake, pastry
Sarah Pilger

Even when you hear them singing your name at 3 am. In fact, research shows that people have a harder time controlling urges when under stress.

What to do instead? Beware of stress eating and be mindful when making big decisions. Under stress, people are more likely to bear in mind rewards but overlook information that predict negative outcomes.

DO turn off screens.

coffee, tea, beer
Photo courtesy of

There are many benefits of unplugging 1-2 hours before you want to go to sleep. Make use of nighttime mode on your smartphone and computer using apps like Flux to limit your exposure to blue light to promote a healthy night’s sleep.

DON'T over caffein-ate.

ice, tea, cocktail, liquor, iced tea, juice
Rebecca Li

I’m not here to tell you how many milligrams of coffee is acceptable to consume each day—you know your body and what your normal intake is. Make wise decisions.

DO caffein-ate appropriately.

tea, coffee, espresso, black tea, cappuccino
Jocelyn Hsu

...With low or no sugar added. Coffee is back in nutritionists' favor due to its anti-cancer properties—among many other benefits. Green tea is another fantastic option; its health benefits include reduced risk for heart disease, lower levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol, and halted oxidative damage to cells.

Can’t decide between coffee and tea? Don't worry, they both come out far ahead of energy drinks. You can't make a bad choice. 

DO eat peppermints.

candy, peppermint, jelly, sweet
Aly Forman

Studies show they increase focus and alertness. Plus they give you minty fresh breath. Win-win, right?

DON'T eat late at night.

pizza, pepperoni, dough, crust, sauce, mozzarella, cheese
Emily Waples

According to scientific research, eating late at night contributes to weight gain, throws off your circadian rhythm, and can lead to acid reflux. I cannot justify late night eats; it never increases my productivity. I’m better off just going to sleep, and you'll be as well.

DO exercise.

Exercise! Yes, you really can spare 20 minutes per day. The endorphins are worth it alone, not to mention the clear and calm mental state you can find post-yoga. I feel best and am more productive all day long if I swim for an hour, but on the busiest of days, even a 20-minute walk helps.

I know walking sounds lame—and I applaud the real athletes in the room—but for the rest of us…Facetime a friend, turn on Spotify (or maybe Pokémon GO) and get moving.

You can do it! Good luck out there, and go get employed.