The Balancing Act by Gabrielle Rimmaudo












Gabrielle Rimmaudo is a second year graduate student at the University of South Florida. Her undergraduate degree is from George Mason University. Currently she serves as a graduate advisor in the Office of New Student Connections. As a big Disney enthusiast, her next half marathon is the Disney Wine & Dine Half in November with her dad. Gabrielle can be reached on Twitter at @gfrimmaudo or check out her blog,!


Prior to starting graduate school I had never been the most healthy or active individual. I would lose weight whenever I would go home for summer breaks, but would quickly gain it right back through late nights in the dining hall and the ridiculous amount of free pizza one could get on a college campus. I had always made excuses for myself that I had no time to work out, I was too tired or had something better to do. After graduation was over and I had moved back home for a few weeks, I realized I was not happy with myself, my diet and how I felt. I had made it a point that I needed to change my ways and commit to a healthier lifestyle.

I first started running with Couch to 5k and tracking what I was eating with My Fitness Pal. Both of these were working fantastically and the weight was coming off! I moved to Tampa, joined local running groups and made it a commitment. By the end of the summer I was starting to feel really great!

But then class started, I was working longer hours at my assistantship, the homework began and all of that “free time” was gone. I felt that I was falling into an old familiar habit. However through this all, I realized there are some keys to success that any graduate assistant can follow to ensure a healthy and happy lifestyle.


  1. Commit to something! I signed up for a half marathon with my roommate and cohort member that we completed in February. This was a great way to motivate one another and ensure that we kept active. It does not have to be as extreme as that, it could be playing intramural sports with your cohort members once a week!
  2. Utilize your campus resources. One great thing about being a graduate student, is many times you are still able to use the recreation facilities as it is part of your student fees. Use them! I have taken great pilates classes after a long day of work to decompress from the day. Also, if your campus has a nutritionist, be sure to utilize them! They can be a great resource.
  3. Love the Crockpot. Some days I would be out of my apartment for close to 12 hours. I would then have a bad tendency to pick up unhealthy food during a class break and then feel bad about it later on. With a crockpot, I have been able to make really healthy recipes I found from Pinterest and let them cook on low all day (all within a graduate student budget!). Nothing was better than coming home to a delicious home cooked and healthy meal. Not to mention I always had leftovers for the next day to bring to work. This will be the best investment you will ever make, you can easily find one for 20 dollars!
  4. Make smart choices! Those days that I was left on campus and needed to eat, it was important I thought about what I was going to eat. If I was going to have a slice of pizza from a program it would be one, not two or if I wanted something from the dining facilities I would always choose Subway as a better alternative. Everything in moderation is fine, just weigh out your options and explore nutritional values for on campus venues.
  5. Schedule YOU time. As a graduate student it is important you find time to yourself. One helpful tip is to write on your agenda, to do list, google calendar, is a block of time dedicated to YOU! What you do with this time whether it be yoga, a nice walk or meditation is up to you, but will help with your peace of mind and give you something to look forward to.


While I have not yet reached my optimum weight and health goals, I am continuing to do this everyday. I hope by continuing to eat healthy, run and make better choices so I can continue to  manage this in my last year of graduate school. I have committed to running two half marathons, two 10ks and other races mixed in their within the next 8 months. By having these deadlines, I am able to schedule in my time to commit to training for these races. It is truly a lifestyle change and a practice and that is the mentality I have committed to.


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