Your body on: first week of classes

    Starting college is a huge adjustment. As a first-year student, the first week of Northwestern was fairly stressful between the (exciting!) chaos of Wildcat Welcome and the first week of classes.

    So how exactly did I react to the stress? Using biometrics and newer technologies like the Fitbit Charge 2, I can see how my body reacted during these types of situations.

    I used a Fitbit Charge 2 to measure my heart rate while I was in class during my first week. On the second day of wearing a Fitbit, I had my first quiz, and I wanted to see if my heart rate would change.


    Typically, my resting heart rate is somewhere around 90 beats per minute. The Mayo Clinic states that for adults, a normal heart rate can be anywhere from 60 to 100 beats per minute, so my heart rate is on the high end of the range.

    On the first day of wearing the Fitbit, I had classes throughout the day, and I was speed-walking from south to north campus to make it to my classes on time. The graph shows that my heart rate was continually fluctuating throughout the day, however, all the times my heart rate really peaked were during class.

    Fitbit Day One

    Photo by Sophia Lo / North by Northwestern

    The highest peak during day one, when my heart rate increased to around 140 beats per minute, was after I ran up a few flights of stairs. My heart rate was significantly lower during times when I was not in class.

    On day two of wearing the Fitbit, I had my first Latin quiz in the morning. Looking at the peak at 10 a.m. on both graphs, it appears that my heart rate was slightly higher on day two.

    Fitbit Day Two

    Photo by Sophia Lo / North by Northwestern

    Because the difference in heart rate between the two days is small, I can’t say for sure that my heart rate increased because of the stress of my quiz, but it is clear that a hectic schedule filled with classes does cause heart rate to increase. Over time, it is possible that my heart rate remains more consistent as I adjust to my new classes and schedule.

    But for now, I do know what calms me down. See the sudden drop in heart rate at the end of Day 1? That was when I was watching one of my favorite TV shows, Brooklyn 99.


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