UConn’s Insider Guide to Living Your Best Life

chess-webBy: Julie Stagis ’10 (BUS, CLAS); illustrations by Chris Carter ’13 (SFA)

What are the secrets to success? How can you make the most of every day? Whether you’ve long wished you were more creative or have always wondered how to land your dream job, our UConn-inspired how-to handbook will offer you valuable insight into some of life’s burning questions.

We’ve rounded up a selection of UConn alumni, faculty, and current students — from a NASA chief scientist to an up-and-coming beer brewer — to share their practical advice on how you can live your own best life.

How to Win a Chess Match

Alexander Fikiet ’16 (CLAS) has earned the title of Life Master from the United States Chess Federation by being rated upwards of 2,200 in more than 300 USCF-rated chess tournament games. Secretary of the UConn Chess Club, Fikiet says patience is the key to winning.

“Whenever I play a game, I am sure to take into account my opponent’s ideas and actions first, and adjust my play towards that,” Fikiet says. “I want the game to be as safe as possible, and only then do I want to take action toward winning.”

workout-web-983x1024Fikiet says he enters each match with a broad plan, which he tweaks as he goes to avoid his competitor’s tricks and traps.

“Finally, if I feel that I have a winning advantage, I generally triple-check my next moves in order to make sure I don’t make a mistake,” he says. “Converting a winning advantage into a win against a good player is probably the most difficult part of chess.”

How To Find Your Ideal Workout

Despite what late-night infomercials might claim, there is no “best exercise” out there, according to Linda Pescatello ’77 (CLAS), ’81 MS, ’86 Ph.D., Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor of Kinesiology.

“The best exercise would be the exercise you continue with,” Pescatello says. “The rule of thumb is: Something is better than nothing. Getting out of the chair is big.”

American College of Sports Medicine guidelines for quantity and quality exercise – edited by Pescatello and considered the gold standard for exercise professionals – essentially amount to an hour of exercise daily, something that is hard for even some of the fittest people to achieve, Pescatello says.

Consider what activities you enjoy, as well as your goals (whether it’s weight loss, maintenance, or muscle toning) and what time of day you are most willing to exercise to find the right program, she says. “You have to look at those things around you that are going to set you up for success.”

Excerpts courtesy of UConn Magazine

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