Putting your well-being first should always be a priority

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Graphic by Fani Hsieh

In an effort not to sound like a broken record or an after school special harping about all the ways young adults don’t look after themselves, I’ll make it clear that I’m far from a beacon of health and balance.

The beginning of university is a lot to take in. It’s fun, stressful, there’s things to do every single day, people to meet, beer to drink, places to go to.

You’re overwhelmed and bombarded with a lot of information and a class schedule to follow before you’re even able to get your head above water and get a firm sense of your surroundings.

It’s incredibly easy to let the activities, commitments and desire to do everything you possibly can blur your sense of personal responsibility.

O-Week is exhausting no matter what stage of the university game you’re in. Frosh week is a wrecking ball of an activity list and whether you’re screaming your lungs out at a cheer off, moving into your first crappy apartment or boothing with clubs at the Get Involved Fair, it can be hard to block out all of the noise and focus on yourself.

Thankfully, we have resources available to us that can help more than binge-watching Netflix to avoid class and responsibilities —  and I say this from experience. No one is going to master everything at once and be a vision of health, but try not to let the excitement and stress overwhelm you.

Classes come up quicker than you’ll ever expect and it’s difficult to make that transition from non-stop fun to sitting in a three hour lecture trying to keep your eyes open.

That being said, don’t put your mental and physical health on the back burner because you feel the need to prove yourself to some frat boy and stay out later than you knew you had justifiable reason to when you had an 8:30 class the next morning.

Freshman 15 is a bullshit scare tactic and gendered restriction no matter how you look at it, so eating properly shouldn’t be for the sake of avoiding that tired out trope.

You shouldn’t live on carbs and cheese and forgo drinking water because you think you’re invincible.

The neglect you show to your overall health will eventually shine through and there are only so many nights at Phil’s that can distract you from that.

As corny and preachy as it may sound, realizing you’ve spiralled into an unhealthy pattern by reading week or exams isn’t exactly the ideal time to reach your turning point.

I believe in balancing the fun and social aspects of university with academics and extracurriculars, but that balance won’t happen overnight with no tangible effort.

Don’t think that secret breakdowns or screaming into your pillow moments are something to ignore if they’re more frequent than not.  Don’t allow your feelings to consume you if you’re not doing okay or struggling with everything that’s thrown at you.

The unfortunate thing about entering university is that no one really prepares you for it. All of the advice in the world won’t work for every person, because every person is different.

Pushing yourself outside of your comfort zone and getting out there to experience things is a positive thing, but not if it means you’re miserable or unhealthy in other ways because of it.

Thankfully, we have resources available to us that can help more than binge-watching Netflix to avoid class and responsibilities —  and I say this from experience. No one is going to master everything at once and be a vision of health, but try not to let the excitement and stress overwhelm you.

You don’t have to be the picture-perfect student you see grinning on promotional pamphlets, but you should allow yourself to find a system that works for you and makes you truly happy.

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