Place health before school and work, take care of yourself

September 26, 2016

Anne Stewart

astewart@uccs.edu

     Last Saturday I took a walk. It was just for fun; for my sanity really. It was two hours I needed away from my desk, books, notes and laptop. I needed fresh air and a change of scenery.

     But with each step I could hear my to-do list running through my mind. I was preoccupied, thinking about the work I needed to get back to, going through my mental list, repeating it over and over. I felt guilty; how could I waste my time when I should be writing papers and reading textbooks?

     In the time students take to earn their degrees, it seems like there is a subconscious agreement to choose a lifestyle in which we prioritize working and studying, but not much else.

     Since school started, everything in my life has been non-stop. I sleep when I can. I scarf meals between classes.

     I abuse caffeine. Every minute is full. I love what I do, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.

     No one forces students to live this way, but what choice do we really have?

     We have to get good grades and pay the bills. We have to choose between a good GPA and a social life, and somehow get enough sleep.

     We can only choose one or two of those. We can only choose one or two of those, and the rest is sacrifice. It seems like having a healthy, balanced lifestyle is entirely impossible.

     But students hear it in more cliché ways than one: Balance is key, variety is the spice of life and don’t forget to stop and smell the roses.

     I choose to believe that I am allowed to take care of myself. Not every student needs to be overwhelmed to the point of chronic sickness in college.

     When you feel like you need to sleep, go to bed instead of cramming for that upcoming test until all hours of the night; honor your body and your mind. If you have been studying and working all week, spend one night and go out for dinner with friends. Reward yourself.

     You are working hard to become the person you’d like to be, and you do work you are passionate about. That is noteworthy, and we are all lucky to get to do so in this setting at UCCS. There is so much to look forward to.

     But we also shouldn’t lose the value of the present moment.

     Good grades are important; so is a social life. Don’t forget to put aside time for yourself. Go on walks if your brain needs to rest.

     Don’t sacrifice hours of sleep when your body needs it. Allow yourself to pause. In this whirlwind that is college, we should make a point to enjoy it.