I am a college student (well, I will be for the next two weeks). I work hard and I achieve grades that count. But college has been pretty easy for me. In fact, I say this all the time: school is a skill that I have. I can pass a class pretty easily. Will I work hard? Yes, but I’m not one for all-nighters because I love my sleep. Aside from being a college student, I’m also a student worker at my school’s campus visit office. This means that every week, I’m talking with kids from elementary to high school about my college and college in general. Visitors often ask me what my biggest adjustment was in the transition between high school and university. Normally, I insist that my time management skills made the largest change. Looking back on it, I earnestly think that staying healthy during college was the biggest adjustment that I had to make.
A lot of students idealize college as a big ball of freedom. In a sense, it is...but with freedom comes responsibility. Unless you play sports or are part of some other organization that requires you to be active, you’re pretty much on your own as far as exercise goes. In high school, I didn’t even know that I was in shape because I just saw color guard as color guard. Performing an 8 minute show over and over again tired me out, but I never gave it much thought. Once I got to college, I didn’t have my color guard director nor my choreographer to shove certain moves down my throat. As I became increasingly sedentary, I started to lose my muscle.
On top of losing muscle mass, my food intake was low and of poor quality. I ate out so much during my first year of college that the thought of my eating habits sickens me to this day. Now, I’m very particular about where I eat out; I treat it as a special occasion and I savour it. Needless to say, I gained the freshman 15 and then some. I thought that if my stomach wasn’t flapped over my pants’ waistline, then I was okay. As I started to look at my body, my stomach wasn’t flapped over but it was starting to jut out.
I embraced an active lifestyle with a lot of hard work and determination. I will say that a huge wake up call for me came during Christmas this past year. I was wearing a black dress and as I was walking down the stairs, my mother-in-law said, “You’re not pregnant are you?” That was my a-ha moment. I knew that change must happen.
If you’re in college and you’re eating ALL the ramen and doing no kind of exercise, stop right now. The earlier you start to make a change, the better off you’ll be. Staying healthy during college isn't easy, trust me. But if you really want it, you’ll find a way to make it work.