For a lot of students, university is the first time they really leave home and become independent. It may be hard to juggle academics, extracurricular activities, chores and a healthy lifestyle. Health is often the first thing people sacrifice, leading to some questionable eating habits.
We need food to stay alive, yet even fulfilling this need can seem incredibly difficult when piled on top of a scary workload. For me, it is difficult to stay on top of taking care of myself. I often yo-yo between stress-eating and forgetting to eat. For some people, these habits may develop into a more serious eating disorder.
Another illustration of the stress culture on campus is indicated by the popular question: “How much sleep did you get last night?” Students can often be found bragging about how little sleep they got, and even trying to compete with one another, as if losing sleep is a trophy.
Unfortunately, a heavy, almost impossible, schedule seems to be the norm here, and a person who is taking fewer courses or getting more sleep is often seen as “not doing enough”.
It was difficult for me to understand that university is more than just studying hard and getting as involved as possible – living independently for the first time has forced me to re-evaluate my life choices and time-management skills. I finally realised that university is also about learning how to live on your own and being able to take care of yourself.
Going to a high-stress university really reinforces the importance of wellness and self-care, even though it is often forgotten. A lot of universities encourage a culture of wellness on campus and offer counselling services to students. Make sure you use the resources your campus offers and reach out to staff and other adults in times of need.