College is a time of new experiences. Most of us are going to our first parties, joining sororities, taking challenging classes, and making a completely new friend group. This can all be really exciting. However, college is also a time where many of us neglect what is most important: our health.
Too often I see students around my campus drowning themselves in alcohol every night. They go out and practically kill their livers all for a few hours of drunken "fun." In this process they are typically out until the early hours of the morning, stumbling into their dorms or apartments at 3 a.m. With class the next day (most days of the week), they only get a few hours of sleep.
Sleep deprivation causes decreased concentration in classes, increased headaches (and any other body aches), and failing digestive and immune systems. Next, I see these same students piling their plates with greasy foods and junk in the dining halls. When alcohol and sleep deprivation are already issues, the body would rather run off of sugary foods and beverages. With the body being exhausted and running off of booze and sugar, of course, many are not going to want to hit the gym, or go for a walk, or endure any form of exercise whatsoever.
Now, I am by no means trying to imply that alcohol always leads to sleep deprivation and poor eating habits and not exercising or taking care of our bodies. However, all these habits by college students seem to be a trend and seem to be a cycle.
I see this cycle affect women more than men in college. At least in my personal experience. If you are like me, a female college student, who has decided that her health is most important in college, then kudos to you.
I am here to tell you that it is truly admirable to decide not to drink in college. Deciding to stay in and get some sleep instead of partying is probably the smartest decision you can make. Heading to the gym instead of going to the bars or laying in bed for five hours watching Netflix is a way to release the stresses of school and life in a healthy manner. Choosing a salad or some fruit with your meal instead of piling your plate with pizza and fries is a way to say thank you to your body for getting you through each day.
In no way am I saying that eating pizza and sleeping in and laying in bed are bad things. Going to the bars is fun and partying is great. However, as the cycle I mentioned previously starts to become the norm, these habits can be very bad for your health.
I applaud you for wanting to stay healthy during college. It is so important and helps us succeed academically and in every aspect in our lives.
So, keep up the good work. Get that exercise in, keep eating your fruits and veggies, and continue getting proper sleep as best as you can.
And for anybody reading this who believes they may be stuck in the unhealthy cycle many college students are in, I know you can break it.
College students, stay healthy. Your body will thank you for it in the future.