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In Case of Emergency: Lay off the Pizza and Do a Squat

by Selin Odman

Rumored to be the best four years of your life, college will become a whirlwind of running from classes to meetings to labs to research. It is simple to lose sight of your health, since many of us feel like our bodies will just take care of everything. However, our mothers are no longer here to remind us to eat broccoli and swallow a daily multivitamin. It feels almost revolutionary to be able to eat pizza for breakfast, lunch and dinner. When our bodies finally give up and a fever starts to soar, we will wonder where we went wrong. Our expanding waistline seems ironic since we have most likely committed to a major related to health and preserving one’s well-being.

Close living quarters demand a strong immune system and well-nourished body, but gone are the days where we ate all five food groups. Luckily, the university predicted our weaning health and has prepared multiple resources for its students. Most of us will darken the doorstep of the Health Center at least once.

I encourage students to visit the Health Center frequently to take full advantage of its services. The Health Promotion Department provides many resources to help young adults take control of their nutrition. They have lists of fast and effortless recipes, as well as health assessments to help guide patients in the right direction.

Most importantly, they have a staff of qualified dieticians that we can confide in.  The word “dietician” may imply that patients will be coerced into a diet, but that could not be further from the truth. Personally, I have not had a positive experience counting calories or stepping on a scale every week. Instead, my dietician and I have opted for a more holistic process of discussing a healthy relationship with food and listening to my hunger.

Students quickly learn that Ramsey Center will be a building that they will either frequent or cautiously avoid. “Gym-timidation” is real and even more amplified by being surrounded by our peers. Try to keep in mind that there are dozens of other sweaty and miserable people there, and most eyes are focused on the ground, not on a specific person. If motivation is nowhere to be found, schedule workouts with a personal trainer. Having a trainer will push even the most passive trainee to stay on track and explore different workout techniques.

The drastic changes that college presents to students can feel overwhelming at times. This is where the Counseling and Psychiatric Services (CAPS) provides support. As with dieticians, counseling also carries a negative, but unnecessary stigma. CAPS provides a relaxed, non-judgemental space for students to confide in a professional psychiatrist. Forget the classic “lying in a sofa while someone asks me about my feelings” approach; appointments at CAPS are as comfortable as talking to a close friend.

I urge my peers to not overlook the resources that are at their disposal as a student at UGA. Doing some simple browsing around the Ramsey and Health Center websites will provide readers with more and options that fit a specific budget and lifestyle. Taking control of our health will allow us to thrive and succeed not only during our years at UGA, but throughout our life.