College: the worst one week of my life. For this week’s Flip or Flop, I went to the University of Florida for their Summer Journalism Institute. Do not get me wrong, I love journalism. In fact, the classes were the best part. Rather, the college experience itself was… not what I expected.
As a picky eater and someone who naturally dislikes food, let me just say, college food tastes terrible. I ate cereal half of the time and the other half I simply did not eat. This is not a hyperbole; I would get immersed in creating our camp’s magazine’s pages and immediately forget about life’s necessities. Not only did I not eat, but I did not sleep much either. This was both voluntary (I am a night owl) and involuntary (the beds were made with the elegance of cardboard). With a planned schedule (a.k.a. morning classes), life was unbearable. Before going to “college” I would go to sleep at 5:00 am and wake up at 2:00 pm. Now, I had to eat breakfast before 9:00 am.
Soon enough, these bad decisions began to catch up to me. I felt weak. I became antisocial. My stomach hurt. My head hurt. My heart hurt. I was alone. Yet, I could not be further from the truth. Every day the nicest people came up to me to strike conversation. However, due to my hunger and sleep deprivation, I was blind to their kindness.
Luckily, one day near the end of the week I had a “deep” FaceTime with my parents. They saw right through me and unlike our other FaceTimes earlier that week, they were able to give me some basic advice.
“Eat and sleep!”
I took their advice, and all I can say is “wow.” All aspects of college were suddenly 100 times better. I suddenly was able to make friends. I did not blink wearily through lecture hall. I could look at the grass and not frown, quite a feat compared to my previous days. I wish I took care of my health sooner so the whole week could feel as lively as my last days. Moral of the week? Take care of yourself so you can enjoy your life. Self care is a real thing that everyone deserves.
“College” ended up being impactful on my view of health and the world. My program picked insightful speakers each night, I always knew no matter how few hours I slept that I would leave lecture halls changed. There are a million tips I could share but let’s keep it simple. Take care of yourself. Pay attention and smile. College can be the best days of your life, but only if you take charge of your life.