Hey everyone it’s Sebastian!
In high school and throughout my entire childhood I lived a very healthy lifestyle. My mother and father raised me without processed foods, sodas, candies, and unnecessary carbs. I used to go to pre-school with a packed lunch consisting of smoked salmon and seaweed. I was cool. Organic was the “in” thing with my parents before it was socially acceptable. Those crazy hippies!
As I got older I became very interested in not just eating healthy but also my physical fitness. I would jog, sprint, run the steep hills of Naugatuck, do P90X, Insanity, and lift weights at the gym. On my rest days I would do Zumba. As the days got closer to college I realized that I could not do my DVD workouts in a small dorm room. I also did not know if there was going to be any healthy food for me at UConn. This was my main source of anxiety; believe it or not, I did not want to become unhealthy. The rumor was (even the guidance counselors in my school perpetuated this myth) that when in college you gain fifteen pounds your first year, the infamous freshmen fifteen. I thought that I would not have time and the necessary space and resources to stay healthy… I was destined to an inevitable annihilation of my health, all facets: mind, body, and soul.
With eight dining halls, all buffet style, it seemed that I was destined for cankles. At first I did eat like Miss Piggy whenever she’d get in a fight with Kermit, everything in sight was up for grabs.
I gorged on all the wonderful food UConn has to offer. I did finally acclimate to this buffet concept and slowly started going back to my healthy ways. I realized that every dining hall has a salad bar, which I find as an invaluable source of healthy foods. Garbanzos, bean salads, spinach, and even steamed quinoa are some of the very healthy choices offered at the salad bars. I learned that UConn dining halls are themed and my best friend became Whitney which offers organic and local grown foods that taste delicious! Eating healthy at UConn is a choice and it takes discipline to eat in moderation and avoid certain foods. It was indeed possible to eat healthy at UConn, everything I needed was here it was up to me to make the right choices. But what about exercise?
As soon as I arrived at UConn I wanted to check out the gym. I was going to have a three-day head start in working out because Hurricane Irene cancelled classes. It also cancelled the gym. Oh well! Eventually I did become very familiar with the Student Recreation Center and all it had to offer: I played badminton, used the rowing machines, lifted weights, and climbed our rock climbing wall.
I soon learned about different jogging routes and the availability of the indoor and out door tracks. Finding out about Bodywise was perhaps the best thing that ever happened to me. My favorite class was Zumba and the best part – it was for free. Although my room was indeed too small to do my Insanity videos I eventually solved this problem. I got a group of kids in my learning community to do my workout videos in our elevator lounge! It was a success and now I had people to laugh and work out with!
Ironically staying physically fit and eating well, my biggest worries, were actually turned out not be issues. My biggest challenge was in a completely different area of life. The combination of socializing too much, not managing my time as well as I did in high school, cramming for tests, problems in life that arose that were out of my control, and the resulting lack of sleep nearly drove me insane. I felt dead and unhappy. I realized that I had to take care of the “person inside me”. I realized that in college I had stopped doing things that I had enjoyed my whole life. I had stopped writing creatively, playing the guitar, reading for pleasure, and I stopped mediating which is how I control my anxiety. I had to re-center and this I did.
I started paying attention to my wants and needs, I began to journal again which is my main way of venting out my frustrations and analyzing my emotional state. Taking a Poetry class (Enlgish 2401) rejuvenated my passion for writing and desire to express my inner self via a creative outlet. The real Sebastian was no longer dormant!
One of the main culprits in my hiatus from happiness was not being able to manage my time. If this is the case and if you think you need help contact the Academic Achievement Center. If you feel that you are having trouble in your life and need professional guidance you should contact Counseling and Mental Health Services.
Remember, being healthy doesn’t mean you’re able to fit into your bikini/swim shorts. Being truly healthy is being balanced, in the many areas of life. Staying healthy is a multifaceted process that requires determination. I struggled for a bit at UConn since it was a different environment, fortunately I figured out how to adapt before there were any serious repercussions. Staying healthy is hard work but UConn offers all the resources you need to stay healthy-emotionally, physically, mentally, and even spiritually. Do me a favor: put yourself first and always love yourself!