the mistakes we made in college
College. Some of the best years of your life and some of the worst years of your life. It is four years of intense personal development, and as I like to think of it, a way to “dip your toes” into the harsh pool of the real world. College challenges you to experience the unknown, while simultaneously forces you to work towards your chosen path, expecting you to already know the career you’re destined for. To me, that seems like a hell of a lot of pressure for an eighteen-year-old. Throw in some late nights and poor nutrition, and you’re headed for disaster.
The other day I was thinking about college and the habits of myself and my peers. Now that I am a personal trainer I can see where we all went wrong, but at the time our decisions seemed (mostly) rational. Every Tuesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday were “going-out” nights which always entailed alcohol and minimal sleep. Those next mornings never really seemed so bad (if only we all knew the magnitude of the hangovers we’d experience in the post-college years), so we’d regain our strength through the ingestion of coffee, Luna bars, english muffin pizzas, and Lean Pockets. Fruits and vegetables were for adults, who needed them?! It was this cycle, day in and day out, that all of us college-zombies with lingering teen acne knew entirely too well.
One thing I can’t really remember about my college years is actually drinking water. These days I am reliant on liters of water each day in order to feel my best, and I will notice my performance dragging if I have any sort of hydration deficit. How did I survive back then? Was I just functioning at a constant state of sub-par?
The most bizarre and alarming trend throughout college was the eating-disorder-as-the-norm frenzy. Everyone was lax their freshman year and gained the inevitable ten to fifteen pounds due to a steady diet of all-you-can-eat crap. Sophomore year was a whole new game–it was on. We learned from our mistakes and were obsessively committed to beat the bloat. As steward of the sorority I was in, my main responsibility was ordering the food supply for a roster of waif-like picky eaters, and boy, was it interesting. To these girls, 100-calorie packs of Oreos tossed into a 60-calorie vanilla yogurt made a perfect post-workout dinner. They poured barbecue sauce and ketchup on lettuce as a meal, and happily watched the weight melt off. Healthy, sustainable weight loss? I think not.
I’m sure college would have been much healthier of a time if I had incorporated vegetables into my life, took a multi-vitamin every day, and actually focused on hydrating myself. Now, in this time I did get introduced to a new best friend, tofu, so those four years weren’t entirely a wash. I’d love to know how college girls are these days–are they still making those same mistakes, or have they learned the ways to live healthfully? There’s no doubt that they are still pulling those late night booze-fests, but hopefully they’re balancing them out with some proper nutrition, exercise, and maybe even a stress-releasing yoga class!
photo credit: Ioshus Rocchio | Wikimedia Commons