Tag Archive: Advice


Eating Disorders Awareness Week

This is for all the people who have ever looked in a mirror and listed off numerous flaws with their bodies.  This is for every person who strongly believes he or she is not good enough.  This is for anyone who feels that the world would be better off without his or her body “taking up space.” This is for me and for you and for everyone else who does not believe they are perfect enough.

We live in a society that pushes perfectionism, and an extreme perfectionism at that.  For women, the ideal beauty is a thin but curvy frame.  For men, their ideal figure is strong, masculine and tan.

The South Carolina Department of Mental Health estimates 8 million Americans (7 million women and 1 million men) suffer from some form of an eating disorder.  From anorexia nervosa to bulimia to binge eating disorders, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any mental disorder. Despite popular belief, eating disorders are about more than just the desire to be thin.   They are an all-encompassing illness that stems from low self-esteem and the desire to be perfect.

It is a heartbreaking disorder, one that some people don’t understand unless they have been personally affected.  As someone who suffers from an eating disorder, I have experienced the consuming cycle of eating and not eating as I try to achieve perfectionism. I have lost friends during my battle, and I have lost time. I have skipped parties because I was concerned with either not eating anything or eating everything in sight.  So much energy and time have been wasted over the past five years.

National Eating Disorder Awareness Week starts today, February 20, and goes on through February 26.  It is a time for light to be shed on an mental disorder that many people do not fully understand.

A few events are being held this week at UNC.  The movie Thin, a documentary about eating disorders, will be shown in Room 3411 at the Student Union tonight at 5:30 P.M.  Viewers will also be able to ask Dr Anna-Bardone Cone, a UNC psychology professor specializing in eating disorder research, questions.

On Monday, February 21, McAllister’s Deli on Franklin Street will donate 10% of its revenue from 5 P.M. to 9 P.M. to Carolina House, an eating disorder treatment center located in Durham.  Make sure to print off the flyer. Interactive Theatre Carolina will also be performing skits on eating disorders in the Union Cabaret on Tuesday, February 22, from 6 P.M. to 8 P.M.

Even after Tuesday, bringing awareness to eating disorders should not end.  If you have friends who are suffering, let them know that you are there for them. And if they don’t have treatment, help them find it.

If you are currently suffering, please seek help.  There are people out there that care for your well-being.  Even I am here to help support you, so don’t be afraid to contact me.  I have been in your shoes, and I still am.

There is one last thing I want to leave.  You are beautiful or you are handsome just the way you are.  You have been shaped into the way you were meant to be. You were given a unique body and your own mind.  Perfectionism is just an idea. It is never tangible.  Accept yourself and others for who they are, and remember that imperfections are what is truly perfect.

-Hillary Rose Owens

Sources:

National Eating Disorders

Mirasol

Something Fishy

Facebook Event for Eating Disorders Awareness Week

Fitness Lines

I readily admit that I have always been one of the more dubious, skeptical types when it came to Valentine’s Day. I never quite understood the thought process behind such trivial and often, frivolous gestures for expressing love. However, a recent conversation with a friend of mine deeply challenged my views on Valentine’s Day. He shared with me that in other languages, there existed nearly forty ways of expressing the word, love, while for us English speakers, we were left with only one word. A thought then dawned upon me: I began wondering about how limited and narrow our perception and definition of love must be with only one word to represent all the various types and manifestations love can take. I propose for a more diverse and open interpretation to the many forms of love.

I am sure that I have not been the first to point out the limitations of using only one word to express love. I propose that rather than view Valentine’s Day from such a narrow definition of love, we instead take this opportunity to celebrate all the wonderful ways of expressing love. Whether that love be the nostalgia of one’s first crush to cherishing the company of good friends to treating yourself out to a manicure, take this Valentine’s Day as an opportunity to celebrate the infinite facets of an emotion that goes beyond our one word for expressing love.

As an individual who identifies as gay, I know that I will allow myself, for the first time, to celebrate the nostalgia of my very first crush and how wonderful it felt. The word love in its traditional meaning evokes too strong of an emotion that cannot adequately express how much I enjoyed having my first crush on a guy, and I cannot help but use this Valentine’s Day as a moment to contemplate the wonder behind the feelings of how real and affirming it felt. Who knew how empowering celebrating Valentine’s Day could be? I know that for me it will be a celebration of the deep friendships that I have developed over the course of my college journey as well as how far I have come towards loving myself. For Valentine’s Day, I hope that each of you will find something worth celebrating for-I challenge each of you to expand the definition of love beyond the traditional sense to all the many shapes and forms it can take. Happy Valentine’s Day!

-Michael Lau

Getting Organized

As I flip through the TV channels on mute and listen to the clock tick quickly, I’m struck by the chaos that I’m living in.  Clothes, books and loose papers are strewn across my unmade bed.  My backpack is stuffed with crumpled-up handouts, notes and newspapers.  Although I’ve made it to each class today, I have no idea what my assignments entail for this week.

It’s time for some (early) spring cleaning.

If a messy, disorderly room is making you equally stressed out, look no further.  There are plenty of easy ways to get yourself – and your life – organized in mere minutes.

Get a planner or Google calendar. I literally can’t imagine how I’d function without my planner.  It contains every detail of my packed schedule, from classes to meetings to cocktails.    There’s nothing worse than forgetting about a club meeting, coffee date or deadline.  Putting commitments in writing, whether they’re required or with friends, will prevent you from realizing when you have to be somewhere across campus and have only five minutes to get there.

Organize your coursework. For the past few weeks of class, I’ve been taking notes for all seven of my classes on whatever paper I’ve had on hand.  My Spanish notes are in the same notebook as those from Political Science, and who knows where my News Writing notes have gone.  This system may work for a while, but when midterms roll around, it will be nearly impossible to compile all notes, papers and old quizzes. It’s essential to have a separate notebook and/or binder for each class.  You’ll be so much happier come exam time when cramming in Davis is as simple as opening a notebook and buckling down.  Though it may not be the most appealing pastime, it sounds much more appealing than riffling through knee-high stacks of papers in desperate search of the first weeks’ notes and your (unopened?) textbook.

Keep things neat. Studies have shown that it’s easier to get work done in tidy spaces.  Messes are distracting, stressful and all-around unpleasant.  Taking a few minutes to make your bed, hang up clothes and organize your desk can make studying so much more comfortable and relaxing. This applies to your computer, too.  Clean out and organize your inbox.  It will keep you from losing track of e-mails you were supposed to respond to but forgot about.  As mind-numbing as it sounds, it will help out in the long run.

Make a schedule and stick to it. It’s so easy to put off a night’s readings to hang out with friends, watch TV or catch up on sleep.  But when this happens repeatedly, you’ll find yourself hundreds of pages behind in multiple classes with one night before a test. Set goals for each day, even if it means getting up a few minutes early to read some extra pages.  It will make life so much less stressful.  Plus, you’ll be less embarrassed when the professor asks you a question in class and you can actually answer it.

Getting organized is easier than you’d think.  I just bought notebooks and binders at Student Stores.  Tonight I’m going to print out my syllabi, write down my assignments for this week and catch up on the reading I haven’t done.

…Or maybe I’ll put that off to another night.

-Georgia Cavanaugh

Resolutions 101

2011 is here. We are over halfway through January….have you made a New Year’s Resolution yet?  Or are you still trying to think of a goal that you can, well, actually commit to? Making a resolution is hard, and sticking to it is even harder, especially for a college student. Personally, I love New Year’s resolutions. What better way to begin a brand new year than with a newfound determination to improve yourself for the better as a person?

I’ve listed five steps that I’ve used for the past few years that are guaranteed to help you choose a resolution that is both bold and possible.

1) Want V.S. Need…or Want & Need? Make a resolution that is both pragmatic and desirable. If you want to start jogging at 7am in the morning but you aren’t a morning person, then what’s the point? Morning exercise is ideal, of course, but if you don’t like getting up early then maybe nighttime bike rides are better. Make a plan to do homework in between classes instead of waiting until after dinner, and then your evening will be free! The best resolution gives you material benefits as well as personal happiness. Besides, you’ll be much more likely to stick with a goal that you personally enjoy working towards as opposed to a goal that you don’t.

2) Be Realistic. You want to lose thirty pounds, eat all organic foods, and learn to cook in a single year? My dear friend, although I admire your fervor, it takes a lot of work to do each of those things…either you’ll have a mental breakdown by August from trying to do everything at once, or you’ll lose steam. Fast. Your resolution needs to be realistic and attainable. Why not aim to just lose ten pounds? If you’re feeling particularly bold or motivated, you could tie cooking to your weight loss resolution and work towards cooking on the weekends instead of eating processed foods or take-out, which already cuts your calories by a lot if you learn to ditch the butter and oil. Bottom line is, don’t get too greedy with your goals without considering the work that must be done to reach them.

3) Be Specific. If you decide to “be healthier,” what exactly does that mean? Do you want to lose weight, start a daily exercise routine, eat organic food, or what? You can take action in so many different ways in order to “be healthier,” but if you try to focus on too many smaller goals you will lose sight of everything because it will simply be too much.

4) Make a Plan. Let’s say your goal for 2011 is to “avoid procrastination by doing your work when you say you will.” After a while, though, it’s way too easy to simply…give up. Facebook, Twitter, and CNN News are calling to you. By using month-by-month progress checks, you can make sure that you stick with your resolution. For each month, add a new mini goal to your resolution. For instance, in January you may start out easy by simply telling yourself to do work when you get tired of procrastinating (yes, that’s possible). Then, by February, perhaps you’ll create a daily schedule to list what hours to do homework and what hours to surf the ‘Net. Each small step will slowly become a habit.

5) Share It. There’s nothing better than sharing your resolution with a good friend who has a similar goal in mind. It’s best if your friend has a resolution that is slightly different from yours; otherwise, a friendly partnership may become a major competition. What’s great about working towards a resolution together is that you’re able to provide each other with healthy doses of moral support, constant motivation, and positive peer pressure. Plus, it will bring your friendship up to a whole new level that is even more meaningful and enjoyable than it was before.

-Wendy Lu

Eight things to do while you’re a freshman

Freshman year gets mixed reviews: some people cannot wait for it to be over, so that they are no longer the lowest on the totem pole. Other people, like me, would stay freshmen forever, because who really wants to graduate anyway? Here are eight simple things to do your freshman year to ensure that you never want to leave:

1. Ride the P2P as many times as possible.
Even if you don’t have a destination, the P2P is ALWAYS a party.
2. Go to games other than basketball and football.
UNC-CH has a lot of good sports—try checking out soccer, lacrosse, baseball, and (my personal favorite) field hockey.
3. Get involved.
If a club or organization sounds even mildly interesting to you, give it a shot. The more organizations you join, the more people you are bound to meet.
4. Love basketball.
If you don’t already of course. I came to Chapel Hill having never watched a basketball game in its entirety. Now, if I miss the first five minutes of a game it is as if the world is ending.
5. Live on South Campus.
After all, it is the freshman experience.
6. Take a first-year seminar.
These classes are generally pretty easy and pretty interesting.
7. Hang out in the quad.
UNC-CH really feels like a community when the weather is warm and everyone is outside in the quad. Bring a Frisbee to play with or a blanket to sit on and just enjoy being in Chapel Hill.
8. RELAX.

By Rachel Scall

Registration?!?

In general, CTOPS is pretty simple—meet some new friends, fill out some paperwork, etc. And then there’s registering for classes. I remember how lost I was when I had to register for the first time, so here are some pointers for all you incoming first years:

1. Don’t expect to get every class you want. Unfortunately, you are in fact first years, and you are also the last class to register for Fall ’08. This means you may be stuck with an 8 a.m. Spanish class and a math class that you detest, but just remember: next year you get to register before a whole new class.

2. Make a LONG list of classes you may want to take. You don’t want to be desperately searching for classes at the last minute just to get your required 12 hours.

3. If you’re not so sure about what you’ve picked out, remember that there is a drop/add period before classes actually begin.

4. Take a first year seminar—the workloads are generally not bad, and the classes themselves are usually very interesting.

5. Don’t be afraid of registering for a class just because you heard it was hard. A lot of times people exaggerate and certain classes pick up bad reputations. If a class looks interesting to you, don’t shy away from it because you heard it requires writing a few papers; it is better to be interested in what you are learning than bored to tears.

Good luck!

By Rachel Scall

What are you going to do with your life?

A couple of weeks ago, thanks to the University Career Services Strong Interest Inventory, a friend of mine discovered that her true calling lies in floristry. After an hour devoted to the online survey, her career path was laid out before her.

When I first heard about the survey, I too was intrigued. Who wouldn’t want some insight into what to do with the rest of their lives? I lost faith, though, when my roommate, interested in PR, also found ‘florist’ near the top of her career list. An hour with a palm reader could have yielded similar results for a girl who would go stir crazy working among carnations day after day. Maybe the consumer demand for flower arrangements is growing or maybe it’s just a coincidence, but I decided to take my career choices into my own hands.

Which leads me to the inspiration for this post. It’s almost time to register for classes again. While on campus showers and warm wind barely hint of coming spring, we must dust off the faithful undergraduate bulletin and think about our futures. Registering for classes leads us to consider the “foundations” and “approaches” to a solid undergraduate education, to reflect on possible majors, and to imagine our futures beyond college. What major would lead to an occupation, a paycheck and preferably something we would enjoy? It’s enough to make any undergraduate shudder and yearn for the days when the day’s biggest dilemma was what to pack in a brown lunch sack.

Facing reality, and the fact that our working age lives are on the near horizon, we try to narrow down our interests by tossing ideas around in our heads and with family members, professors, and friends. We test drive our options in psychology classes or internships at the UNC hospitals. We daydream in class as Professor Byrns warns weekly that failing to pass Econ will leave us asking for spare change on Franklin Street. We deliberate on whether nine to five in a cubicle would really be so bad, and we dream about the ideal job where we would be paid to do exactly what we love.

But maybe I’m on the right track and maybe we all are. Sometimes it doesn’t feel that way when I’m filling out every academic worksheet that catches my fancy and I meet someone who has known since grade school what they want to do with their lives. It makes me want to escape formalized education that forces me to chart every step of my life, when I hesitate on the choice of what to eat for lunch. It’s enough to make me want to quit school and embark into the wild, or jump on Ken Kesey’s hippie bus and ride across the universe.

Unfortunately we can’t run away in the movies. Fortunately, it’s comforting to know that thousands of other UNC-CH students are drifting in the same boat without a compass. We’ve all made it to UNC and, undecided or not, that’s the first huge step.

On April 5th when registration opens, take the advice that I am trying to accept myself: fret less over how each class will directly inform your concrete goals for the future and allow some space for spontaneity to seep in. Who knows? Floristry may be the forte you never expected. Run with it.

By Hannah Taylor

How I, a die-hard steak-lover, became a vegetarian

Every time I bit into a nice juicy steak, or had some bacon with my eggs, I used to say I had an image of hippies running around in Birkenstocks spray painting women in fur coats.

Now I am a vegetarian. How could such a hater like me have a change of heart? Well, it all started with a divine massage from a hot guy. One day over two years ago I went into have a massage, and ended up dating the therapist, an extremely in-shape guy. He told me he abstained from beef and pork, and I wondered why. He didn’t seem crazy, and he wasn’t wearing Birkenstocks. He recommended the book Fit for Life by Harvey and Marilyn Diamond.

I realized that I had no idea how food is produced and how our bodies digest it, a scary thought since I make decisions about what to eat multiple times every day. I found out that the Diamonds were vegetarians, and decided to head in that direction based on their nutritional know-how. I started by eliminating beef and pork, the two hardest meats to digest, from my diet. After a few weeks, I stopped eating chicken and fish. Finally, I stopped eating milk, a highly mucous producing food.

This would have been unthinkably difficult for me before I had done all this reading. But because I knew the whole picture, it wasn’t hard for me to say no to a piece of fried chicken. I knew the antibiotics and cruelty that had gone into that piece of chicken, and I knew it would take my body hours to digest, using energy with which I could have played tennis, done homework or made out with the massage therapist.

People always ask me why I’m a vegetarian and I give three reasons. Primarily, I do it for health reasons. Animal products are more difficult to digest than plant based foods, and they offer no nutrients that can’t be easily obtained from vegetarian foods.

We all think that the doctors and the government, with the USDA and FDA, are looking out for the health of American consumers. Nothing could be further from the truth. Doctors simply don’t know anything about nutrition since they receive only about three hours of instruction about it in medical school. They’re trained to help you when you have a heart attack from eating tons of burgers, not before. The government organizations that oversee the meat and dairy industries are in bed with these industries; lawyers and officials are working for industry one minute and the government the next minute.

The only thing that matters here is money; and the way to make the most money is to do whatever it takes (antibiotics, inhumane slaughter practices, etc.) to produce more meat and milk at the “quality” that consumers demand. Even if I were to eat meat, I would only consume organic meat or meats produced in a country like Argentina where cows eat grass, as opposed to a corn and antibiotic mush.

Secondly, I eschew meat for the environment. According to the U.N., the world’s livestock produces more greenhouse gas than all forms of transport put together. So you’d be doing more for the environment by becoming a vegetarian than you would by driving a Prius for the rest of your life.

And thirdly, I do think about the cruelty of the industry. Though we have humane slaughter laws in place, they are routinely broken in favor of speeding up the line, by producing more, faster to make more money. I feel for the animals who go through this, and also for the people who work in these slaughterhouses. There is an unusually high rate of alcoholism, drug abuse and domestic violence among these workers.

I don’t have a problem with meat eaters though. I was one before I found out about all this stuff. Most of the American public is ignorant with regards to food and it’s not their fault. The government and the doctors are supposed to protect us, but they don’t. Everyone in my family eats meat, though my mother has since gone organic.

My advice above all is not to become a vegetarian, though I think it’s a wonderful choice if you decide it’s right for you. Rather, find out about the food you put in your body. Find out how it’s produced, and how your body deals with it. Then you can decide what you want to eat.

By Sarah Wetenhall

Please, anything but exams!

Exam week: a college student’s worst nightmare. Here are some tips to get you through the week without completely stressing out.

1. When you finally do decide to sit down and study, make sure you have everything you need or might need at hand. Getting up to find a notebook while you’re studying is just going to throw you off track.

2. Yes, it is important to cram as much information into your head as will fit, but remember that it is still important to take some study breaks. Don’t schedule your breaks — take them when you see that your attention span is waning.

3. Change up the scenery—spending an ENTIRE week in Davis is definitely not healthy.

4. Remember to sleep. If you’re pulling all-nighters, it will only be that much harder to pay attention to your exam.

5. Contrary to popular belief, exams are not the end of the world. You will make it through. Plus, once your done you barely need to think for the next month!

By Rachel Scall

It’s Thanksgiving!!

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone is as excited as I am about this mini-break. I can’t wait to finally get some home cooked meals and to actually spend time with my family. And that’s exactly what I plan to do — spend time with my family and that’s what you should be doing as well.

I know it’s easy to be tempted into using this break as a way to catch up on all your work or to get some extra studying in for the exams. However, there is going to be plenty of time to work and study between now and the end of the semester. I urge you to actually use this time to catch up with family and old friends.

Be lazy, eat too much food, gossip nonstop, and sleep to your hearts content. Monday will be here before you know it and then you can start freaking out over that Chem exam! But for Thanksgiving, relax and keep it chill.

By Brittany Murphy