Viewpoint: Students, take care of your bodies

By Holly Renner

The “Freshman 15” is the least of our worries, fellow classmates.

Sure, we may pack on some extra weight our freshman year. But that’s not the main problem at hand — that’s easily reversible.

The real problem is thinking we’re invincible to all the health implications that arise from eating whatever we want, when we want. And here’s the truth: We’re not. I hate to say it, but four years of not taking care of our bodies can’t possibly end well.

It would be nice if we lived in a world where drinking three cups of sugar-filled, diabetes-inducing coffee a day didn’t affect us in the long run, or if stuffing our face at 10 p.m. because we couldn’t possibly spare 10 minutes to eat solid meals throughout the day had no ill effects.

Dr. Suzy Weems, professor and chair in the family and consumer sciences department at Baylor, said when students come to universities as freshmen, they are no longer restricted from certain foods. As an obvious result, they explore food avenues they have been pushed away from during their time at home.

Weems said having a poor diet is one of the components that may not show up as quickly. In turn, the more serious consequences, such as diabetes and high blood pressure — to name a few — usually happen later on in life.

“You have rights and you have freedoms, but you also have responsibilities,” Weems said.

College is, without a doubt, a high-stress environment where there is little time to make health a top priority. The main goal for the typical college student is to get good grades in order to secure a successful future. To many, that includes all-nighters at the library, massive amounts of coffee to stay awake, then carbs, carbs and more carbs. In the midst of the aspiration to succeed in school, living out a healthy lifestyle gets put on the shelf.

Like I said, there is little time to sit down to a nutritious meal three times a day, work out on a regular basis, and ensure we’re drinking enough water. So as a result, we’re becoming coffee addicts, sugar addicts, and addicts of any other quick-fix energy supplements to get us through school.

As I stood in the usual monstrous line at Starbucks — surprise, surprise — I overheard a student say, “I’m just going to cram for my huge test in an hour and a half — I’m not even getting coffee today. I’m getting espresso.” He went on to talk of his all-nighter plans set in place to finish his project.

Surely this can’t be healthy.

Another turn-off to healthy eating is the cost. As we college students know, Baylor, among many other universities, is not cheap.

Thanks to the accruing student loans and never-ending parking tickets, the packages of Ramen Noodles at H.E.B. look rather appetizing compared to the organic vegetables, fruit and non-packaged turkey meat. And then — heaven forbid — the idea of cooking at home is never convenient when there are Greek activities to attend, five midterms to cram for, last-minute projects to do, meetings to sit in on, friends to catch up with, and maybe — but not likely — sleep somewhere in between.

In addition to all the “inconveniences” surrounding the idea of healthy eating is the fact that, well, some of us are clueless in the kitchen. If anyone has time, or even knows how to make a legitimate five-course meal without burning down the apartment, come to my house and cook for me.

Baylor senior Laurie Van Dyk said she knew some girls at Baylor who would accidentally burn funfetti cookies.

If that’s not an obvious sign that college students can be clueless when it comes to cooking for themselves, I don’t know what is.

What is my point in all of this, exactly? It’s the harsh reality that if we don’t take care of our bodies now, we’re going to pay for it later.

Holly Renner is a senior journalism major from Altamonte Springs, Fla. She is a lab reporter for The Baylor Lariat