By Melissa Kujawski
When facing the stresses of another day at Suffolk County Community College (SCCC), students and staff can agree that cultivating a balanced lifestyle with both equal amount of physical and mental health is a top priority for academics.
When several faculty interviewees were asked how students could cultivate a healthy lifestyle, they all stated that getting proper nutrition, staying hydrated, exercising several times a week and getting enough sleep were all a part of living a successful, healthy life.
Registered Nurse Supervisor Meryn Pilzer, who has been working for SCCC’s Eastern Campus just shy of 20 years, said “No processed foods and eat more fruits and veggies.” She also, added “Do everything in moderation. Life is a balance.”
When it comes to figuring out what works best for you, Associate Professor of Physical Education at SCCC since 1998, Arthur DelDuca, recommended “make time for yourself and plan out your day/week with proper meals and days and times for exercise.”
To reduce stress Dr. Claire Rubman, Associate Professor of Sociology shared “Don’t not work full time and take a full schedule of classes without realizing the commitment. Also, keep contact with your professors.”
Other thoughtful advice came from Dr. Amy Warenda Czura, Associate Professor of Biology, who added, “Minimize the vices: smoking, drinking, and partying.” These, although a part of the young and vivacious lifestyle, can lead to serious, life-long damaging effects if done ritually.
Keeping up with physical spirits – through proper diet and exercise – are some of the ways students can stay “afloat” in the midst of their busy college and work schedules. Usually these are among the first things recommended by professionals when speaking about the subject.
“They don’t just say ‘you are what you eat’ for nothing.” exclaims Tonianne Reid a 19-year-old SCCC student wishing to continue on to the college’s nursing program. She continued to say how the school offers few healthy choices to snack on or even have a full meal and that she does her best to pack food from home when she knows she will be on campus for several hours.
Staying active goes hand and hand with eating healthy and can produce optimal results. Noah Gorman, a 21- year- old business major at SCCC proudly stated, “I do cardio and weight training at least three times a week for an hour at Planet Fitness in Riverhead.”
However, keeping up one’s physical spirits can be impossible without high and positive mental spirits – which requires lowered stress levels and adequate amounts of sleep. These benefits can help drive students to feel more motivated to pursue their days and keep themselves well.
24-year-old liberal arts- biology student at SCCC Nicole Liebegott, who also strives to get into the college’s nursing program, does not hesitate to explain how she keeps her mental spirits intact. “Yoga, with lots of head stands and arm balances, and I write everyday on 750words.com.” Nicole added, “I think its great. There is something refreshing about being self-aware. You must let out what is bothering you through positive outlets.”
A good nights sleep is essential to most as it allows us to rest and revive our bodies for the next long day. “I need at least eight or nine hours of sleep a night; otherwise, I am un- attentive and lack motivation.”, Andrew Woebbler, a 20-year-old SCCC liberal arts major proclaimed.
Being a commuter student, one would think it would be easier to live a healthy life. However it may seem just as challenging as going away to school. The college life regardless can be stressful and busy. You have to find the time to get things done between several courses and possibly a part time job. You’ll be lucky if you can keep your eyes open in front of a computer at 11:30 PM after being up early at 6 AM or even eat a full, nutritious meal. And many times the college life has you surrounded by other unhealthy students and choices like the pressure to smoke or to choose between a cheeseburger or pizza in the cafe.
All of the faculty and students interviewed agreed that the college has some good options like gym classes and a salad bar, but needs too add more things to remind students that this matter should be taken seriously.
Many were happy to hear that the plans for a gym facility are underway and in the process of being constructed. Yet, Woebbler feels that more gym classes should be required towards graduation and that the college should add a football team.
Several of the interviewees suggested the school use their common hour to place some attention on physical and mental health awareness. Liebegott liked this idea, and added, “An awareness week is important. So is a highly visible and available personal counseling faculty.”
As much as the college can be a source of support and guidance, Pilzer repeated a quote she once heard on the radio: “If you want a helping hand, look no further than the end of your arm.”
Cultivating balanced lifestyle may reduce stress
By Melissa Kujawski