Backpacker’s Guide Education

Take care, folks!


Freepik   | Photo Credit: Freepik

While student life gives you cherishable memories, it can also impact one’s health

If I may ask, what was your New Year’s resolution? Or perhaps, you are among those who has discarded this tradition of making promises to oneself that begins with the big lift of good intention and ends with the slow slide of regret? I have reached the age of forgetting, where I can happily blame unkempt resolutions on the erosion of short-term memory. So at this point, almost a week into the new year, if such a thought existed, it has conveniently slipped out of remembering range.

However, one of the advantages of reaching this point in life is that one can dispense advice freely (and unashamedly) to those who will listen, and even to those who won’t, confident in the belief that one has acquired at least some measure of clarity over the years.


So what advice can I pull out of my rather worn backpack at the start off this year? What new resolution can I ask you to consider, having myself given up on the practice of resolving a long time ago? Well, here is one that I think will stand you in good stead: resolve to take better care of yourself and your health — physical, emotional, mental.

Perhaps that sounds self-evident. After all, isn’t self-interest the guiding principle of life, for most? Self-care, however, while being in one’s interest, is quite different from self-interest. When you are young, you get caught up in many activities that are driven by passion, curiosity and ambition, as well as the appetite for adventure and learning. You are eager to feed your body, mind and soul with all manner of exciting things, experimenting and exploring to the fullest — and no doubt, that’s the best part of being a student, and being young.

Little wonder then, that you occasionally go to class sleepy, having survived several nights on a few hours of rest, or that you are distracted by mid-morning hunger pangs, having had no time for breakfast or having overdosed on instant noodles and multiple mugs of tea the previous night. A few days of this can be great fun, but more than that can show on you over time. Some of the downs come from the indifferent quality of food and less-than-perfect hygiene in hostels, but a fair contribution also comes from simple disregard for that aspect of life, that most young people think is an old person’s concern: health. But, and this is not backed by citable evidence but by simple observation, I find that my campus clinic is more often visited by students than by the older faculty.

Balancing act

So, even as you participate in all the excitement that college and particularly, hostel life can offer, do be mindful of your well-being. Balance out the fast food days with some good food days, making sure you always have a bottle of water at hand. Even as you stretch out the days and nights in conversation and hard work, find a few times a week when you get a full night’s sleep. Even as you gather many fair-weather friends to laugh with, make sure you have at least one or two you can cry with as well. And even as you sharpen your mind with deep conversations, learn to pay attention to the signals of your own body and psyche.

The writer teaches at the University of Hyderabad and edits Teacher Plus.

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Printable version | Feb 24, 2020 8:44:54 AM |

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