By Katie DeSandis, SWP member
I’m going to start this post off with a little visualization. I’m sure you’ve all visualized before, so work with me here. You’re sitting in Butler (worst sentence to start off with, but just go with it). You’re hunched over your latest reading assignment as a neck cramp begins to gnaw at your muscles and forces you to sit up. As you sit up your stomach lets out a low, growling complaint. You look at the time and realize its 3:00am and you haven’t eaten anything since your visit to John Jay at 6:00pm. You stare at the clock and try and decide whether it’s worth leaving to get a snack—can I spare 15mins of study time or should I just work through it? You then start to chastise yourself for not getting a little something from the café when it was still open—that would’ve saved so much time instead of having to go all the way to Uni café. I’m sure most of you reading this have had an experience similar to this. The dilemma of food vs. studying—do I have time to eat or not?
As we push through these last few weeks of the semester, I’d like to invite us all to think about food in a different light. Food isn’t something that should be placed on the back burner to studying, reading, or writing a paper. It also isn’t something that should be forgotten, feared, avoided, or mismanaged. Food is a gift, a privilege, a reward, and a fuel. It can be our best friend, a reward to a hard day’s work, a reunion with old friends, or a time-out from the craziness that is Columbia. As individuals we not only need food to live, but we deserve it. We shouldn’t feel guilty about setting aside an hour and half to sit in John Jay with our friends to eat dinner and share stories. Spending two hours downtown for lunch with someone you haven’t seen in awhile isn’t going to kill your GPA. Even more importantly, eating a piece of chocolate cake at dinner or a pastry at 3:00am after finally submitting your term paper isn’t going to instantly turn into 5lbs. These are all delusions that we have come to accept and integrate so fully into our lives that they now seem normal.
Our lives are full of countless activities, passions, friends, and interests and they all require varying amounts of attention. We work constantly to balance these aspects of our lives and it is usually when these are harmonized that we feel most comfortable and at ease with ourselves and the world. Food works in the same way. We are constantly changing and moderating its role, quantity, and value—whether we need a pre-workout snack, a hearty dinner, a 2 hour break from studying, or are really just craving Oreos and milk—food is there to answer the call. We know what is healthy and what is not and we know that in order to feel good we need to balance the healthy: unhealthy ratio of food we consume. So next time you’re worrying about whether or not you have time to have dinner, or whether you can have that apple crisp even though you didn’t work out today remember that food is not only a necessary part of your life, but also part of the balance of life. As long as you remember to balance whatever choice you make, you have made the right choice. So go ahead and spend two hours in Ferris with your friends—you can go to Butler after and get your work done if you skip that episode of Modern Family you were going to watch before you went to bed. Go for the piece of cake—you’re going for a 2 mile run tomorrow anyway. Decisions like these will begin to stop our characterization of food as the time-sucking enemy and show us that it is really one of the best tools we can use to achieving a happy, balanced life.
Wishing to CU Well,
Note: Stop by the entrance of Butler today between 11-3 PM for free cookies and lemonade! Full Random Acts of Kindness Week schedule here.