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Women Living Well: Mind/Body Connection - 2002
Student Papers
On Serendip

Living Not So Well at Bryn Mawr


With the Women Living Well Series, I have finally begun to understand more about the relationship between physical and mental well-being. In understanding this relationship I have realized that is important to care about both aspects of my life. My diet, my exercise regime, and the amount of sleep I get have a profound impact on my mental state. But in thinking of these aspects I can help but wonder how I would suffer if I, as a college student, were to begin thinking about these aspects in my everyday life.
In September I will be teaching elementary school in New York City. I have already begun searching for gyms or programs that offers hip-hop dance to the public. Without the luxury of a free gym, I need to enroll in something that will allow me to escape the rest of the day or the week and give my body a physical workout. Currently I am taking Modern Dance I and the instructor is so good that I actually relax in that class instead of worrying about the time or being so bored (as I have been in the same exact class) during class that I cannot wait to leave. I love my dance class. It allows me to escape my everyday pressures. I know that I will be taking night classes and teaching full time in September but I am confident that I can take at least three hours of the week to do something for myself like enrolling in dance. However, if I were to expel energy in making sure that I was doing well mentally and physically in college I don't think I would be graduating.
While the "Women Living Well" Series was very informative, I could not follow any regime here at Bryn Mawr without the risk of failing. I need about 10 hours of sleep every night (8 hours of sleep is not enough). That would mean that I have 14 hours of every day. An hour would be dedicated to working out, take another hour for meals, three hours of classes and I am left with 9 hours. In addition to school, I work on campus (8 hours a week) and off-campus (at King of Prussia, about 20-30 hours a week), and I am in a sorority at the University of Pennsylvania (takes many hours of my week). Some nights I have no chance of getting work done at all, and I have to sacrifice something. That extra hour for exercise has been sacrificed, and I never get ten hours of sleep. It's imperative that I use any and all hours to accomplish what I must to graduate. However, now with this information from the seminar in mind, I feel so guilty about how I've treated my body physically and I understand why I might have been so susceptible to depression and anxiety during my college years. But what can I really do about this?
In general, I have to realize that I can only do so much. It's unfortunate that I can't say that about my studies and everyday life but if I were to stop working at my off campus jobs I would have no money and no way in which to live next year. If I were to say this about my studies I wouldn't graduate. If I were to say this about my extra-curricular activities (which I have already cut drastically back on) I would be turning my back on my fellow people that need help and encouragement. Unfortunately, if I say that about my own well-being (sleep, good eating habits, excellent exercise regime, etc) then nothing will really happen. For the exception of anxiety, depression, obesity (which can still be curved without being too strict), Et. Cetera. And these don't seem as bad as failing a class, or losing a paycheck. It's unfortunate, but this is how our society lives, works, and continues to succeed today.
I don't want to be a negative spin on the seminars, in fact, I thought they were very informative. I want to be a woman who lives well, but I think at our stage in life this is asking for too much. However, for future reference, this seminar will prove invaluable to me outside of Bryn Mawr College.

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