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Eating healthy in college is a fairly difficult task, especially while living on campus. Healthy food is hard to stick to on a regular basis when pizza, ice cream, burgers and donuts are so easily available in the cafe, Monk’s Bean, or Parson’s store. However, I have found that the benefits vastly outweigh the initial inconvenience. In addition to looking and feeling better, your energy levels will rise, athletic and academic performance will improve, and studying will become easier and more productive!
For those who have a place to cook like me, eating healthy isn’t too difficult since meals can be prepared in a variety of quick and easy ways. The key is to stick to lots of easy proteins, veggies, whole grains while avoiding processed foods and those high in sugar. I usually just toss a bunch of fresh veggies in a pan with some coconut or avocado oil to stir-fry, then add some plain protein such as eggs, chopped up steak, chicken tenders or tofu. You can make some instant whole grain or jasmine rice as well.
This whole process takes no more than 20 minutes and very minimal effort or skill. If you need more ideas on what to make or buy, I recommend downloading the Pinterest app (no it’s not a girls app you guys). There are TONS of awesome ideas for quick, healthy meals and shopping lists on there which have helped me a lot.
For those who don’t have the ability to cook, don’t worry! There are an insane amount of great things that don’t require cooking. In fact, most of what I eat doesn’t require cooking because on many days I simply don’t have the time. Every dorm room is provided with a mini-fridge and a microwave. I also recommend getting a small storage container to store all your foods that don’t need refrigeration. When filling my fridge/freezer, I always stock lots of sandwich meat (only all natural and organic with no nitrates), boxes of fresh greens and other fresh veggies, Greek yogurt, almond butter, frozen fruit/berries, and almond milk (which I prefer to regular milk). All of these can be grabbed quickly and don’t require any preparation. In addition, I always have some instant oatmeal, my favorite protein powder, whole grain cereal and bread, protein/cereal bars, and granola.
Whether you have the ability to cook or not, Saint Gertrude’s Cafe will probably be a major source of food for you. This is where you will need to exert willpower to steer clear of the burgers, pizza and prepared food for something a little healthier. Thankfully, the SMU cafe staff always provides healthy options.
During breakfast, eggs, fruit, oatmeal and omelettes are my go-to choices. During lunch, I usually head to the salad bar or get a whole wheat wrap with fresh chicken and veggies. During dinner, again salad is a solid option, but you can also order seasonal veggies and chicken breasts at the grill. Whenever you find yourself at the cafe, there will always be healthy options, and the Bon Appetite staff welcomes students to make requests and offer feedback. Personally, I’ve found that keeping a healthy diet during my college experience has been a piece of cake (no pun intended). I’m sure you won’t find it much trouble either!
Andrew W. Kier, Signing off
Saint Martin’s University is unique in that, being a small, private institution, it can be both flexible, and attuned to the needs of each individual student. This is something I was often told throughout my first few semesters here, but did not fully comprehend until this year. Prestigious American politician and lawyer Robert Ingersoll once said that, “college is where pebbles are polished and diamonds are dimmed.” This caused me great concern when I first decided to pursue a career in entrepreneurship. I saw college as a place which trains and produces excellent employees, but not necessarily entrepreneurs. All of the great entrepreneurs I know of, such as Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg and Evan Spiegel, dropped out of college to build their companies. This was heart breaking since I can’t imagine quitting my track team and leaving this place before graduation, yet, I did not want to delay bringing my business ideas to life. It appeared as though to chase one dream I would be forced to give up another. Thankfully this proved not to be the case.
As I began creating the ground work for my business, I found that being a student at SMU did not inhibit my progress at all. On the contrary, it proved to be immensely advantageous! Every professor to whom I reached out for help or advice was more than happy to oblige in any way they could, some of whom worked in departments I had no academic affiliation with such as engineering.
In addition, when I approached my adviser asking if I could use my company in place of an internship she went above and beyond to discover that, although no such program was in place, she, helped by the dean of the internships, could design an entrepreneurship curriculum so that I could be awarded credits. SMU facilities, such as the new Panowicz Foundry, became invaluable assets as well. Now my business partners and I are nearly ready to launch our first company products, a feat that seemed nearly impossible a few months ago. The fact that I will be able to start and run a business while still finishing out my undergrad college education and career as a student athlete still blows me away. I guess that’s just one of the many benefits of going to a university like SMU.
When I was choosing a college, Saint Martin’s was the practical choice, not my first choice. I had grown up in Olympia and went to high school only a mile away from the campus. Plus, I knew that going to Saint Martin’s meant living at home and going to school with my big sister; not the exciting college experience every seventeen year old guy is looking for. Because of this, I initially didn’t considered SMU as a viable choice, and instead, looked at schools such as Boise State, The University of Washington, Washington State, Northwest Nazarene and Grand Canyon University. When my mom told me I should still apply to SMU, I distinctly remember laughing and responding, “yeah why not.” I appeased my mom and applied but didn’t consider SMU in earnest because, at the time, it didn’t seem to be the school I was looking for.
However, when I received my scholarship award letter, I started seriously considering attending Saint Martin’s. College debt loomed as a real possibility for my future and as I compared the numbers reflected in my SMU scholarship award letter to the packages I got from other schools, graduating debt free became a very attainable goal. Was moving away worth $30k of debt? And, as much as I hated to admit it, I really liked the Saint Martin’s campus and people. So, two weeks before classes began, I committed to SMU with no idea how good of a decision I had just made for myself. It wasn’t until several weeks later that I started to fall in love with the place. Now, two and a half years later, I can’t imagine going to college anywhere else. Opportunities I could not have imagined have presented themselves to me as a SMU student. For example, I am currently a part of the track program that’s more of a family than team. Additionally, I have an on campus job as part of the Social Squad in the marketing department, which is uniquely matched to my abilities and complimentary to my interests and major. I’ve also had the distinct advantage of developing positive and beneficial relationships with professors and staff members that I strongly believe I would not have had access to anywhere else. All this started because Saint Martin’s made achieving a college education possible in a way that wouldn’t become a burden of debt I would have to carry for years into my future.
College is the start of a new phase in life and I’m grateful that Saint Martin’s made it possible for me to not only get a great education and make life-long friends and memories, but also become prepared to enter the post-college world debt free and ready to make a positive difference. Now as a student and university employee, I am able to see and participate in the events and fundraisers, such as the Saint Martin’s annual Gala, which make those opportunities possible for me. I am able to meet and thank the people who support my dreams and aspirations, as well as those of hundreds of other young people. Standing there, watching SMU’s patrons give hundreds of thousands of dollars and knowing that they are doing it for students like me is humbling and extremely inspiring. It is a reminder as to why I wake up every morning for lecture, and stay up all night studying for exams and writing papers. Some day it will be my turn; supporting students and education will be my responsibility. However, right now my job is to place myself in a position where I can assume that responsibility.
To those who are in the place I was two and a half years ago, trying to make that life-altering decision and pick a university, I would strongly encourage to consider the long term effect your choice will have on your life. Ask the tough questions, be honest with yourself and know that there are people all over ready to support your dreams like they do mine. Then, after you’ve chosen a school, get excited because you will undoubtedly have, like I did, many amazing opportunities come your way.
Currently, I’m on my third year in collegiate athletics. It’s been three whole years of paperwork, meetings, training, ice-baths, battling injuries, traveling and competitions. Yet, after three years, I still often feel almost embarrassed explaining to others what exactly I do and why. I catch myself down playing it with phrases like, “it sounds way harder than it actually is,” or “it’s not all its hyped up to be.” However, to be totally honest these phrases are lies. It is as hard as it sounds, so hard that at times I wonder what kind of sane person does this. To me, it is as awesome as it sounds too. It is rewarding and empowering, proving to me what I am capable of and that’s why I do it. I love track and I love the life of a college athlete. So, this begs the question, why do I still feel the necessity to down play the life of an athlete?
I think the answer is a combination of two things. One is the high value our society places on equality, and the other is the human desire for approval and affirmation that we are all the same; no better, no worse than the other. Now, let me quickly clarify something. Equality and equal opportunity are two very different things. According to Webster’s Dictionary, equality is the “state of being equal,” and equal is “being of the same measure, quantity, amount, or number as another; identical.” However, equal opportunity is…,”not discriminating against people because of their race, religion, etc.” I am all about equal opportunity, but not so much equality. I want to help build a world where everyone has the ability to pursue their dreams. But what kind of world would it be if everyone had the same identical dreams and aspirations? I think it would kinda suck.
Our society has become so tied up with equality that we are making people feel like being uniquely different and distinct is a bad thing. It tells us that if we are different, others may not accept us. It tells us that being proud of our achievements means putting others down. But this isn’t true at all. I am proud of what I do, not many others can do it. But that doesn’t make me better than someone else, just different. The same applies to people who are gifted in music, science, computers, acting, public speaking or any other skill. Being proud of what you do doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
I believe the world would be a much more productive and functional place if everyone understood and held to the idea that individuals could and should distinguish themselves and take pride in what they do. That’s what I envision SMU continuing to be and continually becoming. A school where everyone is, not only given equal opportunity to pursue their passions, but where each student is actively and mindfully encouraged to take pride in their successes and achievements. This is the beauty of a small university; in a small university setting a mindset such as this is very realistic and attainable goal. All it takes is for us, as individuals, to look at ourselves and each other differently and to take personal responsibility and initiative to develop our gifts and passions and pursue excellence. We, as fellow students, also should recognize and encourage one another. A mentor of mine once told me that the only time I should be looking down on another individual was to pull them up. With this outlook, we will be destined, often times counter-culturally, to distinguish ourselves in a meaningful and useful way in the world, for the betterment of ourselves and those we impact.