Meet our guest blogger, Sloane Chmara, a senior at Vanderbilt University, who shared her story and reflections below on how she created a healthy and happy life balance while studying at Vanderbilt University AND starting her own business, Kale and Kravings. Setting yourself up for success in college does not happen overnight. It takes some time to find the right balance. However, everyone is in the same position trying to navigate the academics and the social and living aspects of college life.
College. Usually when you think of these 4 years, extreme and dramatic visions come up – partying all night, sleeping all day, studying until dawn, eating french fries in all the dining halls, navigating the path to the rest of your life, making the best friends ever, crazy costumes for frat parties, learning A LOT…the list goes on. While the stereotypical college experience may be filled with these seemingly dramatic and over-the-top experiences, that doesn’t mean that you’ll experience those things, or that there won’t be room in your life for other experiences. In fact, I believe that it is possible to party and sleep, study and socialize, eat fries and veggie bowls, and learn and play. While some call this “balance”, I call it LIFE.
I have absolutely loved my time in college, and as I prepare to graduate in a few months, I have been reflecting on my amazing time as a student. I definitely allowed my wild side to let loose a bit, and I was hungover (from alcohol OR a food coma 😉 ) in a few too many 9am classes. However, as a wellness blogger, coach, author, and aspiring nutritionist, I have always held my personal health and wellness near the top of my priorities list. I go to parties, I go on ice cream dates with my friends, I eat french fries at the best burger joint in town, and I stay up too late. I also make smoothies for breakfast in my shoebox dorm room, drag my friends to the gym for a little sweat sesh, and meditate and journal every morning. Something that I’ve really embraced is the fact that college may not be the healthiest 4 years of my life, but it definitely doesn’t have to be the unhealthiest.
A lot of my fellow bloggers and Instagrammers like to talk about “balance” – finding that 50/50 or 80/20 mix of healthy and unhealthy, work hard and play hard, nutritious and indulgent. Well – I call BS.
In my EBook, Kollege Kravings: Balancing Assignments, Avocados & Alcohol, I provide readers with 20+ dorm-friendly recipes (no kitchen required!) and cover a variety of topics on living your best life in college while having it ALL – a thriving academic experience, a super fun social life, and a healthy body and mind.
Read below for my chapter on why finding “balance” is BS and how to adopt a mindset focused on positivity, ease, and acceptance of every new experience that you may encounter in your college career!
” The term “balance” has become a buzzword within the online health and wellness community, just like the beloved words “kale,” “gluten-free,” “organic,” and “chia seeds.” While I have discussed said “balance” on my Instagram, I personally prefer the term “life.” “Life” is eating 2 pieces of amazingly delicious chocolate cake at your friend’s birthday celebration. “Life” is working out consistently and then not getting to the gym during exam week. “Life” is eating chips and crackers in a foreign country when there is no fresh produce in sight. “Life” is nourishing your body with fruits and veggies all day and having a restful night of sleep. My point is that, in assuming there is a perfect balance you must strike to be healthy (i.e. the 80/20 rule, only eating dessert on the weekends, or limiting yourself to one alcoholic beverage), you are still playing by “rules” that simply do not exist. As much as I used to wish there were, there are no commandments instructing us on what, when, and how much to eat so that we feel our absolute best. The closest thing I can find to this is the famous phrase by Michael Pollan (author, professor, and creator of Food Inc.): “Eat food, not too much, mostly plants.” I believe that living a healthy life stems from feeling happy, nourished, energized, and fulfilled in mind, body, and soul. Therefore, it is up to each individual to listen to his or her body (more on intuitive eating later) and have enough respect for that body to choose the foods, people, and activities that will best nourish the entire being. Green smoothies energize my cells every morning and fuel my workouts; yoga and meditation soothe my mind and muscles; warm brownies with vanilla ice cream light up my soul and relationships…in this way, there is room for everything in this abundant life that we live, and nothing should be categorized as strictly “bad,” “forbidden,” or “restricted.” It’s all simply a part of life!”
We are excited to offer a special “College Scoops” discount to all of our readers! If you would like to purchase Kollege Kravings, head to www.kaleandkravings.com/shop and use the unique code College Scoops for 15% off!