5 papers, 1 test, healthy food to prepare, a challenge to run and posts to write, a boyfriend to visit, a future job to find, an internship to prepare for, sports to attend, friends to reconnect with, Terp Thon fundraising, homework to finish, a project to plan, Thanksgiving to help organize, exercise to fit in, and Christmas gifts to buy. All take up space and time on my overwhelmed planner.
Some days I don’t even know what to do I feel so overwhelmed. Some days I have free time that must be used editing papers instead of relaxing with Netflix. Some days I just don’t want any of it!
But I do. Truly. Deep down. I want all of it or I wouldn’t be putting up with any it.
So I once more put my head down, brace my shoulders, and tackle the challenges ahead….all while looking at cute pictures of adorable kitty cats.
Every week, the University of Maryland posts a specialized menu to their nutrition web page. Deep within the confines of the nutritional battlefield that is the college campus cafeteria, can be found a ray of light, a prospect of hope for when that heat-lamp warmed pizza riddled with grease and untold delights seems almost too tempting to resist; there can be found, a Smart Choice Menu.
This smart choice menu has been my saving grace. Instead of relying on tuna fish sandwiches every day, the menu provides healthy options throughout the campus. I can mix it up between the salad station, the Mexican station, the pasta station, and I can still get my tuna fish on occasion. I’ve even taken to customizing it around my work schedule and to fit my pescetarian lifestyle.
But I seem to get a whole lot more than variety from this smart choice menu, I also receive:
- The convenience of not having to scour the dining halls for healthy options
- A variety that doesn’t get me fed up with healthy foods
- Knowledge that it’s A-Okay to eat pizza every now and again
- The joy of marking off a week of healthy eating
- Support of my weight loss efforts from the University
I’m sure that I’m the only person in the entire universe of existence in both this and every other dimension who uses this smart choice menu. And that’s just fine with me. As long as this little scrap of paper keeps mixing up my meals and counting my calories, I’ll never have a reason to renounce it.
While working as a cashier for the school dining hall, I struck up a friendly conversation with a customer, as I am apt to do. I took advantage of his friendly nature to talk about how he was liking school, the first day of classes, and how excited he was to be living in his section of campus. Small talk small talk small talk. Of course, our talk turned to majors. He was a business major and excited to finally be a part of the business school. Small talk small talk small talk. Then, he decided to guess which major I was, and he hazarded the thought:
“Are you a kinesiology major?”
For those of you who are unaware of this field, kinesiology is basically the sports and fitness and physical therapy major of our school.
He thought I majored in exercise.
I nearly died.
“I just thought you looked like you’d be one of those group fitness instructors.”
I actually died.
I mumbled that I was an English and Communications major, but I’m beyond thrilled and proud and pleased and excited and pumped that somewhere in this mess of a universe someone could find me fit and believe that I held a commitment to my health just by looking at me.
The reason that I decided to attend the University of Maryland was a simple one; aside from the outstanding amount of squirrels that roam the mall, the atmosphere around here is one of the quintessential college campus.
Everywhere you look there is beauty to be observed. The mall, full of students lazing around in the sunshine; the Stamp, where kids line up around the block for Panda Express, Saladworks, and Maryland apparel; Campus Drive, which greets visitors with a flowery letter M and a scenic view of all that UMD has to offer.
And the one thing connecting all off these great landmarks together?
I have lived in Maryland my whole entire life, and yet I never knew that we had so many hills until I attended this school.
You look to your left. Hill. Glance to the right. Hill. Look straight ahead. Yup, it’s a hill. Check under your feet. You’re standing on a hill.
I have been exercising regularly while I’ve been at school so far, but I swear that nothing has been as good for me as simply walking around campus and battling the landscape. I find myself going up a hill for a solid 15 minutes on my walk to the gym. But somehow, when I leave to go back home, I’m still walking up a hill.
Since I’m trying to push myself towards fitness I know that I can’t complain too much about all of these hills. Even though they make me sweat, they also do a heck of a job adding a bit of cardio into a simple walk to the dining hall.
All I can do is put on my walking shoes, brave those hills, and hope like crazy that the squirrels don’t get fed up with the mountainous terrain and leave for another campus.