Major: Sociology –
Ethnic Studies option
Hometown: Los Lunas, NM
College can be a very stressful time in life. It is definitely a challenge balancing school, work, a social life, and still finding time to take care of your health. I’ve had to face this struggle during my time at the Fort and thanks to our Student Wellness services, I’ve been able to educate myself on the importance of balancing my crazy schedule while still making time to take care of myself.
During my sophomore year at Fort Lewis, I was very actively involved on campus. I had started branching out of my comfort zone and began joining new RSOs in order to add to my resume and make new friends. I became an active member of Club Del Centro, ASFLC, the Financial Allocation Board, Veg Society, and WellPAC, the Wellness Peer Advisory Council. At this time, I was also a full time student enrolled in 18 credits, along with working at El Centro de Muchos Colores and having another job in town. I loved being involved with so many RSOs and having an active presence in my community.
However, I began to struggle with following through on all of my commitments. I did not want to quit any of the activities I was involved with, but it came to the point where I didn’t have enough time to get everything done. I never had time for myself and was extremely stressed, so I started taking it out on my body. I would skip breakfast, sleep less and less, let alone make time for the gym. It took a toll on me not only physically, but mentally as well. I was so stressed about not having time for everything I committed to do that I stopped going to classes, started doing poorly in school, and was near the point of a mental break at any moment.
A close friend of mine from WellPAC encouraged me to visit the Counseling Center in order to deal with the amount of stress I’d brought upon myself. I was hesitant at first because I didn’t believe I needed counseling, but after some words of encouragement I decided to give it a try.
Visiting the Counseling Center really turned things around for me. I was able to talk about the stress I’d been feeling, given techniques for dealing with it, and learned how to say no to commitments I didn’t have the time to take on. It was a great experience and the first four sessions were free to me as a student.
The Counseling Center, along with being involved with WellPAC, taught me the importance of taking caring of you before taking on other things. I realized what clubs and commitments were the most important to me and prioritized my time accordingly. WellPAC became one of my top priorities because of the lessons I learned from my involvement and the great friendships I’d made in the group.
WellPAC is a student-based, informative, supportive health & wellness resource aimed at promoting healthy choices among FLC students. We provide information and support for physical, mental, and emotional health via educational events, social norms media campaigns, presentations, and one-on-one peer consultations. I now try my best to serve as a peer educator and help other students deal with their health issues before it gets to the extreme point of stress that I had previously reached.
Learning the hard way about balancing school, work, a social life, and time for me has been a shaping part of my college experience. Taking care of our health is something we all have to deal with as students and I really encourage students at the Fort to be aware of it. My advice to everyone is to make sure to take advantage of Student Wellness Services if you need it and to always remember taking care of yourself should be a top priority. Self-love is first love!