With exam season on the way and the end-of-semester paper crunch coming, students will be turning to caffeine to help them make it through the long days (and nights) of work. It’s important to know that caffeine cannot replace sleep, and that your brain works best when you have time to sleep before taking an exam. So plan ahead, prioritize, and get some sleep! Your GPA will thank you. Also, learn more about caffeine by checking out the cool info-graphic below. Click to enlarge. Happy Studying!
College students, if they choose to drink, pre-game at higher rates than other populations. But is pre-gaming a good idea, or does it lead to more negative consequences than good?
College students tell us they pre-game for a variety of reasons: to avoid underage drinking tickets at a bar or dance club, to spend less money on alcohol, or because they attend a party ahead of time where drinking occurs.
While avoiding legal trouble and spending less on alcohol are admirable goals, does pre-gaming help? According to the research, pre-gaming actually results in a higher likelihood of heavy drinking, spending more money, hangovers, blackouts, and risky behaviors like vandalism.
This is because pre-gaming lowers your inhibitions and impairs your ability to make good decisions later in the night, like alternating alcoholic drinks with water, or knowing to stop drinking when you’ve reached your limit. The research, by author Florian Labhart of the Addiction Switzerland Institute in Lausanne, indicates that on nights that don’t involve pre-gaming people drink less on average, and are less likely to experience the negative effects associated with having too much alcohol.
Here at Campus Health we have harm-reduction approach, which means that we are not making any judgments with regards to alcohol or drugs. We focus on helping students identify ways they can reduce their risks for alcohol and other drug related harm, and we help students put in place strategies that they find useful to avoid the negative consequences that they identify.
So if you choose to drink, make sure that you are aware of the risks involved, and make sure you know that pre-gaming is not always as good of an idea as it sounds.
As always, stay safe, and stay healthy!
Inspired by this post in Men’s Health
Summer’s slow carefree days are winding down: sunsets are earlier, nights are nippier. More time spent pecking at a keyboard and highlighting journal articles, less time reading a juicy novel in the sun or playing Frisbee on the lawn. Yep, fall semester is officially underway. And as I stare down those first assignment deadlines and try to kickstart my brain back into school mode, I must remember that even the most diligent student needs a break, especially on the weekend…
Top picks for this weekend:
Friday at 6:00pm
Listen to live bluegrass and enjoy a delicious sandwich hot off the grill—what a perfect way to celebrate North Carolina livin’
Friday, September 14, 10pm
Saturday, September 15, 7pm
Happens Friday and Saturday nights throughout the semester. This week, it’s “The Avengers”
Saturday at 7pm
This tribute to the legendary singer takes place at the Sonja Hanes Center and it’s FREE.
When you’re dating someone or generally boo’d up, it’s natural to want to share things with your partner. Whether you share a lot of personal things about your past or you’re that couple who eats off of each other’s plates at dinner, sharing things with your boo can be a way to show your partner you care about them and is often a positive sign of comfort in a relationship.
There is such a thing as too much sharing however, especially when it comes to your digital privacy. Sharing your facebook or email password with your partner may be tempting, especially if they are someone you really trust, but that information is not as simple as letting them have a fry off of your plate at dinner. Sharing your password to private accounts gives the person access not only to information you send other people, but also information they share with you. This puts your privacy, as well as the privacy of your friends and family that communicate with you online, at risk. If a partner or hook up buddy pressures you to email or text them super-hot pictures of yourself, take a minute to think about what may happen down the line and how much control that person will have by owning private pictures of you. If your boo is constantly texting you wanting to know where you are or who you’re with, or gets unnecessarily frustrated if you don’t respond to a text or IM within .15 seconds, it may be time to have a real in the flesh talk about digital boundaries.
A healthy relationship allows all people involved to retain some space and independence outside of the relationship. Authentic trust between people does not necessitate constantly checking up on someone or having access to all their digital interactions with others. Even if these kinds of requests come off as concern, trust your instincts if the vibe you’re getting is more one of control than affection. Be clear with your boo about what you are and are not comfortable with when it comes to digital privacy, and hopefully you’ll be able to have an honest discussion about their true concerns and move to a healthy place of resolution.
The bottom line is, if someone is pressuring you to give up your digital privacy in a way that you’re uncomfortable with, you have a right to stand your ground and retain whatever boundaries you’re comfortable with. Your online and mobile accounts are all a part of you, and if a partner is controlling, pressuring, or disrespecting you in those spaces, you have a right to feel violated.
If you’d like to explore issues of digital privacy more in order to assess your relationship, check out www.thatsnotcool.com. If you or a friend is experiencing digital pressure from their partner and you’re worried it may a sign of an abusive relationship, the Family Violence Prevention Center of Orange County has an anonymous hotline available 24/7 where you can chat with a trained advocate at 919-929-7122. You can also use your digital communication skills to get more information by checking out www.loveisrespect.org and chatting online with a trained representative from 5pm-1am EST.
What an impressive juggling act! Hats off to you. You’re doing important work!
Let me tell you about a few of the resources available for you locally:
In the past year or so, the news media started talking about “drunkorexia.” That’s a catch-all term for a variety of unhealthy eating habits that are related to binge drinking. For example:
- Skipping meals or slashing your energy intake during the day so that you can drink more when you go out;
- Feeling compelled to exercise more to burn off the calories you drank last night;
- Forcing yourself to throw up after drinking or eating too much.
It’s hard to say whether this is a problem at UNC. Most students at UNC drink moderately, if they drink at all, so it’s not an issue for the majority of students. But lately I’ve been hearing some concerns from a few students about the calorie content of alcohol, so it seemed like a great time to blog about eating, drinking, and staying in balance.
Finals period! Oh what a wonderful time of year!
Sike. Let’s just be blunt. Finals. Period. Sucks. It’s a stressful time of year. End of story. There is really no way that a 2 week period testing your knowledge on ALLLL the things that you learned during the past 14 weeks could be anything but a little stressful. But there are some ways to make it suck less, and maybe to even harness some of that stress for good.
Above all- Don’t Engage in the Stress Competition at all costs!!!
Person 1:“I’m so stressed. I have 2 papers, and 3 finals to go. I’ve been up since, like, 6:30 this morning.”
Person 2: “Uh, me too. I’ve had like 6 cups of coffee today. I only got like 3 hours of sleep.”
Person 1: “Oh yea, I only got like 2.5. I had to finish that take home we had due for biochem.”
How often have you been hanging out with friends during high-stress times like finals period and suddenly found yourself in a similar conversation, wherein, one person’s stressors just feeds off the other’s. BEWARE! While this might seem like simple commiseration, it only serves to perpetuate an atmosphere of stress! In fact, let’s all actively FIGHT the stress competition. When you find yourself beginning to engage in a Stress Competition, immediately say something nice. Something positive. Do jumping jacks. Make a scene. ANYTHING but engage in the stress competition- for serious.
Oh and here are 6 other handy tips for finals times…
1. Make a Schedule: Sound familiar? You’ve probably received this advice on repeated occasions, but it’s a good suggestion, so it bears repeating. Many times, stress stems from trying to squeeze too much into too little time. By setting out a schedule, you help to structure your time, ensuring that you’re not left at the 12th hour with 20+ pages to read/write. (Bonus: By creating a schedule and using your time wisely you have more time for #3 and #4!)
2. Prioritize: Much like making a schedule, prioritizing helps you to avoid that last minute cram.
3. Avoid Productive Procrastination (Or Procrastination At all): Personally, I often try to do smaller easier tasks, while ignoring my looming larger assignments, something a friend of mine calls productive procrastination. While this might seem like at least I’m getting something done, it really just causes me extra stress when I have to scrabble to finish the BIG assignments in the end. Those little assignments aren’t going anywhere, and they’ll be just as easy when you’re done with the big one. Same thing for procrastination at all. It’s only going to sneak up on you in the end. Facebook, Twitter, that trip to Taco Bell will still be there when you’re done (and can even serve as a pleasant reward for finishing!)
4. Take Care of Yourself: I CANNOT repeat this enough. If your body is not well, your mind is not well. Deprive it of the essentials– sleep, nutrients from good food– it’s just not going to perform the way you want it to, and you’re not going to perform the way that you want to. So treat your body right. Take care of yourself.
5. Don’t Forget Balance: Staying balanced during finals period can be hard. But don’t forget to intersperse some of the activities that really make you happy in between papers and study sessions.
6. Set Realistic Goals: Know what you can and cannot do. Finishing an X page paper in X amount of time might be realistic for some, but not for you. Use this knowledge to help guide you in #1 and #2.
Any other great suggestions on avoiding finals time stress?
I’ve found that many students want to know – is meat bad for you?
We can easily see that industrial meat production (in facilities such as certified animal feeding operations) harms the environment and facilitates antibiotic resistance. But does meat really harm human health directly? Should someone avoid eating meat altogether – even sustainably or organically grown beef and lean meats? Or are there benefits to eating meat in moderation? Overall, we believe that all foods can be part of a healthy diet – including meats.
Saying “meat is bad for you” is a very strong statement, and one that would be difficult to prove based on the scientific evidence we have. Understanding why requires digging into some of the overall challenges with evidence-based nutrition. For example, if we do a study and find that people who eat lots of meat are more likely to get cancer or be overweight, we still can’t know for sure whether it was the large amount of meat, the additives in processed foods or the lack of fruits/vegetables/whole grains that made them sick. Additionally, we don’t know that eating a moderate amount of meat in a single meal is going to cause any problems. If we imagine that we could prove meat causes bad health, we still wouldn’t know what makes meat harmful. Is it the meat itself, or just a component of the meat (i.e. saturated fat)? If the culprit was saturated fat, we could get just as sick drinking coconut milk even if we don’t eat meat.
Meat isn’t bad for you. That being said, we can use common sense based on proven nutrition science to understand the role of meat in a healthy diet. We know that:
- Meat has some important nutrients in it like protein, vitamin B12, iron and folate.
- Eating too many calories will make you gain weight.
- Eating too much saturated fat can cause health problems.
- Depending on the type of meat and how you prepare it, the calories and amount of saturated fat in it change.
The Mediterranean diet, for example, includes plenty of meat, and at the same time has been linked to improved health and lower risk of disease because it focuses on lean meats like chicken and fish.
Vegetarianism is not for everyone and it is certainly not the only way to be healthy. To get the most health benefits from your meat, focus on lean meats like chicken and fish and opt for baking or grilling rather than frying. Limit high-fat meats like bacon and beef. Try to eat meat for one meal during the day, and get your protein from beans, nuts, eggs or yogurt at other meals. Meat isn’t bad for you; indeed it can be part of your healthy and balanced diet.
Whitney Houston was 48 years old when she died in February of this year.
Amy Winehouse was 27 when she died from alcohol poisoning in 2011.
Michael Jackson was 50 years old when he died from prescription drug overdose in 2009.
All three of these artists were gripped by alcohol and/or drug abuse throughout their adult lives, the tragedies of which were a constant source of ridicule for the tabloid press and late-night comedians. The official causes of Whitney Houston’s death have only recently been released, and the LA coroner’s office reported that the official cause of death was drowning and the effects of heart disease and cocaine use. The amount of cocaine found in the singer’s system indicates that she used the substance shortly before her death. The prescription bottles of Xanax and Valium that were found in her hotel room are anti-anxiety medications that are also used during substance abuse treatment programs. Houston went through several cycles of rehab and relapse, most recently in May 2011. Other substances found in her system included Benadryl, marijuana, and Flexiril.
A source claims that some members of Houston’s family blame ex-husband Bobby Brown for turning her into a heavy drug user. In an interview, Houston “admitted she made habitual use of marijuana and crack and specified that Brown’s highs of choice were alcohol and marijuana laced with cocaine.” Sadly, Houston’s daughter, age 18, has also struggled with substance abuse for the past 3 years and her family’s attention has turned to her in the wake of their loss.
Without going into the specifics surrounding the deaths of Winehouse and Jackson, I will summarize some of the themes that come out of these tragic stories.
- Prescription medications can be just as risky as illegal drugs when it comes to the possibility of dependence and accidental overdose.
- Alcohol should not be used in combination with prescription medications due to interactive effects that can amplify drug reactions.
- Past drug use has long-term consequences on a person’s physical health that don’t disappear after quitting.
- Substance abuse often coincides with untreated mental illness, as in the cases of Winehouse and Jackson.
- Susceptibility to substance abuse is influenced by an individual’s genetics and environment. The people that surround a substance abuser can enable self-destructive behaviors or they can choose to be positive influences.
With their histories of drug abuse, was it inevitable that these celebrities would die from overdoses or do you believe that they could have turned things around at any time? Looking at yourself, your friends, and your family, would you know how to spot the signs of substance abuse and would you know what to do?
…well, I ain’t down with that!”
Maybe you don’t remember Sir Mixalot’s quintessential curvy-girls anthem, “Baby Got Back.” But I do. Growing up, I was sandwiched between skinny and fat in that gray area people called “sturdy” or “thick,” and I memorized every last lyric to this fat-bottom tribute because I knew I’d never look like those magazine models, and I assumed that beauty centered on some fixed, universal standard that I would never meet. Then, in 2008, I moved to Ghana, West Africa and my perspective changed completely.
In Ghana, a place where food can be scarce and abs are chiseled by years of manual labor, roundness has become the sought-after ideal. Women don’t compliment each other on their weight loss. Quite the opposite: “Have you put on weight? You are looking so good these days!” I can’t tell you how many times my friend Judy, a nurse I worked with at a clinic in Ghana, greeted me with “You are looking nice and fat today.” Now, I have spent years nourishing a healthy body image, but “nice and fat” still feels like an oxymoron.
Women in Ghana are given images of voluptuous role-models: movie stars, singers, actors, even newscasters are all soft, curvy women. Continue reading