Why it’s important to prioritize self-care

Shae Slaughter

Summer was good, wasn’t it? It always is. Yet, here we are once again to resume classes and tests. 

Three cheers for being back in “Laker Land,” but I’m sure you’re all shedding a couple of tears for the warm, sunny days we are leaving behind. As we enter back into academia, I want to urge you all to not only be good to your grades, but also good to your soul.

I am blessed to be able to attend college, as are all of you. This is an opportunity that is not afforded to everyone. Unfortunately, it functions as a privilege, rather than a right. That being said, though many people are likely to disagree with me, there is far more to life than just a 4.0 GPA.

As I sit here and write this column, I am covered in sunshine, and I hear waves crashing on the shores of Lake Michigan in South Haven. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Looking at the beach makes it even harder to think about returning to school and sitting in a classroom. I don’t want to let go of this feeling, this freedom and this serenity.

The thing is, why should I let go of this feeling? Why is it that we so often disassociate success and relaxation? I believe that there should be both. Why would we make this dichotomy exist when it is not necessary? I think that being good to your soul is just as important as being good to your mind.

The U.S. has a reputation for being too fast-paced, too career-driven and too money-hungry. Yes, these attributes have made us a world superpower, but they have also made our people stressed and tense. Yes, we are home to cities that never sleep, never-ending news cycles and other exceptional achievements. But at what cost? A job, money and possessions all sound nice, but you can’t take any of them with you when you die. Instead, we should choose to live happy and fulfilling lives not just within the classroom, but outside of it, too.

As I sit here and write this column, I am breathing in not just to consume air, but to inhale life. I’m living for the day and the sun rather than for the deadlines and the papers. This moment matters just as much as the quickly approaching tests we will all have to take. Of course, I could be at work adding to my pocketbook or studying some academic theory boosting my IQ, but instead I chose to boost myself.

So, as the school year picks up and the pace of life continues to quicken, we should all take a moment to breathe in and out, in and out. Get your homework done, but also get your naps in. Make it to your study group, but also make it out to the beach a few last times. Be good to your soul; it’ll be worth it in the end.