As the new semester begins, many of us are full of resolutions and goals. Few of them will actually be kept but nonetheless we begin each New Year with countless […]
As the new semester begins, many of us are full of resolutions and goals. Few of them will actually be kept but nonetheless we begin each New Year with countless ideas for ‘self improvement’. Perhaps you plan to work harder or want to get some work experience – or maybe even train for your first 5k? Personally, I detest resolutions. Making resolutions is like setting a ticking time-bomb for self-resentment… just waiting for when I can’t live up to my self-imposed (or socially-imposed..?) ideals.
I recently opened my emails to discover the first Wednesday memos of 2013. Top of the list was a cheery offer from the sports centre to help me to lose weight. And so the quest begins, new semester, new goals for attaining the Holy Grail: a number dropping on the scale. I don’t mean to complain, but at a university that prides itself on its high academic standards, rich traditions and numerous societies full of talented students, surely we could begin the year on a slightly less vacuous note?
Perhaps students could instead be encouraged to get creative, to get involved in volunteering in the local community, or simply to focus on forming healthier habits – if necessary. Instead, as well as finding ourselves bombarded by television adverts and magazine covers encouraging us to drop weight and attain a ‘perfect body’, this is also the first message from our educational institution in 2013.
University aged students are the group most susceptible to developing eating disorders. Perhaps, instead of focusing on weight loss, we can focus on health gain. Perhaps, if we don’t find ourselves surrounded by health and size obsession we could learn to accept our bodies as they are? To throw a weight loss programme in the face of the demographic most vulnerable to eating disorders opens up the possibility that even just one of those students, deciding to join, may develop a disorder.
Maybe this semester we can focus on making ourselves a healthier university – not in terms of society’s ‘ideal weight’. For some, losing weight is an important step towards a healthier body. But for many others, weight and disordered habits are a daily battle. Change comes from us, in focusing on what we are outside of our weight. So I encourage you all to ditch the resolutions, enjoy your time at university and realise that you can achieve a lot more than a number on the scale this semester.
Headline image ©Alexandra Williams