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Thursday, May 28

Brookdale Newsroom

Student Voices: Does Healthy Eating Help in the Classroom?

If someone would have told me last semester I would be passing my classes with flying colors while working three jobs, I would have said, “Yes my friend, I also believe in unicorns.” I would have laughed out loud that my mind and body could handle such stress while maintaining pure sanity.

It’s not that it’s totally impossible to function in a high paced lifestyle. It’s just less believable that good health will benefit overall well-being, including academics. I believe this is something we already know, but how often are we applying this to our daily routine?

Last year, around this time, I was in very bad physical and mental health. I ate questionable meals from surrounding fast food chains for convenience. I also enjoyed heavily sweetened pastries whenever time allowed. These things seemed to be the only thing accessible to me between working part-time and taking classes for my Journalism degree.

Brookdale student journalist Siobhan Horton.

Brookdale student journalist Siobhan Horton.

Then it dawned on me; this was not helping me at all! My delicious treats were neither helping me stay awake in class or keeping me focused, nor were these tasty delights giving me the nutrients that are vital to my health.

All last semester, I missed important notes from lack of concentration. I often missed class from preventable illnesses and I failed exams from simple lack of focus. My path to a failing grade was almost routine. Sad story? Yes, very much so. And, unfortunately, many of us can relate.

Whether it be time constraints or budget goals that hold us back, eating “what’s right” in our busy lives seems to be a bit romantic given the circumstances. When I say romantic, though, what I’m really saying is that it’s a suicide mission.

“I try to eat right, but I don’t always have the time,” says Brookdale education major and student ambassador Tina Fotana. “If I have a little extra time I’ll go for a chicken caesar salad from the cafe, but when I don’t have a minute to spare, I’ll just grab chicken fingers.”

Does this sound familiar? It’s kind of like that New Year’s resolution you had about eating healthier and dining on salads all week. Ultimately, you end up sitting in front of a large deep dish pizza by Saturday.  When does the madness stop?

The bottom line is, we need healthier options. It is our responsibility as citizens and students to require more from what we eat. Grabbing the large bottle of water the next time you’re in the student store may help. Maybe opting for the baked potato chips (if you really need chips) and even bringing your own lunches that include fresh fruits and vegetables. All of this will improve your performance. And tons of us agree.

If we can pay tuition and seek education to help us in our future endeavors, shouldn’t we be investing in our bodies just as vigorously?  Aren’t there more proven ways we can help ourselves? Good question. I think I might know the answer.

I am a journalist here at Brookdale, and I am on a personal health and nutrition journey. I plan to inform as many people as possible on the endless ways we can improve our health and well-being. Check on my “Fab Five” columns in The Stall, including listings of my favorite healthy food choices in Monmouth County, as well as how eating healthy can also save us money.

– article by Siobhan Horton

Student Voices is a regular Newsroom column written exclusively by Brookdale students. If you would like to contribute a column about college life, campus events or any Brookdale-related topic, email the office of College Relations.