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Editor’s Note: This is the final student essays about their experiences in the Health 1, 2, 3 program. The essays were developed from an audio vignetter assignment, so are transcripts of those assignments. This program, described here, is a hallmark of the Human Health program and reaches every incoming Emory freshman.

I took Health 100 the fall of 2017 and Health 200 in the spring of 2018. I remember being in Health 100 thinking that we were just going to be told to get some sleep, eat 5 vegetables and fruits a day, and to not do any risky behaviors involving alcohol or drugs. But when I completed Health 100, I realized this was completely wrong. Looking back on it, Health 100 was very insightful. I specifically remember the Peer Health Partner as being the reason I decided to take Health 200. I too wanted to inspire my peers and share with students the importance of health. Both Health 100 and Health 200 classes have helped me grow, and I’ve seen this throughout my entire first year at Emory.

For instance, I’ve become more cautious when it comes to eating and regulating my sleep. Before college, I was the type to pull an all nighter. I would stay up and watch movies, do random things during the night, and grab snacks because I was hungry. I’d usually go to bed at 8am or 9am, after my mom would come down to do laundry and ask why I was up. I knew that this probably wasn’t good for me, but I would go to bed at this time, wake up at 2 or 3pm and then I would just repeat it every day during the summer. Even during the school year while still in high school I would go into my room after school, sit on my bed, start studying around 10pm, fall asleep for an hour, wake up and study for another hour, and the process would repeat until I would have to get up for school at 6am. I never really stuck to a sleep schedule. I never got the amount of sleep I needed.

 " I didn’t know sleeping less that 7-9 hours a night was not ideal for my health." Photo of a teenage girl sleeping in a grass field.
“I didn’t know sleeping less that 7-9 hours a night was not ideal for my health.” Credit: Pixabay

I also ate poorly. I enjoyed extremely salty and sugary food at night because I was staying up late; I just never thought about my health. I knew I was supposed to be eating fruits and vegetables and avoiding junk foods and processed foods because they aren’t good for you. The same with juices and sodas. But I never knew about the Harvard Healthy Eating Plate until this year, which opened my eyes into what I was doing wrong. I was staying up late and eating poorly, which just wasn’t good. Before taking Health 100 and Health 200, I thought I would need to sleep until I was refreshed. I didn’t know sleeping less that 7-9 hours a night was not ideal for my health. I didn’t know if you got less than the recommended amount could lead to a decreased immune system and becoming more susceptible to getting sick – it’s so scary and I never thought about that!

We don’t take time for ourselves, which is really important, and our health is suffering because of it.

I never really grasped the concept of health and how to treat my body the right way. But taking Health 100 and Health 200 has taught me that our bodies are basically temples, and we need to treat them right and be educated on how different choices and external factors take both negative and positive tolls on our bodies. Health 100 and Health 200 classes drove these points home. The practical presentations led by my peers in Health 200 helped drive points home. With each presentation, I could tell my classmates cared about getting points across and went above and beyond to include relevant examples on how we can include these concepts and implement them in our lives on campus here at Emory.

Aerial view of Emory University campus
Emory University By: Misha07

As Emory students, we get caught up so much in homework and extracurricular activities that we don’t take into consideration in our health. After we do one thing we are on to the next. We don’t take time for ourselves, which is really important, and our health is suffering because of it. I know when I was presenting in Health 200, my biggest concern was to get point across that these health topics are important, and if we incorporate little ways to include these practices in our daily lives, we can not only be healthier and happier college students, but healthier and happier people. These concepts and practices are not just for college students, they’re for years beyond – they’re for the rest of our lives. We can use these concepts every single day. It’s not just, “Okay, I’ve done some of these things, let me take a break.” We need to take all of the topics and strategies covered and really integrate them into our daily lives to be better people in terms of our health. But that’s what Health 200 has really taught me this semester – that these concepts and ideas are not just for now, they’re pretty much forever.