Words of Advice from Student Body President Kevin Helgren
With school in full swing, it can be difficult to remain positive, productive, and healthy. We asked Student Body President Kevin Helgren to give some advice on how to handle these stressful times and prioritize what is truly important.
Here's what he said:
For those of you who I have yet to meet, my name is Kevin Helgren and I’m a senior studying neuroscience and psychology at The University of Texas. I’ve also had the privilege of serving as your Student Body President this academic year. With all of the stress that college brings, I wanted to share a few thoughts on mindfulness and self-care.
I’m willing to bet that every student on the Forty Acres entered college with a goal or two in mind. For most of us, that goal was to graduate with a degree and move on to the next chapter. Don’t get me wrong -- this is crucial, and the pursuit of academic excellence should remain at the top of your priority list; however, I’d encourage you to think about your time in college through a more holistic, well-rounded lens. Doing well academically is important, but the experiences you have beyond the walls of the classroom are valuable, too. Nothing is more important than your health, though. And that goes for all types of health: mental, physical, and emotional.
As you sift through pages of textbooks and make your way through piles of notes, ask yourself: is my current health conducive to studying? If the answer to this question is yes, pat yourself on the back and keep moving forward. If your answer is no, take a step back and reevaluate how you can more effectively practice self-care. I know, I know -- you’ve heard it time and time again. But have you ever given the idea of self-care real, genuine thought? If not, here are a few things to keep in mind
Sleep. Sleeping is so very important. I know all-nighters can be tempting -- especially when you have a lot of material to review before an exam -- but they won’t do you any favors in the long run. A well-rested brain is the best kind of brain. Sleep.
Eat. Eating is also important. And eating well is ideal. I’m not telling you to avoid Chick-fil-A or Wendy’s -- that’s good stuff -- but consider throwing in a few healthy options to feed your body and your mind. The “greens and grains” salad bowl from O’s Cafe in the McCombs School of Business is a personal favorite. Eat.
Do things that make you happy. Happiness is really, really important. Cheesy, right? But it’s so true. You don’t have to spend every waking moment leading up to an exam reviewing material. Study, then grab coffee with a friend; study, then go on a run; study, then go to the Blanton to check out the newest art installation. Do things that make you happy.
Being a college student is tough; being a student at The University of Texas is really tough. But it’s also really, really rewarding if you take an active role in creating a well-rounded experience for yourself. Invest in your studies, in your extracurriculars, in the city of Austin, and most importantly, in the people around you. And yes, invest in all of these things during your most academically rigorous weeks. You won’t regret it.
Please don’t hesitate to reach out to me directly if there’s ever anything I can do for you; for better or for worse, my contact information is all over the place. Hint: I’m a sucker for coffee, Pluckers, and early morning runs (ironic, huh?). I hope to see you around the Forty Acres soon!
Student Body President
The University of Texas at Austin"
Best wishes on exams, and hook 'em!