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 I want every week on campus to be a bustling idyllic crash-in experience where I hop from event to event, absorbing niche drops of information like I am the Dead Poets Society. I want to be an engaged student that grasps the opportunities of our secluded social-biome tightly. 

Did you know that’s really freakin hard? 

Showing up is worth it. It’s what I’m paying for. It brings me joy. Showing up also brings me headaches and chronically achy hips from too-tall chairs. It brings me social exhaustion when I just don’t think I can make eye contact with another person, but if I don’t they’ll think I’m weird or rude or ugly. It takes my spoons, and sometimes I forget to leave enough to go to the dining hall after a club meeting (or to eat at all).

And showing up is still worth it because I love people, and conversations, and critiques, and shared knowledge, and fun (like Kahoot and coloring). 

If this teeter-totter feels relatable – here are five sorta random self-care tips I’m carrying close to my head this year. You are welcome to share. 

Hot Packs Save Me: Get a microwavable hot pack, use it all the time. Period cramps? Use it. Achy shoulders? Use it. Cold feet? Use it. Really uncomfortable lecture hall? Most buildings have a microwave in them, bring that sucker to events with you and USE IT.

Ibuprofin and Acetominophen can be Preventative: You don’t have to wait until you have a migraine or severe muscle aches to take the appropriate dosage of your favorite anti-inflammatory and pain-killer. If the Sustainability Building gives you a headache every time – take something before you go in there. 

The Food Pantry: We have one. If you have dietary restrictions, sensory issues, or are just kinda picky and broke (me too), use it. It might be easier to make it to that presentation if you know you can go right home and microwave a can of soup after instead of negotiating with the sticky buffet. 

Take Long Sitting Showers: I have no idea how long the light-timer is in my dormitory bathroom but I figure it’s just about how long a post-event self-soothing shower should be. Either use a sturdy flat shower caddy you can flip upside down in the shower to use as a seat, or find an appropriately sized bin you can sit on. 

Take Breaks: We have to realize no one is holding us hostage in our seats when we go to events. If you start to feel achy, stiff, distracted, or just plain done, take five minutes to wander and re-adjust. Find that microwave and warm up your hot pack. Sit in a new seat when you come back. Leave early. It’s ok. 

Sometimes showing up is compromise, not with ourselves, but with social standards that dictate it’s weird to take care of, and prioritize, our pain flare-ups, social exhaustion, and bodily needs. It’s not weird, it’s good. Share it.  

BrierMae is an English, Creative Writing Major. They are a femme force of action and food enthusiast. They are invested in caring for their community through writing, conversation, and as many cups of tea you can drink.
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