Wednesday, August 15th, 2018...7:47 pm

Staying healthy during Grad School: My Story

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Guest post: Raymond Wong, Ph.D. candidate (Life Sciences)

Often times, we take our good health for granted.

As grad students, our determination to meet deadlines and appease supervisors generally results in some combination of the following: cutting sleep, skipping meals, and/or reducing exercise. Over a prolonged period (aka your graduate program), this imbalanced lifestyle alongside chronic stress can jeopardize our well-being. What is most frightening is that, despite how good our perceived fitness is or how healthy we eat, there is no real safeguard to absolutely prevent unwellness.

Over this summer, I had the most alarming experience in my life. What started out to be seemingly innocent symptoms turned out to be something that is life-threatening. Even more startling is that this was essentially a medical fluke, as I had none of the usual associated risk factors. This experience made me reflect in numerous ways, especially on how I conduct my life in regards to healthy living.

Prior, I was the typical stressed-out grad student doing grad student things (in my case, I was a culprit of all three of the bad habits listed above, usually against my better judgment). Being an avid distance runner as well as a competitive athlete in various sports, I assumed my body had impunity from serious illness, and thus expected it to endure my poor lifestyle choices. Evidently, this was not the case.

Moving forwards, I aim to achieve a healthy balance between work and life. This, I believe, is something that many grad students struggle with. All of us will have our own personalized version of this balance, and it might take time and experimenting to establish it. But putting in the effort is definitely worth it for your well-being. If you ever need consulting, the Graduate Student Wellness Portal is here to help!

-Raymond



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