Dartmouth Green at Dusk
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Hikes are a great way to maintain physical health

I've touched upon some crucial aspects of mental health at Dartmouth, and I strongly recommend you head over to my past blog titled, "An Introvert's Take on Mental Health at Dartmouth," as it goes hand in hand with what I want to convey here!

 

Now, if there's anything that might be taken away from the various blogs you read about Dartmouth, it is that you will have incredible amounts of freedom and responsibility when you begin college. What comes with these freedoms are choices that you must make in everyday life that either directly benefit you or benefit you in the long run (sometimes both and sometimes neither unfortunately.) Let's take a hypothetical scenario for example: You are asked by some close friends to go out on the weekend when you happen to have an open schedule. "Perfect." You think. The alternative to going out is not only catching up on some work that you got behind on, but also taking the time to shower, brush your teeth, and maybe even get a little workout in before bedtime. It's easy to choose the first option of going out with your buddies, but, as it turns out, the indirect benefit that I mentioned earlier lies within the second option. It is never really the option you want to choose, but it is almost always the most beneficial!

 

You could apply this hypothetical scenario in many contexts: Looking at a fresh chocolate chip cookie at '53 Commons (FOCO) or sleeping in versus waking up and going to the gym. The easier choice is almost always the one that will benefit you in the "here and now" – eating the cookie, sleeping in, going out on the weekends, etc. What I've learned across these types of situations is that they can take a huge toll, not only on your mental health, but especially your physical health! Making an active decision to "invest" in your physical health isn't an easy choice. It requires discipline, determination, and several other qualities that you could discern on your own. My point is, paying attention to your physical health is something a lot of college students struggle with because of these new levels of responsibility. Fortunately, I have noticed that, like mental health, Dartmouth does a great job of promoting physical health as well. For instance, the sheer location of Dartmouth allows you to stroll outside and take a walk among the beautiful campus and, if you're up for it, a light jog amongst the forest and along the beautiful Connecticut river. Similarly, I have realized that the people you surround yourself with can make it or break it for you in college! For instance, enveloping yourself around others who make their physical health a priority can have huge impacts on your mindset! Having someone to go to the gym or take jogs with is an excellent way to enhance your physical health!

Staying fit by playing some golf!
Club golf is an excellent way to get some exercise and stay fit while having some fun!

What I really want to get across here is that there are going to be countless decisions you have to make that could either directly or indirectly benefit you. With the obvious example of enhanced physical health (through exercising, maintaining personal hygiene, etc.) residing in the second option, it is easy to forget those small things that keep your body happy and healthy. So, know that you will have opportunities to do almost anything here at Dartmouth, but keep that direct vs indirect benefit choice in the back of your mind (hint: the indirect benefit is almost always the right decision!)

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