While the youth of today is probably more health-conscious than any generation before them, the pressure of university life can still push students to ignore their own health. Young people are also more likely to underestimate the long-term consequences of neglecting their health.
After all, health is one of those things people tend to value only when it’s gone, and young students are less likely to have dealt with a health issue in the past. And while there is a certain expectation that university students should be mature enough to take care of themselves, it will help for campus staff and administration to put together measures to help students take care of their health.
This help can take two primary forms, which are (1) encouraging students to maintain their own health and (2) helping students get regular checkups from healthcare professionals.
Most students leave high school with a vague sense of what is right when it comes to self-care. They know they should brush and floss, they know they should get some exercise done, and they know they should “eat healthy”, although they are probably unsure of the details of how to achieve all of the above.
College is a good time for them to learn the details, both of what they are supposed to do and what the consequences are if they don’t. The latter is crucial because it’s hard to take something seriously when you aren’t aware of the consequences.
Take oral health as an example. Most students will know that if they fail to take proper care of their teeth and mouth they will probably need dental work done. What they probably do not know is that dental work leads to more dental work. Repairs made by dentists last somewhere between 5 and 20 years, after which you need more dental work to get the dental work fixed again. Dental work can also increase the wear and tear between the teeth, leading to more dental work down the line.
In other words, a student who takes terrible care of their oral health in their 20s might be dooming themselves to a lifetime of endless dental appointments, discomfort, health problems, and — of course — dealing with a ton of dental costs. And that’s without even mentioning the long-term consequences associated with gum diseases, which afflicts over 40% of adults over the age of 30, and makes people more prone to suffer from diabetes, heart attacks, strokes, and more because bacteria living in your gums often finds its way into your bloodstream.
And students don’t know any of that. People tend to skip these details when explaining things to children, and adults don’t often discuss these topics.
Exercise and dieting have similar details and realities worth delving into. Like how lack of exercise makes people more prone to hormonal problems, or how the longer you stay on a sugar-rich diet the harder it will be to deal with food cravings once a student does decide to change their eating habits.
These and other basic types of information can all be made available to students on a simple self-care manual or leaflet, or just be explained in one big lecture for each class for college freshmen. Information can be a great source of motivation when it comes to encouraging people to be healthier.
People of all ages need regular checkups to take proper care of their health and catch health issues early. Getting a proper checkup and cleaning from a dentist can prevent long-term issues, and blood work can help doctors catch all sorts of diseases in their early stages. Therefore, it is important to encourage students to get these checkups at regular intervals.
Encouragement can be as simple as sending out an email every six months reminding students to set appointments for their checkups. As for getting students in touch with professionals, it’s a good idea to have the contact information of local professionals at hand, as students who are from out of town might not even know where to start looking.
It is also wise to have tools available to assist students in finding affordable dental care and healthcare in general. Money is another big barrier for students looking to get checkups, so if there are any government programs or NGO initiatives in place to help low-income students get tests and treatment, it’s a good idea to publicize them on campus and make them easy to find.
Of course, none of the ideas in this article will have a 100% success rate. But even if only a handful of students end up changing their behavior due to these efforts every year, that can still amount to a lot of people living healthier lives over the years.
And again, university students are adults. It is within their rights to choose not to care for themselves as well as they could. But it is important that they know they could do better and what will happen if they don’t. After all, choices made based on incomplete knowledge are barely choices at all. Health is our most important asset; everyone should be taught how to protect it.
Encouraging sustainability in schools and on campus is always a worthy cause. After all, even if we could fix all of the world’s environmental problems with the snap of a finger, making sure we don’t unnecessarily waste our drinking water or any other resources throughout our lives would still be the downright polite thing to do. Not to mention the moral thing to do.
That said, just because “sustainable” has become a buzzword in the last couple of decades, that doesn’t mean that educators should assume students know why sustainability is important. Or even what it means to try and live a sustainable lifestyle. With that in mind, let’s go over some of the simplest and most effective arguments that can be used when discussing sustainability in a classroom.
The moral argument
While there are many ways to define what constitutes a “sustainable lifestyle”, for this text we’ll be defining it as “A sustainable lifestyle that involves doing your best to reduce your use of Earth’s natural resources, paying particular attention to how much you waste intentionally or unintentionally.”
There are many good arguments in favor of attempting to be more sustainable. One of them is that Earth’s resources are limited, and we should do our best to preserve them. Not only for ourselves, but also for future generations.
And kids may argue — as adults do — that the conscientious actions of one person may not make a big difference in the long run. Whether or not that’s true isn’t relevant here, because the best argument against that notion is simply personal responsibility. Because whether or not it makes a difference, by not engaging in wasteful behavior you can at least make sure you’re not responsible for actively making things worse.
The financial argument
One good thing to point out in classroom environments is that becoming sustainable is not only getting easier and more affordable year after year but there are many areas in which sustainability can help you save money. Of course, most students in high school and even in college are not in a position where they get to make major purchasing decisions. But bringing this up is important because the public discourse on going green and being sustainable often frames these concepts as some sort of major personal sacrifice.
It can be hard to have a more sustainable lifestyle. And at times it will mean not getting something shiny, new, and cool because buying used goods is the more sustainable thing to do. But there are also situations where people get a financial incentive in favor of being sustainable. Sometimes those incentives are due to how technology is evolving, and sometimes they’re straight up a rebate or tax cut mandated by law. But no matter the case, it doesn’t change the fact that some sustainable options are becoming popular even among people who don’t particularly care for the environment. Popular examples of this include solar panels, LED lamps, electric cars, and more.
Talk to students. Tell them that even if they don’t want to make personal sacrifices to be sustainable, they can still make a difference just by keeping an eye out for sustainable solutions and technology that can also help them save money. The list of solutions that fit this description is long, and it’s only getting longer year after year.
Spending the last year with the COVID-19 pandemic has brought us a tide of new experiences. When the pandemic lockdowns first started and we were sent home from our classrooms and offices, we had to face the sudden adjustment to remote learning and working. Confined within four walls, our living arrangements and the associated lifestyle choices were magnified ten-fold. For some, the pandemic provided a much cherished opportunity to spend time with loved ones. For others, it created a stressful and oppressive situation. One thing for certain is that our lifestyle goals have changed in recent months, leading many Americans to consider moving to a different neighborhood, state, or even coast.
Sea Change, Tree Change, or City Change?
A marked shift in lifestyle that has happened since the onset of the pandemic is that many people are moving from the bright lights and big cities to the small towns and sprawling countryside. The obvious reason for this is to leave behind the dense nature of urban living and escape to the wide, open spaces where it is easier to social distance and avoid contracting the virus. But there are many other reasons for Americans to make the rural change as well. With many people furloughed and facing economic uncertainty, some individuals, or whole families, are unable to meet rent or mortgage payments and have to move in with their relatives. For families with children who would otherwise be stuck in city apartments, the suburbs and rural towns also offer much-needed space to play.
As the proverbial rat race ground to a halt during the pandemic, many people reevaluated their working lifestyles and chose to slow down and enjoy the important things in life. The proliferation of remote work and the growing online hustle economy have allowed people with remote income the freedom to live anywhere they choose. Suburban areas and rural towns are becoming increasingly attractive as they boast lower property prices and a range of natural and active lifestyle choices. Some popular lifestyle towns include Hood River, Oregon, which features plenty of on-water activities and an abundance of orchards and breweries, and Mill Valley, California, with its rustic charm and outstanding hiking trails.
While it may seem that the pandemic has exacerbated the exodus from the cities, many people are moving into urban centers as well. Interestingly, Baby Boomers make up a significant percentage of people moving back into the cities. These seniors are leaving the suburbs and heading to walkable cities with quality healthcare, upscale restaurants, and enriching cultural venues. Similarly, young Americans who are career-driven and not looking to start a family enjoy the energy of the big cities. One example is San Francisco which has a thriving technology economy, diverse and colorful neighborhoods, and more restaurants per capita than any other city in the US. The city also has 80,000 more dogs than children, go figure!
Moving On Out, Moving On Up
Regardless of whether you are moving from the country to the city or vice versa, packing your life up into boxes and getting it to a whole new place can present a considerable challenge. Moving requires a large amount of planning and can be a huge task to undertake without external assistance. While some people can make split-second decisions and move within weeks, most of us will take several months to prepare for the big move. Even before packing, crucial items to check off the moving list include organizing your current home for sale or return to the landlord, securing a place to live at your destination, and deciding how to transport your belongings safely from here to there.
Those with a small number of possessions who can do the heavy lifting on their own may choose to rent a van and do the move themselves, while others who have more things or less inclination for manual labor may prefer to leave the hard work to someone else and hire a reliable moving company. The best benefit to hiring a moving company is the (literal and metaphorical) weight that it takes off your shoulders. Various cross country moving companies provide a range of services from professional packing of fragile items to arranging storage units for your surplus stuff. Because professional movers are experienced in transporting all manner of items and executing complicated maneuvers like getting a large couch up a narrow flight of stairs, they can take away a lot of the stress of relocation.
Human beings are naturally nomadic people. We love to explore and will travel across the country to seek out the habitat of our dreams. Whether you are being called by the big waves in California, the homesteads of Texas, or the galleries in New York, there is a place that is perfect for you. A change in scenery can help to awaken an otherwise stagnant soul so why not relocate and start an exciting new chapter in your life?
Throughout history, humans have invented different ways to communicate that have constantly evolved over time. The most common form of communication was transmitted via what we now term “snail mail”. Writing letters was once the most efficient and accurate method of getting a message across for both work and leisure. For example, carrier pigeons were used by the military during World War I and II to transport important notes that eventually helped to save lives and win battles.
Technology has revolutionized the ways we communicate with one another. Although mail still exists as a form of communication and serves a crucial role in today’s society, the main methods in which we use to interact with each other have drastically changed with time.
First invented in 1849, the telephone was the first communication device that allowed us to send voice signals over wire. Over the next 60 odd years, telephones were widely used in homes and offices in the US, with 5.8 million telephone users registered by 1910. Making calls became the most effective method of communication, and relaying messages no longer took days or weeks as you could connect with friends and businesses simply by dialling a number.
The first telephone models, however, were bulky and could not be transported. The subsequent invention of the mobile phone in 1873 once again changed the landscape of communication. Having a mobile phone meant that you did not have to schedule a call or rush home to wait for a call — you could be contacted anytime, anywhere. This definitely made things more convenient, but the first mobile phone was still a rather bulky device that weighed almost 5 pounds.
Smartphones nowadays weigh less than 0.5 pounds, and can do much more than making and receiving calls since the creation of the internet. We can now make video calls, send an instant text, surf the internet, catch up on TV series, check out social media, or send emails using only our smartphones! Communicating and connecting with people are at the touch of our fingertips.
Emails, also known as electronic mail, were first used by academics and the military to send instant messages to one another within their organization’s internal network. Emails as we now know them were invented by Ray Tomlinson, who conceived the idea of sending instant messages to people outside of an internal network. It was not possible, prior to Tomlinson’s invention, to send an email to a specific person at a specific address. As the use of computers became more widespread, companies and individuals alike quickly adopted emails as a form of communication, and is now an invaluable communication tool in today’s world.
The rise of workplace instant messaging tools has reduced some need for email usage. Emails, however, remain as one of our main communication tools, especially for relaying messages to people outside of our network or in a more official capacity. This has in turn led to the development of an entire ecosystem around communication network technology. Nowadays, SD-WAN technology allows enterprises to use software to define and manage their networks creating an additional layer of reliability and flexibility.
But email is not all about communication. Email addresses are utilized as an identifier. For example, whenever you create an online account for a streaming service, you typically enter your email address as an identifier. You can only access the content that you paid for when you login to your account. If you are unable to remember your password to your account, you would have to request for a password reset typically via your email address. Emails are no longer only used as a form of communication, but as an identifier in much of our online activities.
Virtual reality gaming has been garnering interest in recent years. The idea of it is exciting: Strap on a pair of virtual reality goggles and gaming accessories, and you are instantly immersed in a virtual world in which you can interact with your gaming partners, see each other’s movements and hear one another’s voices with almost zero distractions from the outside world. Virtual reality is currently being used for military and medical training, and therapy, but its application does not end there.
Virtual reality can also help us facilitate better communication with one another without having to be in the same physical location. Most of our non-verbal communication is lost when we interact via text, phone or email. Hesitations, gestures, and body posture are some examples of what we do not see when we interact with communication tools. These non-verbal communication can be transcribed in virtual reality, which can in turn help us better understand one’s intentions and emotions in a discussion. Instead of catching up with friends over a video call, there is a possibility that we would be able to “meet” in the same virtual space and conduct a conversation face-to-face without being present in the same physical location. The world of virtual reality is full of potential to improve our standard of communication!
Technology has revolutionized the way we connect with the world. Our communication tools have evolved to make communication more efficient, convenient, and realistic, and it is thrilling to think about how technology will further shape the future of communication.