Nutrition Sciences Major Discusses Responding to Stress with Self-Compassion
As Beatrice Glaviano ’26 juggles work, a challenging courseload, and a chronic illness, she has learned to plan her weeks, to reflect on what she’s grateful for, and to be gentle with herself. She offers her support and encouragement to her fellow Chargers as they power on through the Fall semester.
September 19, 2023
By Beatrice Glaviano ’26
Hey, readers. For this entry, I strongly recommend grabbing your coziest blanket, favorite hot drink, and your favorite Taylor Swift album because we are about to enter the feels. At the end of this entry, you will find all the songs I listened to while writing this, so feel free to pluck a few from there as well.
While this blog aims to be about positivity, collegiate tips and tricks, and life on campus, it’s also about the life of a college student.
And everything that may come along with that.
This week has been a battleground, I think. Not only was I late for my infusion (I receive a type of immunosuppressants to handle Ulcerative Colitis, a type of autoimmune disease) and experiencing symptoms, but my courseload is becoming almost impossible to handle – even if I already knew how difficult of a semester I had signed myself up for.
As a pre-med student, I am held to a GPA standard of 3.5 and a science GPA of 3.3 minimum. Without these, I do not qualify for the program, and I lose that title. I remember how hard I fought for that title, too. I barely made the cut with a 3.43 at the end of my first semester with the understanding that I had to excel in the next, which I did, without a doubt. Finding one’s passion in education can really bump their grades up. But it’s also exhausting.
Right now, my heaviest classes are Anatomy & Physiology (lecture and lab), Chemistry (also lecture and lab), and EMT I as they rely heavily on memorization and the overall application of material. It’s just so much. Like, dear God. This entire week I have doubted everything and anything I have ever worked for, and while anxiety, depression, and chronic fatigue are associated with autoimmune diseases, I have never felt such hopelessness in such a long time.
For two entire days I couldn’t feel anything but stress in regard to how much work I actually needed to get done. Of course, there was some good within the bad though:
Studying with good friends for A&P
Receiving my first pair of tactical boots
Sweet potatoes. Don’t ask, just accept it
Dancing to jazz music while cooking
Overall, this week in college, there were a lot of tears. Tears waking up, tears over homework, tears over eating because sometimes eating is hard, tears going to sleep. This week hurt, basically. It hurt a lot.
But, it’s also Sunday night. I started this entry last night after I got home from work, but I passed out not too shortly after starting it. Looking back, perhaps things aren’t as fatalistic as I remember them, but the stress still haunts my body a little bit. After putting my stuff down, I cleaned my kitchen, made a warm cup of tea, munched on a protein bar, and promptly got to work. While my goal for tonight was to study more for Anatomy & Physiology, I’ve decided that I needed to let my brain breathe a little bit.
Multiple choice gives me a (false) sense of security anyways.
I think that I am doing my best in the sense that I feel like a massive imposter saying so. Theoretically, my grades are fine, but the 87 percent that’s sitting in Chemistry Lab is making me very upset. Not to mention, I dropped about $55 on the lab textbook today to help me with my quizzes and upcoming labs, and the transaction still hasn’t gone through. Either way, I really want that $55 back.
[Opens bank account to see that it’s still processing the payment]. Fluoride.
I’m honestly just glad this (hell) week is coming to an end. This upcoming Sunday, I’ve promised myself a hike, knitting, and coffee with plenty of sunlight and reading as well. I think I’ve perhaps earned that in one way, shape, or form. Actually, let’s see the week at a glance in terms of workload:
Five classes (Anatomy, Intro to Health Professions, Orgo, Bioethics, ChemLab)
Leg day at 6 a.m.
Send in all blog articles (including this one, haha)
Turn in Lab #1 by midnight (don’t tell him I didn’t do it yet)
Two classes (EMT I, Biolab)
Push Day at 6 a.m.
Complete lab journal
Practice giving vitals on people for fun
Save up for Littmann Classic III
Wednesday & Thursday:
Basically a repeat of Monday & Tuesday, minus the labs
Process microplastic samples in lab 10 a.m. - 12 p.m.
Pull Day, Leg Day #2 (Hamstring and glute focus)
Try to get sleep??
Complete all work
Work 12 p.m. - 4 p.m.
Pre-Med Club (PMEP; you should join!) 5 - 6 p.m.
I suppose, written out, it doesn’t look too horrible. My brain has a horrid habit of over -complicating almost anything known to man; it’s one of the key reasons why I’m really good at making croissants but god awful at creating brownies. Hooray.
Also, I’m displeased to report that I will be slowing down on the coffee addiction as my stomach is cranky and ready to throw hands. Second also: I just remembered my chemistry professor likes reading these. So that’s cool, I guess. While the amount of ADHD in this blog is very insane, I’ve just fully accepted that as a result of trying to study fifty bajillion things at the same time. The plan for tomorrow is to walk in, divide, conquer, snag a bagel and egg sandwich, and probably drink coffee even if my stomach and it decide to get into a fist fight.
Oh yeah, it’s all coming together.
Overall, I think this week was a good reminder of a few things:
I am actually chronically ill.
Most days, I often forget about it due to the treatment I’m on, which is great in a way: I don’t have to go through the symptoms it brings. On the flipside, though, the imposter syndrome is so real. How can I be sick if I look fine? Do I really need medication?
This week answered those questions in a heartbeat, and put many things into perspective. While I dislike my body (sorry body), I have an obligation to be grateful to it as it’s trying its best. At about 110-115lbs, I can still squat and deadlift 135lbs at the gym. That’s rather remarkable when you think about it, really, and gives me reason to make sure I care for my body the best I can
Patience & Grace with Self
Part of the reason why I was so slammed with work this week came from the fact that my illness was making it near impossible to study. I did try doing work at the infusion center, but that quickly failed when the monitor started beeping because I kept moving my arm, and also because I was overcome with exhaustion (immunosuppressants are rough).
Because of this, I had to have a talk with myself. Was I not doing work because I didn’t want to, or was I simply unable to? In this case, it would be the latter, but the guilt still ate me alive. I also missed classes this past week due to this, and while I have the accommodations for such, I hated doing it even if it was in the best interest for myself.
So, it’s been a lot of compassion for myself this week, which comes in the form of: sleeping, eating enough, studying while taking breaks, and staying on pace rather than trying to rush through everything at once.
It’s hard being someone who you haven’t been yet.
This past year, there has been so much. So much hurt, so much healing. This doesn’t even have to do with other people (though there is one person who comes to mind), but also with myself as well. How often did I just throw myself into situations that I knew I would get myself hurt in? How often did I degrade myself for not being something I simply wasn’t meant to be?
Finally: there are GPA Ups & Downs
Having an 87 in chemistry lab is nerve-wracking for a pre-med student. All I can really do right now is just bear with it and not let it eat me alive inside. I really do love my life. I want that to be clear. I am at a wonderful school with the best and most supportive of friends and faculty, and I am being taught everything that I wish to learn and do with my life.
Sometimes, academics are just hard, and our worth as human beings will never be defined by those numbers.
Maybe I’m a soft pre-med kid, but I’m trying my best with it. At the end of the day, I just want to see people living their best lives. On that note, it’s 10:30 p.m., and I’m ready to end this entry. I hope everyone has a lovely week with hopefully less amounts of stress. Always feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions, comments, or blog post ideas!!