The Charger Blog

Nutrition Sciences Major: ‘It’s Okay to Not Always Be Sunshine and Rainbows’

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 opens up about life’s challenges and how she copes with them, offering support and kindness to her fellow Chargers.

January 31, 2024

By Beatrice Glaviano ’26

The University of New Haven’s main campus in West Haven, Conn.
The University of New Haven’s main campus in West Haven, Conn.

Hey, everyone. Welcome back to the blog. I’d just like to preface this article and say that I do talk about eating disorders, mental health, and Kung Fu Panda. If you find any of these topics sensitive to your mental, emotional, or, potentially physical health, please click out of the tab. This blog strives to be a place where I can be transparent with the world around me, but that doesn’t mean everyone always has to listen to what I – a 19-year-old – have to say. On that note, grab your favorite beverage and maybe a snack.

It’s time to get emotional.

One of the hardest things that they tell you in recovery – and this applies to situations outside of my own – is that it’s not linear. There is no steady, perfect y=mx+b slope, but instead, a massive scribble that looks as though it was done by a toddler. Hooray.

Personally, I knew I had this coming. I’ve been in eating disorder recovery for a long time, sure, but nothing ever quite seemed to stick in the long term. Lately, there have been a lot of tears, an inability to look at myself in the mirror without tearing my reflection apart, and, frankly, too much time spent in the good ol’ noggin (AKA, the ‘nog’).

The biggest downside to studying nutrition is that the knowledge doesn’t just suddenly turn off. You could be in the middle of the world’s most juiciest, absolutely mind-blowing burger and still think:

Hey, isn’t processed food bad? How much saturated fat is in this? Am I eating too much? What are the calories of this thing? Did I just drop a pickle?? Nooooo!

When it comes to food or nutrition as a whole, I try to avoid labeling things as “healthy” or “not healthy.” It’s not the most reliant mindset to have, really, and it’s certainly not the most accurate either. In the long run, nutrition isn’t just food: it’s the people, mindset, habits, and messages we surround ourselves with. You could be in the best physical shape of your life and still detest everything you stand for. On my own part, I’ve been big; I’ve been small; I’ve been whatever the heck people classify as mid-sized, and, regardless of how I looked or how I thought I looked, my mindset remained relatively the same:

How could I be different?

I don’t know if anyone is familiar, but there’s this one scene in Kung Fu Panda (the original) where Po gives up trying to be the Dragon Warrior. After training for months, despite being belittled by the Fantastic Five – China’s greatest warrior – as well as the legendary Kung Fu master, Shifu, Po kept at it. Yet, when news reached the temple that Tai Lung escaped the equivalent of a Kung Fu Azkaban, doubt swept our panda protagonist off his feet: how on Earth could Po – a fat, clumsy panda – be the Dragon Warrior?

Shifu eventually catches up to Po, and asks: “Then why didn’t you quit? You knew I was trying to get rid of you, yet you stayed.”

“Yeah, I stayed,” Po replied exasperated. “I stayed because every time you threw a brick at my head or said I smelled, it hurt, but it could never hurt more than it did every day of my life being me. I stayed because I thought if anyone could change me, if anyone could make me not me, it was you!”

Po knew he was different. He was a panda – the only one in the village at that – and clearly didn’t fit in quite like anyone else, even at the noodle shop with his father who happened to be a goose. From the start, Po always seemed too big for the world around him. But perhaps that was only because he never thought the world was too small.

How often do we look for people to change us into something “better,” or to change ourselves for someone? Do we even want to change? I’ve found that so many people are genuinely happy where they are in their lives, yet upon comparison to others, begin to believe they aren’t.

Similar to Po, for the vast majority of my only 19-year-long life, I’ve spent it wishing I was someone else. Granted, I’ve definitely made progress – I did some cool research stuff, worked two cardiac arrests, got punched in the face, ate a donut, laughed, cried, cry-laughed – but there is still so much to heal. For the past four (or more) years, I’ve been on the run from myself. My life is made of distraction: the blog, research, homework, EMS, normal work, other work, socializing, studying, more work, sleep, eat, shower, do another assignment.

Where on earth does living life fit into all of that?

Maybe it’s just me, but when break ended and we all got back onto campus, I felt this immediate pull of exhaustion. Perhaps it was the weather, or the wind chill, or realizing how bad the Bixler-Celentano wind tunnel is (again), but maybe it was just, y’know:

Being tired.

"It’s okay to just be sad."Beatrice Glaviano ’26

Being a student is challenging, no matter what area you’re studying. Each major, concentration, and/or minor will have its difficulties and simplicities, but we all follow a very similar pattern: eat, sleep, work, study, and repeat. If you were to throw me, nutritional pre-medical sciences, into a business analytics class, I would do very, very poorly as I am horrible at math. Likewise, I’m not too sure how a business major would fare in Organic Chemistry II. However, college is an environment in which academic ability isn’t the only thing being challenged. It’s your communication skills; how you take care of yourself through the habits, foods, and lifestyle that fulfills you; the way that you interact with people on a professional, platonic, or possibly romantic level. All of these factors add up on top of your coursework, and hardly anyone takes the time to acknowledge them.

I’ve noticed, especially within myself, that individuals tend to over-complicate their emotions, or label them as good or bad. Now, don’t get me wrong: emotions can be very, very complex and are oftentimes blended into some weird emotional mish-mash, but also...

It’s okay to just be sad. There may not be any greater meaning behind it, either. You could be sad because your fish died, or that your favorite food truck isn’t coming in. Both of these situations are different degrees of the emotion of sadness. Our emotions throughout our lives will forever be dynamic. There will be days where everything is great; you got through all of your homework, made some good money, and now you’re gonna go watch Top Gun with The BoysTM and absolutely demolish a pepperoni pizza.

And then your laptop breaks. The emotional support water bottle your mom gave you gets lost in your college hubbub. You’re crying into your pillow because everyone seems to be out for you and somehow, everything is all your fault. And you don’t even know why it’s your fault to begin with. It just is.

"I will encourage all of you to try and find one thing every day that makes you happy."Beatrice Glaviano ’26

I understand that as we are still in the throes of the winter season, seasonal depression can be difficult to work with. However, I will encourage all of you to try and find one thing every day that makes you happy. It doesn’t have to be big (or small), but it must bring a little bit of joy into your life. Joy is joy, regardless of how much there is.

Bringing this article to a close, we all have our own stuff going on. This article isn’t me comparing my problems to anyone else’s, or trying to say that I have it the worst, but what I am trying to say is:

It’s okay to not always be sunshine and rainbows. It’s okay to have a bad day, week, or even month because you know what? It won’t last forever. That’s the best thing about life, in my opinion; nothing stays the same, and you can always count on something to change or be in the process of changing, even if you don’t think it is. Trust in yourself and the world around you.

Whatever you’re going through, it’s going to get better. At whatever stage of life you’re in, realize that things are impermanent, and there is some light at the end of the tunnel. You’ll get your spark back. I promise.

I hope everyone is having a smooth transition into the semester, and if anyone feels as though they may need some extra support, I’d definitely look to CAPS (on-campus counseling services) or finding a therapist that you can trust and work with. There is no shame in asking for help. Trust me.

Take care everyone.

With all the love, hugs, peace, love, and peanut butter,

Beatrice Glaviano ’26 is a nutrition sciences major at the University of New Haven.