What Happens on Spring Break Doesn’t Stay on Spring Break: What to Know About Sexual Consent as Spring Break Approaches

Sexual consent is the latest buzz around college campuses. Between all of the requirements by your school and all of the information the government and your favorite celebrities are providing, you are bound to have heard about this already. As spring break approaches, it’s important to review what sexual consent actually means. It’s also important to remember to set personal boundaries for yourself as well as respect others’ personal boundaries.

So what exactly is consent? According to the American College Heath Association, meaningful consent is a sober, mutual, honest, and verbal agreement that cannot be coerced. It is a process, and it has to be discussed every step of the way. Just because somebody is okay with doing one thing does not mean they are okay with doing another. Consent also cannot be assumed or implied. Things such as the way somebody dresses, body language, or a lack of a response cannot imply consent. It must be a verbally communicated, mutual decision between both partners. Even if you’ve engaged in sexual behavior before, consent must be discussed each and every occasion.

Another thing to keep in mind regarding consent is setting boundaries. Everybody has their own personal boundaries. Set yours before any sexual engagement is going to occur so you know what you will and will not do before anything happens or goes too far. Also, practice verbalizing your boundaries. It can be awkward with your partner at first, but it’s important to get the hang of expressing your boundaries without feeling embarrassed or ashamed so no lines are crossed. Also remember to respect others’ boundaries. If they aren’t comfortable with doing something, don’t force it. If you are with somebody who doesn’t respect your boundaries, then he or she probably isn’t the right person for you.

All of these things are important to keep in mind while enjoying spring break with your friends. If you have further questions about consent or setting boundaries, the article Consent: Setting Boundaries is available on the MyStudentBody site. Once you are logged in, you can access it using this link: https://www.mystudentbody.com/Members/Student/Article.aspx?id=3938&from=StudentCenter&ContentType=0 .

You can also contact MyStudentBody @ mystudentbody@hazelden.org

Have a safe, fun, and healthy spring break!

Overheard on Campus: To Party, or Not to Party

Q: “My boyfriend refuses to go to a party with me this upcoming year because of his fear of getting caught and not being able to do sports. I want to go to one party this year just because I’ve never been to one but I’m afraid whoever I trust to go with won’t keep me in my drinking limit or will get in trouble because of their own drinking. How should I deal with this situation?”

A:       Curiosity about parties is normal. Now that you are on your own, you have the freedom to choose whether or not to attend parties or start drinking. If your boyfriend does not want to attend parties, that is his right too. It can be risky, especially for student athletes because they could not only get in trouble with the law and the school, but with their coaches as well. Be understanding and respect your boyfriend’s choice.

Underage drinking, or even being around underage drinkers, always puts you at a risk to get in trouble with the law and your school. These are all things to keep in mind when you are making the choice to drink or attend parties at college. Other students have similar concerns as you. You and your friends should respectfully support and look out for one another when it comes to parties and drinking, but you are ultimately responsible for yourself. You need to keep yourself within safe limits and plan ahead. It’s always smart to limit your consumption so you remain in control of your choices, make sure to eat before drinking, and arrange for safe transportation home so you don’t have to rely on others later on.

Know that you and your boyfriend (or friends) can do other things that don’t put you at risk for getting in trouble. There are plenty of activities on campus that don’t involve drinking. Some campuses have movie nights or game nights, so consider those types of ideas when deciding your options. Talk with your boyfriend and other friends to see what kind of fun activities they’re interested in doing instead.

5 Tips For: Time Management

According to college students (see MyStudentBody “The Real Deal” Video: “Balancing Act”), time management is one of the biggest challenges when starting college. For many of you, this is your first opportunity to be in complete control of how you spend all of your time. Your parents aren’t right over your shoulder, making sure you go to class or do your homework. While this is a huge step, it is also a big responsibility. In college, a lot is thrown your way. Learning how to manage all of the opportunities can be hard. You may feel that 24 hours in day aren’t nearly enough for your schoolwork, social life, and extracurricular activities, not to mention finding time to eat well and get a good night’s rest.

Many of you have seen this image on social media:


This is funny because it’s pretty accurate. Even so, college has more to offer than just schoolwork and a new social life.


For many college students, this image is a little more accurate:


So how do you do it? How do you fit everything into your schedule without letting stress take control? The answer? Time management. Here are some tips to help you learn how to manage your new college life.

Tip One: Get a planner!

If your school has given you a planner, use it!

Write down all of your important assignments and extracurricular activities each day so you don’t forget that 5-point homework assignment because you’re too busy writing that midterm paper for another class.


Tip Two: Only take on as much as you know you can handle.

Find a balance between all of your activities. If you’re taking 18 credits, cut back on your work hours. Or, if you need to work a lot, cut back on the number of credits that you’re taking.

Figure out what’s most important to you and make those your top priorities. If you don’t have time for intramural soccer, flag football, AND softball, choose one or two that you really want to do, in order to have time for other things on your priority list.


Tip Three: Use your downtime appropriately.

More than likely, you won’t be busy every minute of every day. You’ll have some downtime. Use that time in the best possible way.

If you don’t get enough sleep at night, use the 15 minutes between activities to take a power nap. Even 10 minutes of rest can help restore your energy.

Use your downtime to look over your notes from your classes that day. It’s usually recommended that you spend about 2 hours a day studying for each hour that you spend in class. As a recent college graduate, I know that some days this is simply not possible. You just have to do the best that you can to keep up with your schoolwork.

Instead of spending time going all the way to your student dining center, try packing a meal or a snack while you are running from place to place.


Tip Four: Seek support.

Form a study group when preparing for exams. That way, you can bounce ideas off of one another. You’re also getting some social interaction at the same time.

Talk to your student advisor about time management help. They see students all the time who are dealing with the same things.

Take advantage of your tutor center. A lot of schools offer free tutoring services that can help a lot with schoolwork.


Tip Five: Find time to relax!

Take time out of your day for yourself. It’s important to spend some time focusing on your mental health. Try meditation or yoga, or see what your rec center has to offer.

So much of your time is taken up by things that have to be done, so it’s crucial to spend time doing things that you want to do.



It may seem impossible to find time to yourself, but don’t stress! If you follow these tips and work on managing your time appropriately, you can get everything done!


For more time management tips, check out this post on our blog as well!

New Post in Advice!: “Am I obligated to tell my roommate about my depression, anxiety, and/or eating disorder?”

This is a complicated question because the answer depends on personal preference. If you are facing any of these challenges, it is strongly advised that you talk with someone you trust. It doesn’t need to be your roommate, but many times it may help to simply share your concerns. You can find comfort in a family member, friend, counselor, or doctor. Most important is to talk someone who will listen and be objective.

You are not obligated to tell your roommate personal details about your life. But when you live with someone, he or she may sense something is wrong and confront you. The people around you can see changes in you, both positive and negative. Sharing with them – letting them get to know you – can help bring perspective to your life. Over time, you’ll be able to judge whether you can trust your roommate with your most personal thoughts and feelings.

When you begin college, feelings of stress are completely normal. Handling stress differs for each person. Some people aren’t affected much by change, but others have a harder time and that’s okay! If change is something you struggle with, the stress of starting school will probably make it worse – and there may be the temptation to cope using alcohol or other drugs. But there are many ways to cope with stress that are not physically or mentally harmful. Try your student health center. Often times they will have a confidential counseling or wellness program at little or no cost to you. Counselors are trained to help you find answers and direction. They work with students every day and can offer support as you overcome concerns, stay healthy, and maintain your well-being.

So, whether or not you choose to talk to your roommate about what you are going through, know that there are other options to seek comfort and help. As mentioned before, talking may help you overcome these challenges and please know that there are people out there that want to help!  

Five Tips for Staying Healthy During Summer Break

When the stress of the college year comes to an end and summer rolls around, it’s tempting to take advantage of your freedom by lying on the couch and watching episodes of your new favorite show. While this is okay once in a while, it’s important to spend time doing things that keep you physically and mentally healthy. Here are 5 tips for staying healthy during the summer months.

Tip 1: Exercise
Exercise doesn’t have to be an intense workout. As little as 10 minutes of exercise three times a week does a lot for your well-being. Some summer-friendly exercise ideas include:
• Walking, biking, or jogging on local trails
• Swimming in your local lake or pool
• Playing volleyball
• Playing Frisbee

Tip 2: Stay hydrated
Hydration is key during the summer months, especially if you follow our advice above. It’s easy to become dehydrated, even if you think you aren’t doing anything to cause you to lose water. Buy a refillable water bottle so you don’t have so much plastic waste. It’s easy to stay hydrated when you have your water bottle with you most of the time! According to the Mayo Clinic website, < http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-living/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/water/art-20044256> you need 9-13 cups (2-3 liters) of water per day (depending on your gender, males typically need more). Of course this can vary per person, depending on your level of physical activity and weather conditions.

Tip 3: Protect your skin
Now it’s easier than ever to apply sunblock. Many brands offer spray-on sunscreen, which takes less than a minute to cover your entire body. Plus, you can usually still get a tan through your sunblock; the sunblock just protects you against those rays that can cause sunburn, wrinkles, and skin cancer.
SPF 15 is generally the lowest SPF you should use. Reapply sunblock often, especially if you’re swimming or exercising, because water and sweat can wash that sunscreen right off.
For more information about choosing the best sunblock for you, visit The American Melanoma Foundation Website.

Tip 4: Keep a little structure in your life
When summer starts, most college students just want to relax. The semester was stressful and you want to be lazy. However, without the structure that school offers, you may get a little bored.
A part-time job is one way to keep structure in your life. Lots of places are hiring for seasonal work in May and early June. Even if it’s a few hours a week, it’s still something to do, plus you’re making some extra spending money for yourself.
Volunteering is another way to add structure. It’s a great way to help out in your community. This could be something that you enjoy doing, such as volunteering at a local Humane Society or a thrift store. You could even find something that goes with your major. For example, many pre-med and nursing students volunteer at a local hospital to get some experience. There are a lot of options, so do some research to find what works for you.
Another benefit of keeping a regular schedule in the summer? It will make it easier to get up in the morning once you go back to school.

Tip 5: Eat well
Summer is the perfect time of the year to start – or even continue – your health kick. You have more time on your hands (and in some cases, more food options in your parents’ house) to cook some tasty, healthy food. Summer is a great time to finally try out those Pinterest recipes that you’ve pinned throughout the school year.
Check out your local farmer’s market for fresh fruits and veggies. The markets are fun and you can get healthy food for a low price, without all the nasty preservatives that are in ramen noodles. Find a farmer’s market near you on <http://www.localharvest.org/>.

When “Home For the Holidays” Doesn’t Feel Like A Break: Difficult Family Relationships

For many people, the break between the fall and spring term at school is a welcome chance to rest, recharge, and reconnect with family. However, sometimes it isn’t that simple. Over the next few days, we’d like to provide some suggestions and resources that might help you with common problems that people face year-round, but may find to be especially burdensome during a time when so many people feel pressure to have “perfect” families and family moments.

Today, let’s talk a bit about some problems that might arise if there are issues affecting family relationships…

Past or on-going abuse (physical, sexual, or emotional)

Messages about the value of family are common throughout the year, but they are especially pervasive at this time. Sadly, though, sometimes the people who you should have been able to trust the most turn out to be the ones who hurt you the most. Whether through criminal acts of overt abuse or more subtle on-going attempts to use emotions in a hurtful way, many people go home for the holidays with a sense of dread because of dysfunctional or abusive family relationships. Sometimes the bad feelings or abuse originate from only one person in the family that everyone fears, and sometimes it’s a free-for-all where everyone in the family lashes out.

For an adult person whose family dynamics are a source of pain and sadness, one of the possibilities to consider is to simply not go home. Staying where you are or going to spend time with sympathetic friends or family members who are more supportive might be the simplest option. However, that may not be practical for various reasons, such as if the family members you have a hard time dealing with have some control over your finances, or if you just can’t bring yourself to skip out on the family gathering, no matter how painful it might be.

In that case, you might benefit from trying to prepare yourself mentally and emotionally for the potential issues you are likely to face during this visit. One way to do this is to try and brace yourself to deal with certain types of people. You might also find some useful advice for different scenarios here.

Whatever path you choose, just remember that you are a valuable person who deserves to be treated with respect, and no-one has the right to hurt or abuse you. If you need someone to talk to about difficulties with your family during the holidays, you may benefit from calling a service like ULifeline or another hotline that might fit your particular needs.

How would you say or do to help a friend who was dreading going home for break?

Got a minute (and two seconds)? Check out this anti-sexism shampoo ad

An Upworthy link showed up in my Facebook feed today, and it led to this video.

It’s a really unusual approach to selling shampoo, honestly, and I applaud their efforts to draw attention to the challenges that many women still face in their careers. It’s reminiscent of the popular Dove ads that were first released a few years ago that showcased a broader (although still fairly conventional) array of body types, ages, and ethnicities than you would normally see in mass market drug store brand marketing. I like what they are trying to do here, but I wonder if it wouldn’t have been more effective if it transitioned from old-style footage of women to current day footage of women, thus illustrating a change. Doing it as “men compared to women” illustrates the problem, while doing it as “then compared to now” might illustrate the progress and/or the desired trend line.

What are your thoughts? When considering any aspect of life, are you more motivated by a description of the challenges you might face, or the progress that’s been made in a specific area that relates to your life? We’d like to hear from you.

(Oh, and PS– in case it isn’t obvious, sharing the ad isn’t an endorsement of the product. Your shampoo and grooming choices are completely up to you. We think you’re awesome no matter what sort of cleansing products you use!)