Tue. Oct 4th, 2022

What makes you happy? That should be an easy question to answer, but people are always thrown back a bit when I ask. Responses vary, but for the most part, it always boils down to seeking connection. It’s ironic that we should be lacking this very thing on campus. While it appears that we engage with each other in a variety of ways, something is missing.

We’ve created these images for ourselves that we try to uphold to one another. But so many of us are struggling to find meaning and find peace with a myriad of occurrences—past, present, and future—that in many cases the image just has to give.

Instead of reaching out to people and asking for help, we turn to external objects and superficial relationships to find happiness. So many of us walk around campus with our necks down, plugged in, and checked-out from the people around us. While we’re checking our phones and trying to uphold the images we’ve created, we are losing the present moment.

The universe dangles people into our lives and places them where and when they need to be there. While we’re replying, posting, sharing, liking, and strategizing our next online move, we’re missing direct signs.

We’re ignoring signals from our surroundings in reality and settling for a tangible approval in virtual-reality.

There’s a lot of pressure, there’s no doubt about it. We don’t feel like we have time to disengage. Our schedules are so jam-packed it seems unrealistic to do what makes us happy everyday. But it’s not. It’s not only doable, but it’s vital. When we take time out of our day to do what makes us come alive, everything else falls into place.

When we fully engage in everything, especially our engagements with others, we are giving that task or interaction our full attention. The tasks are completed better and your time with that person is more productive and impactful. We are all in this together and looking for fulfillment, for passion, for excitement, for happiness, but we disregard how much we can learn from one another.

So, next time you see someone, instead of asking “How are you?” get down to the real stuff. Ask them what brings them joy, what excites them, what makes them come alive. There’s so much we can learn just from each other. West Chester University is such a beautiful place to go to school. We have the ability in this area to be not just a campus, but rather a community, and a family. So let’s be here for each other. Let’s help one another find balance. When we stabilize our relationship with ourselves, the rest will follow.

What does it mean to live a balanced lifestyle? Jerry Lopper said, “It’s whatever a person says it is. Balance in life is not measurable in hours or number of responsibilities. It’s measured in emotions. A life is balanced when it feels balanced. A balanced life has a certain overall feeling of being right. It feels natural, normal, and appropriate for the individual experiencing it. Each person will reach that balanced feeling with a different mixture of activities and responsibilities.”

So if that’s the case, that we all have a different way of getting here, then we just have to help each other. But we all have heard time and time again that you can’t help people until you help yourself. So rather than trying to push others into finding balance, let’s support each other so that we can each get ourselves there.

As a means to support the growth of myself and fellow WCU residents, I give you “Eat Real And Grow.” By helping individuals improve their nutritional habits and introducing alternative methods for healing, we can greatly improve their mental and physical conditions.

We work with various organizations and offices to collaborate sustainability efforts at the individual, university, and community levels. As a group, we provide people with viable skills to find balance in their overall wellness, mind, body, and spirit. We will soon be launching our Educational Entertainment event series, so we need your perspective. No one else has it. We want to support your growth. Tell us what it is that makes you happy.

The movement has merely just begun. I do not know how small or large of an impact this will have, but I am extremely hopeful. What I do know is that bringing good people together who are also hopeful, can only lead to more positivity and growth. I want all of you to help us mold the movement. I don’t want it all to come from a select few. There’s no way it possibly could. This is all of us. This is bigger than us. When we all come together and connect how we are supposed to, it’s unimaginable to speculate what this could lead to. Let us all allow the power of our hearts, our intuition, love, hope, breathe, spirit, energy, and our minds cultivate a community that allows us all to be healthy, and most importantly happy. Come make waves with us. Reach out to us.

Tell us how you’ve found balance, what makes you come alive, and we will try our best to make it happen for you on campus through the resources we’ve got.

Contact us with your feedback and ideas at EatRealAndGrow@gmail.com. Find us, follow us, and show some love @EatRealAndGrow.

As a soon-to-be graduate in the upcoming spring, I do not want this to end when my time here does.

I am thrilled to announce that Ms. Leann Cotton will be continuing this movement. I see the passion in her eyes, and I think you all will too.

We are setting up a framework that will be easy to carry on and implement at other universities and communities.

Join myself, Leann, and many others in seeing this through.

It’s time, my friends. I’ll talk to you all soon.

Ashley Strempfler is a fourth-year student majoring in communication studies with minors in business and technical writing and web technology design. She can be reached at AS782685@wcupa.edu.

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