Health Class: Welcome

Julianna French

As I’ve grown older, I’ve come to realize that I learned next to nothing in my high school health class, and subsequently find myself phoning my mother with questions more than I would like to admit. The more I talk to other college students, and even adults, the more I realize that the same seems to hold true for most people around the country.

We learn how to analyze the acts of those long since dead; find x, name elements, and write in MLA format. We work on mastering these skills for years because we are told this is what we need to know in order to be successful in college and life. We learn the very basics in elementary and middle school, and then we build on that knowledge in high school. In high school we only spend one semester learning about the very basics of how our bodies work, and how to take care of them. That’s it. As important as it is to learn and build on the other subjects, learning about how to care for ourselves is even more important. It’s hard to go on to be a productive member of society when your health is in the trash.

We all know that Megan Perry-Spears likes to send out the occasional email reminder telling us what we should consider doing to be the best versions of ourselves. She reminds us to get a good night’s sleep because it’s vital to learning. Why does lack of sleep impact our ability to learn and function? She asks that we don’t drink, or that if we do, that we drink less than we normally would and refrain from binge drinking. Why? What are the actual effects of alcohol besides a hangover the next morning? By the way, can you explain what a hangover actually is or why people suffer from them? How much do you know about periods, the spread of illness, mental health, safe sex practices, or maintaining healthy relationships? These are all practical things to know in order for us to be our best possible selves.

Our high school teachers liked to tell us they were preparing us for college and that the skills we learned in high school are what’s necessary to be successful. We graduate high school with a list of memorized facts but not the ability to take care of ourselves. Once again, to be successful in college and life, our health has to come first. You can’t accomplish much when your health is in the toilet. St. Scholastica is a community of bold and benedictine saints looking to make the world a better place. If you have health questions, feel free to send me an email at the address listed in the byline. Class is now in session.