Ask Away

What to do when putting your own needs first becomes hard to do, tips on how to find the perfect student organization

More stories from Hailey Novak


Graphic created by Savannah Reeves

Q: Lately a lot of my friends jumped on the bandwagon of the “fit life.” I’ve been asked by them multiple times to go to the gym with them but I’m not in a place where I’m comfortable enough with my body to go along and work out in front of a bunch of other people. I know everyone has a starting point but I’m not at mine yet…

A: This is a topic I feel strongly about, having had many friends go in and out of the phase where they become super devoted to working out. First things first, no one should ever make you feel pressured to work out if you really don’t want to. It’s nice that your friends are including you in their gym outings, but if you’re not in a place where you want to work out whether it be exercising at all or in the public setting of the gym, then you have every right to decline. In my experience, many people become obsessed with this “fit life” mentality for the wrong reasons. I’ve always been a big believer in loving your body. In order to truly embrace that, you need to be able to not compare your body to others’. If it’s about eating healthy and generally working out to feel good, that’s one thing, but so often this turns into trying to lose weight and look a specific way which can quickly get out of hand before you even realize it. If you’re not in love with the body you have right now, forcing yourself to join your roommates/friends at the gym isn’t going to change this view you already have. If anything, you will probably compare yourself to those around you and potentially develop a more negative self-image. Work on loving the body you have and politely but firmly decline if you continue to feel pressure to jump on the bandwagon.

Q: I know it’s important to join campus organizations to be active and involved in college life but I’m having trouble knowing where to start. Where’s a good place to look for orgs to get involved with?

A: Campus organizations are a great way to get involved during your time at the university. The first place I would suggest looking is on the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire homepage itself. Towards the left hand side of the homepage is a list, among the options “Campus Life,” if you hover your mouse over that selection another sub-tab of lists should appear. Select “Get Involved.” From here there will be an option to select “Explore student orgs.” This takes you to a master list of all the student orgs offered on campus for you to browse through and find more about. Moving forward, you can contact those in charge of organizations you might be interested in joining to find more information and make sure it’s something you want to be part of. Luckily, there are so many options and there’s bound to be something that appeals to you!

Q: My roommate has been dealing with depression for the past year or so and lately it’s been getting worse to the point where they bring me down with them. I want to be a supportive roommate/friend but I feel like I’m stuck between a rock and a hard place because nothing I say seems to help. SOS.

A: As much as you might feel like it’s your responsibility to help your roommate deal with her mental illness, you also need to make sure you’re making your own mental health a priority. A few things to consider since I don’t know the full situation: has your roommate reached out to a professional counselor for help in dealing with their depression? If not, this is something I feel you could recommend/help them find. The campus offers free counseling for students in the Old Library at Counseling Services. If they’re already seeing someone about it, great. It’s difficult because everyone handles their feelings and emotions so differently, meaning the attention/support some people might need will also differ. Some prefer to handle things on their own and not share their feelings at all, while others, possibly including your roommate, may like to project their struggles onto others in order to feel better. I think it’s important you voice your own concerns to them as well. The best way to do this is to be honest but also gentle. Since they are clearly already struggling, it could be detrimental to make them feel like they are further burdening you. But finding a polite, yet honest, way to explain that you are dealing with your own issues is key. Everyone is so different there’s no easy solution I can offer without knowing the person/situation in detail. The best advice I can give is to possibly meet with a counselor yourself to get professional advice on how to go about handling this issue with your roommate. You can confide in the counselor with more detail so they can better assist you. Like I said though, putting yourself first is key and shouldn’t be something you put on the back burner.