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You Deserve to Be Here

The struggles of Imposter Syndrome.  

Roughly 10% of people in the world go on to pursue a graduate-level degree. Out of all of the people in the world, you are one of 10% of people to commit to continuing your education. This alone is something to celebrate, a reason to be proud of yourself. So why is it that we discredit ourselves for these achievements by questioning our right to be in these spaces? Imposter syndrome can be defined as “persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the fear of being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success” (Merriam-Webster, 2021). This response is far too common among graduate and professional students. Maybe your path has shifted, and you’re continuing your education with a different focus and concentration than you had as an undergraduate student. Or perhaps you feel a disconnect tuning into Zoom calls during a pandemic, creating more space between you and your program. Or maybe you simply struggle with elements of self-doubt in a variety of situations, and graduate and professional studies are no different. Whatever the reason, your struggle with imposter syndrome is valid and reasonable, and you are certainly not alone. 

Regarding this past year, in particular, the standard run-ins with imposter syndrome may have been heightened. Because of increased isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the ability to establish community and relationships with peers, educators, and various faculty members has been all the more difficult. This lack of community enables and creates a greater space for you to lose yourself in intrusive thoughts and harmful narratives around self-doubt. In reality, many graduate and professional students feel the same. Without the foundation to connect with others to express similar worries and concerns, imposter syndrome can be elevated and even more isolating. 

So how do you combat this? It may be more complex than ridding yourself of intrusive, imposter syndrome thoughts completely, but here are a few ways you can challenge these narratives: 

  • Remember to separate facts from feelings. The truth is, you were admitted to your program because the university sees great potential in you and your work, specifically in your field of choice. Although you may feel as though you don’t belong, the truth is, you are right where you should be.  
  • Acknowledge the moments you feel you don’t belong. What is triggering this response? Why are you feeling this way? What are some concrete examples of why this isn’t true?  
  • Reach out to fellow students. Your peers are experiencing similar things. Even if you know just one person in your program or another, talking through these feelings can help and often show that you are not alone in your worries.  
  • Tell yourself it is okay to make mistakes. Mistakes and failures do not prove that inner voice saying you don’t belong, right. Mistakes are part of the journey, they are inevitable, and they are important milestones of growth. Do not let these moments discredit you, instead let them push you further.  
  • Always give yourself grace. If a friend came to you with anxieties around the program they started, expressing that they are not good enough, don’t deserve to be in the program, or don’t belong, what would you say to them? Treat yourself how you would treat this friend. You know their strengths, their abilities, their determination. Often, it is so easy to see this in others, but not ourselves. Be kind to yourself. Understanding, compassion, and support for yourself will go a much longer way than you may think.  

If you feel you need extra support, there are always resources available. Sometimes talking these worries out with a licensed professional through Counseling and Consultation Services is the best approach. Even a conversation with a Wellness Coach through the Student Wellness Center can be helpful. Most importantly, know that you are not alone in this struggle, and above all, you deserve to be here, and we’re so happy you are.  

References:  

Merriam-Webster. (n.d.). Impostor syndrome. In Merriam-Webster.com dictionary. Retrieved March 25, 2021, from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/impostor%20syndrome 

-Graduate and Professional Student, Wellness Coaching  

Getting Comfortable with Sex Talk 

Sex… Easier done than said. 

Talking about sex may make you feel vulnerable. You might feel afraid of being judged or rejected. But great sex doesn’t always come naturally! Discussing things like STI (sexually transmitted infection) status and sexual boundaries and preferences before engaging in sexual acts can make you feel reassured and confident. Communicating your feelings about sex and intimacy will take your relationships to a whole new level.  

For many students, college is a time in which they are exploring their bodies and having new experiences. This can be both exciting and intimidating! Once you get to know your own body, you can take better control of your pleasure. Learning how to communicate the things you like (and dislike!) with your partners can make the experience better for everyone involved. So how do you do it? 

Talk to your friends about it! If it feels too intimidating to bring up a new idea or constructive criticism to your partner, try talking to your friends about it. If you feel more comfortable with them, this can give you some practice with just saying the words out loud! 

Send it in a text! If you are not comfortable saying it to their face quite yet, shoot them a text instead. Let them know that you enjoyed X and Y that they did last time, and it would be cool if you could try Z next time. As you spend more time talking about sex with your partners, it will get easier to do. 

Bring it up to your partner in a non-sexual setting. If there is something especially intimidating you want to discuss, like STI status or a fetish or kink you would like to incorporate into sex, bring it up when things aren’t hot and heavy. A cool and collected environment can take the pressure off you and your partner and allow for more open discussion. 

Be vocal in bed. Your partner should enjoy making you feel good. They just need to know how! Don’t be afraid to say what you want. Try saying things like: “higher,” “slower,” or “a little to the left!” It shows that you’re really into what they’re doing and can make it that much more enjoyable for your partner as well.  

All of this starts with getting to know your body better. What do you like? What do you dislike? What do you wish your partners did more often? Explore yourself and learn what “great sex” means to you. Then share it with your partners! When you feel comfortable asking for what you want, your partners probably will too. Great communication means great relationships. Build that trust and build that confidence!  

Resources: 

-Kayla Bumgarner, Safer Sex Wellness Ambassador 

 

Cooking (and Saving Money) on a College Budget 

College can feel stressful and overwhelming at times which can make dining out or ordering food appealing and convenient; however, the cost can add up! Check out the cost of homecooked meals versus their counterparts at various restaurants for examples, along with tips and ideas for how to save money by making your own food.   

Pad Thai 

With chicken, rice noodles, bean sprouts, carrots, and peanut sauce  – Makes 4 servings 

  Tai’s Asian Bistro  Home 
Cost per Recipe  $10.95  $14.48 
Cost per Serving  $5.48  $3.62 

 Pasta Bowl 

With breaded chicken, marina sauce, chickpeas, broccoli, carrots, zucchini, tomato, and parmesan cheese  – Makes 5 servings 

  Piada  Home 
Cost per Recipe  $9  $14.13 
Cost per Serving  $4.50  $3.68 

Chipotle-Style Burrito Bowl  

Using frozen grilled chicken, canned black beans, mild salsa, cheese, fajita veggies, and guacamoleMakes 2 servings 

  Chipotle  Home 
Cost per Recipe  $9.60  $6.23 
Cost per Serving  $4.80  $3.11 

Cheese pizza 

Using a crust mix, stewed tomatoes, shredded mozzarella, and oreganoMakes 4 servings 

  Donatos  Home 
Cost per Recipe  $5.29  $2.93 
Cost per Serving  $5.29  $0.73 

Bibimbap-Inspired Bowl 

With white rice, soy-seasoned tofu, fried egg, kale, carrots, cucumber, green onions, chili garlic sauce, and kimchi  – Makes 2 servings 

  Bibibop  Home 
Cost per Recipe  $8.29  $4.12 
Cost per Serving  $4.15  $2.06 

Sushi 

With salmon, edamame, avocado, carrots, onion, cucumbers, black sesame seeds, and yum yum sauce  – Makes 4 servings 

  Fusian  Home 
Cost per Recipe  $9.00  $16.04 
Cost per Serving  $9.00  $4.01 


Tips for Cooking on a Budget
 

  • Join a grocery store rewards program. Membership is often free and requires only a phone number or email address to join. Depending on the store, coupons may be automatically applied to your total as you shop. 
  • Download a budgeting app. Tracking your spending on groceries and other items may be easier with an app like Mint, PocketGuard, or Goodbudget. 
  • Find and bookmark affordable recipes. Cooking healthy meals does not have to be costly. For budget-friendly recipes, try BudgetBytes$5 Dinnersand Frugal Nutrition. 
  • Depending on preference, try store brands instead of name brands. Many stores sell generic versions of foodstuffs which taste just as good. Saving a few cents here and there adds up and results in significant savings over time.  
  • Don’t fear the canned and frozen food aisles. Frozen or canned fruits and vegetables are nutritious options when shopping on a budget. If you’re concerned about sodium or added sugars in canned foods, you can rinse off fruits, beans, and vegetables.  
  • Stock your cabinets, fridge, and freezer with staple foodstuffs which you plan to use often. Examples of foods to have on hand include cooking oil, frozen or canned vegetables, grains such as pasta, rice, and quinoa, condiments and sauces such as soy or mustard, spices such as salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning.  

-Graduate Professional Student

Strengthening Your Spiritual Compass 

Resources for Identifying & Practicing Your Beliefs 

Whether you call it God, Universe, Nature, or aren’t quite sure which word to use, it’s important to feel connected to our belief systems. You may consider yourself religious or spiritual, Christian or Muslim, this or that, but regardless of your worldview, we all deserve to have a community to help us sift through the big questions and practice the traditions we hold dear. 

We are lucky to have a wide range of resources on campus for helping us strengthen our inner compass and connect with those whose compass looks similar to ours. Below are several resources to explore. 

Campus Resources for Identifying What You Believe  

 Campus Resources for Practicing What You Believe   

  • Prayer & Meditation Rooms 
  • St. Thomas More Newman Center  
  • Religious Holiday Calendar  
  • Chadwick Arboretum & Learning Gardens 
  • Horticultural Therapy Garden  
  • Student Organizations 
    • Being Centered (Columbus campus) 
    • Buddhist Study & Practice Group (Columbus campus) 
    • Buckeye Bible Study (Columbus campus) 
    • Buckeye Catholics (Columbus campus) 
    • Catholic Medical Association (Columbus campus) 
    • Campus Outreach (Columbus campus) 
    • Conscious Ohio State (Columbus campus) 
    • Coptic Club (Columbus campus) 
    • Hillel Graduate & Professional Students (Columbus campus) 
    • Hindu Youth for Unity, Virtues & Action (Columbus campus) 
    • Faith & Fitness (Columbus campus)  
    • Kedma (Columbus campus) 
    • Kesher (Columbus campus) 
    • Muslim Professional Student Association (Columbus campus) 
    • Muslim Students’ Association (Columbus campus) 
    • Jewish Law Students Association (Columbus campus) 
    • Faith Works Chinese Student Club (Columbus campus) 
    • ISKCON Yoga Circle (Columbus campus) 
    • International Justice Mission (Columbus campus) 
    • Latter-Day Saint Student Association (Columbus campus) 
    • Mindfulness Meditation Interest Group (Columbus campus) 
    • Native American and Indigenous Peoples Cohort (Columbus campus) 
    • Secular Student Alliance (Columbus campus) 
    • Sikh Student Association (Columbus campus) 
    • Tzu Chi Collegiate Association (Columbus campus) 
    • Witches & Witchcraft (Columbus campus) 

-Joe Doherty, Wellness Coaching Coordinator

Why Talking to Your Friends About Sex Can Mean a Safer Environment for Everyone 

Talking about sex, easy, right? For a lot of people within the OSU community, being a college student means entering adulthood and one thing that can come along with that is sex becoming a more common presence within life. However, that isn’t the case for all of us. You may be waiting, not planning on ever having sex, or just haven’t found the right person. Even if sex is a part of your life, that doesn’t mean that talking about it is easy. The thing is sex is taught as something very taboo. In most high schools, it’s often shown as something holding a lot of risk and isn’t spoken about openly, even by the educators meant to provide you with information on the topic. Sex is a normal part of life and something that we can take part in turning the tide on. You may already be speaking with your friends and those within your close circles about it, which is fantastic! If you aren’t or already are and are just curious to learn more, here are some reasons why making sex a topic of conversation can make your sex life better and create a safer environment for our whole community.  

  • Removing the stigma and the fear associated with the topic. As mentioned before, there is a massive stigma around sex in many areas of the world, including central Ohio. To not speak about such a major topic not only prevents us from learning from others, but also creates a sense of inability to ask for help or clarification. When we feel comfortable hearing about a topic, we’re much more likely to feel comfortable speaking on it as well. It’s, definitely, something worth figuring out the answers to.  
  • Talking about sex makes us more in tune with what is and is not ok. If we’re able to speak to those around us about sex, we’re able to learn from them. Not all knowledge can be found on JStor, and your friends can help you work out grey areas of what you might be wondering regarding boundaries when it comes to sexual acts. This can be important so that you’re able to tell your partner(s) what is or is not ok, as well as making you more understanding when your partner gives you their boundaries.  
  • Provides New Ideas for What You Might Like Consent and making sure that we’re holding ourselves and others accountable for our acts is a major aspect of having conversations on relationships and sexual interactions. However, it can also help us figure out what sounds like a good time. Maybe your friend has had an amazing experience in the bedroom (legally) incorporating a Lime scooter. You’ll never know if that sounds like something you want to try without hearing about. If you know someone who’s tried something that you’ve been curious about, talking about their experience may lead you to a new way to liven up the bedroom, dorm, or Honda Civic!  
  • Improves Your Ability to Communicate with Your Partners Destigmatizing the discussion of sex is an empowering thing, giving us the ability to bring up sex without feeling like it’s wrong. It’s essential to have good communication in a relationship, and, definitely, when engaging in sexual acts. A sexual act doesn’t have one definition, it tends to shift from person to person, so establishing boundaries with your partner and figuring out what each of you like means a safer experience, and one that can be more beneficial and enjoyable for all parties involved!  
  • Makes You Think Nobody wants to give a presentation on a topic without even knowing the topic ahead of time, it’s easy to have a hard time putting all of your thoughts together on the spot. In a similar way, it’s useful to have your mind made up or at least know the implications and importance of what your boundaries are. Even if you aren’t in a long-term relationship with someone, you should be able to let them know what works and doesn’t work for you, and vice versa. 
  • Speaking Up Returning to the importance of destigmatizing conversations, feeling comfortable with this topic gives us a chance to speak up when something is wrong. Whether that’s responding to something inappropriate that someone says in conversation or stepping in when an interaction that you’re seeing just looks off, feeling familiar with this topic makes us all allies to one another and provides us with the power to create a safer community on campus and when we go out into the world.  

We’re constantly being exposed to new ideas and it’s a great idea to take control of that and pursue your own knowledge, foster the spread of it within your groups, and help to create an environment where people feel empowered to speak up for themselves and others.  

-Molly Teller, Wellness Ambassador for the Student Wellness Center 

Socially Distant but Close to Nature 

Make like a tree and leaf into the great outdoors! Where are these supposed “Great Outdoors” in the concrete jungle of Columbus? I’m glad you asked savvy reader! The Olentangy Trail runs along the Olentangy River and is perfect for walking, running, and biking. Behind Lawrence Tower is Tuttle Park, where you can find a cricket field, hockey rink, and of course the Olentangy Trail. Here are some other less commonly known green spaces on campus: 

 Labyrinth Garden, Learning Gardens and Chadwick Arboretum  

The Labyrinth Garden features a labyrinth pathway that allows you to take a contemplative walk as you follow the ever-winding path that typically takes 20 minutes to complete. The labyrinth can provide a centering experience as well as an excellent place to meditate. The Learning Gardens is an outdoor lab for both teaching and research, so as a result, there is a diverse collection of plants to enjoy and learn from, and with such a diverse group of gardens, different and unique plants are grown in each one. The Chadwick Arboretum Walking Tour App allows you to browse what the arboretum has to offer in real time by accessing the link on your smartphone or computer. See the Resources section below for more information!  

Biological Sciences Greenhouse  

If you’d rather stay on campus, or pop into a greenhouse in between classes, then the Biological Sciences Greenhouse is the perfect place. The BioSci Greenhouse is located on top of 12th Avenue Garage and accessed through Aronoff Lab. It’s open 8:30am – 4:30pm and serves as a research and teaching greenhouse space.  The Labyrinth Garden, Chadwick Arboretum and Learning Gardens, and Biological Sciences Greenhouse are some great green spaces that are close to campus that you can either walk or bus to. It’s more important now than ever to go outside and get some fresh air because the majority of classes are online. 

Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC)  

Another great way to go outside and remain active is to visit the Outdoor Adventure Center (OAC)! Top rope and bouldering are available by reservation. Whether you’re going on a short walk, or on your way to the OAC, as little as five minutes in nature can improve your mood, and being outside can improve your focus, allowing you to work more efficiently.   

So, get out there, wear your mask, socially distance, and explore all the great nature, parks, gardens, trails, and so much more that’s right around the corner at Ohio State! 

 Resources: 

-Simon Ren, Stress Wellness Ambassador 

Hydration Tips + Tricks 

How much water have you had to drink today?   

Something most people don’t do enough of is drink water, especially college students!   

The human body is made up of around 60% water, so its super important to make sure you stay hydrated in order for your body to carry out its normal functions. Your body needs water in order to regulate your body temperature, protect your joints, spinal cord, and tissues, and to rid your body of waste. While you can hydrate your body with the obvious help of drinking plenty of fluids, you can also hydrate your body by consuming foods with higher water content including most fruits and vegetables.  

Proper hydration is more than just “drinking more water.” A big part of hydration is also making sure you’re replenishing your electrolytes as well. Electrolytes are essential minerals that are necessary for many bodily processes to take place. They can help your body retain water, and also may help prevent muscle cramping. Some electrolytes include potassium, magnesium, calcium, sodium, phosphate and chloride. You can naturally ingest electrolytes through your food choices, or you could choose to supplement them with your fluid intake. Here are the answers to some common questions on the topic of hydration: 

 How much water should I drink each day?  

  • The average person should aim to drink at least half of their body weight in fluid ounces. To calculate this, take your body weight (in pounds) / 2 = # (fluid ounces) that are needed daily.  
  • If you are physically active, then you should aim to drink more than this because your body needs more water to make up for sweating.  

What foods can I get electrolytes from naturally? 

  • Fruits: avocados, strawberries, watermelon, oranges, bananas, tomatoes, olives 
  • Vegetables: potatoes, broccoli, beans 
  • Leafy greens: spinach, kale 

 What electrolyte supplement options are there? 

  • As a runner, I’ve tried many different electrolyte supplementation options. One of my personal favorites is the Ultima Replenisher electrolytes. Their electrolytes are gluten-free, plant-based, keto and paleo and they contain all six electrolytes.  
  • Another one of my go to electrolyte supplements is the Mio Sport Liquid Water Enhancers. They come in a variety of flavors and they are meant to enhance your water with electrolytes and B vitamins. This is also a great option for if you don’t like to just drink plain water because it adds some flavor to your water. 
  • Some other great options that I haven’t tried yet but are highly recommended are Nuun Hydration and Liquid IV. 
  • While it’s not necessary to supplement electrolytes every day, these are great to help with rehydration after prolonged exercise! 

 Resources: 

– Taylor Dewey, Nutrition Wellness Ambassador 

Understanding Student Loans For Graduate Students

Applying for student loans is much the same at the undergraduate level as it is at the graduate level.  Students still need to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA).  For most undergraduate students this process involves entering their personal and parent’s financial information.  At the graduate level, by nature of the student already completing a bachelor’s degree, students only need to include their own financial information. Commonly, graduate students are offered two types of loans: 

  1. Graduate direct student loans up to $20,500 annually at a 4.30% (these numbers change annually in the summer) annual interest rate.  
  2. Graduate PLUS loans up to the Cost of Attendance (COA) minus other aid at a 5.30% interest rate.  Unlike direct loans, PLUS loans require a credit check.  

Depending on your program and college you may be offered other types of loans. Like loans at the undergraduate, you do not need to make any payments until after you graduate.   

Alternatively, students can apply for private student loans.  This process involves finding a lender to borrow money from and with factors such as your debt to income ratio (DTI) and credit score determining your credit score.  As every lender is different private student loans may not have the same benefits as federal students.  That means you might have to make payments before you graduate.  Generally, private student loans have higher interest rates. 

When it comes to repayment time, federal student loans have a great deal of flexibility. The standard repayment plan is 120 months of equal payments but you can pay less monthly if you qualify for any of the Income-Based Repayment (IBR) or Income-Contingent Repayment (IDR) plans.  Though these plans will save you money in the short run, it will result in a longer repayment period and possibly more interest paid in the long run.  If you have a little extra money in your budget paying more than the required amount monthly can save you thousands of dollars in interest and a shorter repayment time.  The repayment options for private student loans varies by each loan and may not have the same options as federal student loans.    

If you’d like to talk to someone about loans or your finances more generally consider setting up an appointment with Scarlet and Gray Financial, a free coaching program through the Student Wellness Center that can help you get the answers to questions you may have. 

-Graduate Professional with Scarlet and Gray Financial

A Beginner’s Guide to Plant-Based Meals 

Though meat can be consumed as part of a healthy diet, some may be interested in incorporating more plant proteins into their diet for personal, ethical, financial or health-related reasons. This might look like excluding meat altogether or choosing a few nights a week to eat vegetarian meals.  

This article can help if you are new to preparing plant-based meals. It can be intimidating cooking with new ingredients for the first time, however, trying new things can also be exciting. You could start by trying one of these plant-based staples: 

Legumes 

Protein: 5-9 grams per ½ cup 

Certain legumes, such as beans, lentils, peas, chickpeas, peanuts, and soybeans, are commonly consumed as part of a plant-based diet. Often beans may be paired with rice to create what is known as a complete protein, or one which has all the necessary amino acids to make proteins for our bodies. You can try canned or cooked beans in a variety of dishes, including this spinach dal recipe or this veggie burger recipe.  

 Tofu

Protein: 8-12 grams per 3 ounces

Tofu is commonly eaten by vegetarians because of its versatility. Made from the curd of pressed soybeans, tofu can be purchased in a variety of forms and can be crumbled, sliced, or diced. Tofu takes on the flavor of the rest of the dish. This marinated oven-baked tofu recipe is a great place to start when exploring cooking with tofu. 

 Tempeh 

Protein: 16-19 grams per 3 ounces 

Like tofu, tempeh is also made from soybeans. Instead of a soft texture, the soybeans which make up tempeh have been fermented and pressed into a denser block. The flavor is stronger than that of tofu and may be described by some as nutty. Tempeh can be cut into strips and used in place of grilled chicken or pork, or in this tempeh stir fry inspired recipe.  

Pre-Made Options

Protein: 8-12 grams per ½ cup 

There are a variety of pre-made plant-based frozen or refrigerated options to choose from. Soy crumbles are easy to heat from the freezer and are great for use in spaghetti sauce, lasagna, tacos, curry, and stuffed peppers. Alternatively, these faux steak-style strips can be used in fajitas or rice-based bowl dishes, or plant-based sausages can be cooked on the grill.  

This article provided a brief overview of ways to add more plant-based options to your weekly meal rotation. Check out the Student Wellness Center’s nutrition resources page for handouts on vegetarianism and well-balanced vegetarian meals 

Janele Bayless, Wellness Coordinator, Nutrition Education

Prescription to addiction: the slippery slope 

If you’ve been on a college campus long enough, you’ll know that alcohol, tobacco and cannabis use is no hidden affair. What many don’t see though, are the high rates of illicit prescription drug use among 18-25 year old’s. (National Institute on Drug Abuse). Even in the case of a legitimate prescription for opioids from a physician, these adolescents are still at greater risk of future opioid misuse, regardless of having no prior history of drug use. It ranges from taking your friend’s prescribed Adderall before an exam to popping oxycodone or Xanax at a party. The problem with prescription drugs, especially opioids, is that the user builds a tolerance and needs more and more of the same drug to feel the high. This is not a cheap habit to maintain, and as all of us college students know, the last thing we have lying around is excess money. The cheap alternative that fuels the user’s dependence next is the street drug heroin, which is more potent than almost any prescription opioid you can find and has a much higher mortality rate. In as little as two years, between 2010 and 2012, “the mortality rate from heroin overdose doubled in 28 states” (Ross, 2016). I know what you’re thinking: you’ve never seen anyone use or even talk about using heroin! According to a study conducted between 2011 and 2014 however, on average nineteen new users were introduced to the drug each day; that is 133 new college users each week (NSDUH). Using opioids is not ‘glamorous’ nor normalized like drinking or smoking weed which is why it is not put on display. Fortunately, all hope is not lost and through public education and preventive programs, we can combat this epidemic. The best choice you, as an Ohio State student can make is to stay away from all opioids and illegal prescription use as whole. If you are prescribed medication from your physician, take only the amount you are prescribed and talk to your health care professional about potential for misuse and abuse. Here at Ohio State, the Collegiate Recovery Community is a group that serves students in or seeking recovery from drug and alcohol addiction. There is no shame in seeking support and you can learn more at https://swc.osu.edu/services/collegiate-recovery-community/join-the-community/ 

Sources:

Sania Hussain, Wellness Ambassador