Editor’s Note: This is the first of four student essays about their experiences in the Health 1, 2, 3 program. The essays were developed from an audio vignetter assignment, so are transcripts of those assignments. This program, described here, is a hallmark of the Human Health program and reaches every incoming Emory freshman.

I am currently a junior in the Human Health program and took Health 100 in the fall of 2015 and Health 200 in the spring of 2018. This essay is about my experiences in those classes!

In Health 100 when we were asked to write down a goal, a lot of students, including myself, decided to focus on improving and increasing the amount of physical activity that we do. In particular, I wanted to be able to incorporate it into my busy schedule. Back in high school, I was extremely active. I was in dance two to three times a week and participated in track in the spring season. Coming from this kind of background, it was strange to come into college, where I wasn’t obligated to be involved in so much physical activity. Having this newfound sense of freedom and independence as well as, unfortunately, a growing amount of laziness, made me really let go of any physical activity that I used to do. Inevitably, I gained a bit of weight and I wasn’t as confident as I used to be. Previously, I had danced for 14 years of my life, and it was something I was extremely passionate about. I wanted to audition, but I couldn’t bring myself to find the confidence to audition for any team, and as time went by, I just felt more and more incompetent.

Photo of three blurred dancers landing after a grand jeté
Image by Michael Zittel via Pexels

Fast forward to this last spring semester of my junior year. One of our lectures in Health 200 was on behavior change strategies. When looking at the transtheoretical model and the six stages of change, I realized that for the longest time I was in the contemplation stage. I’ve always wanted to get back into shape and back into dancing, but there was always this fear that kept me from achieving my goal and implementing a change in my life to become more active. I took a leap of faith this semester, auditioned for AHANA dance, and just this past weekend, was able to perform on stage for the first time in three years. As I was working on my goal process assignment in Health 200, I was able to see what a positive impact making this change in my life has had. Not only am I healthier and happier, but I have a newborn sense of confidence. By using the strategies to change my behavior and assessing how to achieve my goal, I was able to see what a positive impact it has had on my life.

Not only am I healthier and happier, but I have a newborn sense of confidence.

Health 200 has been extremely useful and important because it forced me into a position where I had to continuously reflect on my past actions and experiences. Being able to take a step back and see what has happened showed me how much I need to change and want to change. It gave me a new sense of drive and motivation to change the way I live as a college student. Especially as a current junior, and about to be a senior, I can see how college is such a impactful stage in my life and how the habits that I make in college will really affect how I live my life as a young adult. This whole experience has allowed me to grow, not only physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I can’t wait to tackle my senior year!

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