Health & Wellness in College

By: Raven Gillus

College can be a lot of stress on the body. Most students don’t keep up with a healthy lifestyle in school. In fact, many things can affect your health and wellness as a busy college student. According to the American College Health Association, a study revealed that only 7.3% of students ate five or more servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Let’s talk about some things that you can add to your life to improve your health. Your body will thank you later.

Add vitamin C to your diet

Winter is coming, which means a dreadful time is approaching... finals week. Flu Season is also among us. This can be a hard time on the mind and the body’s immune system. Your body is working extra hard to fight off those nasty germs during this time of the year. In classrooms, you are constantly exposed to germs throughout the day. Add more vitamin C to your diet by drinking orange juice in the morning, add lemon to your tea, and eating a salad with spinach instead of lettuce.

Make your own meal once a day

Avoid eating high calorie foods that aren’t good for you by making your own meals. Ramen noodles are the go-to quick fix for students with busy schedules, but they are high in sodium and don’t always fill you up. Prepare yogurt with granola, oatmeal or a fruit bowl instead.

 

Exercise

Often, we neglect exercise due to being too busy. It’s so important to incorporate exercise with a healthy diet to see results. Take the stairs instead of the elevator. Do some simple exercises in your room during free time. Squats, push-ups and pull-ups can easily increase the number as you go along throughout the week.

Quick Q&A:
Q1: I feel so tired all the time. How can I feel more rested?


A1: Try to get on a sleep schedule and stick to it as much as possible. This may be hard don’t skip breakfast, it will boost your energy at the start of the day.


Q2: I am in need of some “me” time, but I never have time to myself.


A2: Schedule a set time for self-care as if it is a class or a job (e.g. Sundays from 7pm-9pm) Work your schedule around that time, so you get into the habit of always making time for yourself.


Q3: My hair and skin feels so much drier, especially around fall/winter time. How can I fix this?

A3: Bring a bottle of water to drink in every class to keep hydrated.

Raven’s interview with Imani Hudson 

(Personal testimonial)

Imani Hudson, 19, recently had a significant change in her life when her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer this year. She attended an Avon Breast Cancer walk Saturday at 10 a.m. in Rochester, NY along with her mother. Although it was only one mile, it was still challenging for her to stay optimistic at times. She said “There were time when I wanted to cry but I felt and still feel like I have to be strong for her.”

As a student at Howard University in Washington D.C., she lives states away from her mother,who lives in Rochester, NY, and the distance becomes hard to bear. “Despite our distance from each other, I always call her especially on Tuesday when she has her weekly chemo treatment to check up on her,” Imani said. “I always remind her that with each treatment she is getting better.”

If you or someone you know is interested in participating in a Breast Cancer walk in your city visit:

https://secure.acsevents.org/site/SPageServer?pagename=strides_msabc

THINK PINK

By: Camille Larynn

and Raven Gillus

Breasts. Many of us have them and many of us love them but how much do we know about them? Learning about breast health is more than above surface and monthly self-breast exams. Let’s take a deeper dive into the health of our favorite girlfriends, our breast.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells. These cells can spread by breaking away from the original tumor and entering blood vessels or lymph vessels, which branch into tissues throughout the body.

What causes Breast Cancer? Who is at risk?

Doctors normally don’t know why one person develops breast cancer and another doesn’t, and most people who have breast cancer won’t be able to identify the exact cause for their breast cancer. What we do know is that breast cancer is always caused by damage to a cell’s DNA. Common misconception is that men are NOT at risk for breast cancer.

Women with certain ​risk factors​ are more likely than others to develop breast cancer. A risk factor is something that may increase the chance of getting a disease. Some risk factors such as drinking alcohol can be avoided. But most risk factors such as having a family history of breast cancer can’t be avoided.

Here are some risk factors:

  • Close relatives who were diagnosed with breast or ovarian cancer when they were younger than 45, especially if more than one relative was diagnosed or if a male relative had breast cancer.

  • Changes in your BRCA1 or BRCA2 genes, or close relatives with these changes.

  • An Ashkenazi Jewish heritage.

  • Been treated with radiation therapy to the breast or chest during childhood or early adulthood.

  • Had breast cancer or certain other breast health problems.

  • Been told that you have ​dense breasts​ on a mammogram.

  • Many women who have risk factors never develop breast cancer.

 

There are ways to stay on top of your breast health and take preventive actions. Knowyourgirls.org advises that we all be our own best advocate when it comes to our breast health.


Be your own best advocate​ Let’s be real–not all of us feel comfortable going to the doctor. But if we want to live our best lives and stay on top of our health–including our breast health–it’s necessary. Fortunately, there are ways to feel more comfortable and be your own best advocate.

Know how your breasts normally look and feel.​ If you notice a change in the size or shape of your breast, feel pain in your breast, have nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), or other ​symptoms,​ talk to a doctor right away.

Make healthy choices. ​Keeping a healthy weight, diet, getting enough physical activity and sleep, and breastfeeding your babies can help lower your overall ​risk.​ If you are taking, or have been told to take, hormone replacement therapy or oral contraceptives (birth control pills), ask your doctor about the risks.

Talk to your doctor about your risk.​ ​If your risk is high, your doctor may talk to you about getting ​mammograms​ earlier and more often than other women, whether other screening tests might be right for you, and medicines or surgeries that can lower your risk. Your doctor may also suggest that you get ​genetic counseling​ to determine if you should be tested for changes in your BRCA1, BRCA2, and other genes related to breast cancer.

It is vital to know all of the basics to breast health, especially as an African American woman. African American Women are 40% more likely at risk for breast cancer than white women. So be sure to take your health and BREAST health seriously by learning more about your health and the health of your family. Take CONTROL of what you can control and learn more about you can’t. Challenge yourself with some breast care trivia that we've posted to our Instagram!

Back To School, Back To You

By: Raven Gillus

In the words of Megan Thee Stallion “Hot Girl Summer is winding down, but Hot Girl Semester has arrived!” The journey to getting that degree can be a struggle. While trying to balance a social life, academics, and self-care, one seems to always suffer. Don’t stress because these tips can greatly help those in need of some advice on achieving their goals this semester and beyond.

Self-care

  • Take 15 minute breaks every couple hours, between doing school work.

  • Join an extra-curricular activity that you enjoy to let off some steam.

  • Especially when you have early morning classes, get everything prepared for class the night before so you are ready and do not forget anything. 

 

School Life

  • Have a planner to use consistently. Write important dates ahead of time. (ex. Projects, Midterms, Exams.)

  • Take clear notes as much as possible.

  • Sit in the front row in all of your classes. It will help you pay attention and get your professors to remember your face.

Social Life

  • Plan a couple days throughout the week to dedicate time to your loved ones.

  • Dedicate some time in the morning and/or night to speak with your friends if you are really busy during the day.

  • Have a study session with some friends to get some work done, then get together after to grab a bite to eat and chat.

 

To keep up with the important things we value; we must prioritize them accordingly. Fitting a couple of these tips into your life this semester can help you maintain a healthy balance in all three areas of your life.

Women in Hip Hop 

By: Raven Gillus

Women have always been in Hip Hop, we just aren’t always included in the conversation. With the rise of women empowerment movements, the emergence of more female rappers in recent years is challenging an industry that has been heavily male dominated. Here are some women who are currently expanding the face of Hip Hop in 2019. 

Tierra Whack


Philadelphia, Pennsylvania native Tierra Whack is greatly applauded for her incredible talent in freestyling and creative music videos. ​Briana Younger, a writer for ​The Fader​, said, "...popular and mainstream rap hasn't championed a darker-skinned woman since Missy Elliot...and Whack seems poised to be the one."​It’s important for young black women to see someone as talented as Whack represented in the music world. Whack often references very random concepts and ideas that fit together in an intentional masterful way. Whack told crackmagazine.com, “I’m up and down all the time, trying to catch a vibe. I write about things I go through, my friends, people I don’t know, people I do not like. Life, death everything.” As a kid, Whack was influenced by Dr. Seuss books to help her put together rhymes for her poetry assignments in school. On May 30, 2018, she released her first studio album, “Whack World,” which was named “Best New Music” from pitchfork.com. She is a part of the 12 edition XXL “Freshman Class.” Also, Whack is one out of three women, the most women ever featured in XXL “Freshman Class.” 

Rico Nasty


Lakin Starling said in a review on pitchfork.com, “She remains one of the heaviest hitters in the no-rules arena of rap.” New York City born, Nasty was raised in Prince George’s County, Maryland where she originated her career in rap music. She has an eclectic, bubbly, punk style that culminates a genre of her own she coined called, “Sugar Trap.” Nasty expressed a bold, hard-hitting delivery over fun cartoony music. By 20 years old, her music was featured on ‘Insecure’ and ‘The Fate of the Furious’.​She is a part of the 2019 XXL “Freshman Class.” ​She is putting on for young women and mothers in hip hop music, where it is so male dominated and women have to work twice as hard. Rico Nasty says how motherhood has influenced her in Washington Post, “​I had my child straight out of high school and it grew me up, and it made me see that life is amazing, but that there’s a dark twist to everything, too — from nursery rhymes to the stories we tell them. That’s why I call my music ‘sugar trap.’ It’s trap music, but there’s still happiness in there.” 

Lizzo


Born in Detroit, Michigan, Lizzo moved to Houston, Texas when she was 10 years old, where she began rapping. She later graduated with a degree in Classical Flute Performance from the University of Houston before moving to Minneapolis, Minnesota. With the influences of the many places she has lived she has been influenced by indie, hip-hop, classical, soul, electro and R&B music. This multifaceted queen shows us through example that it pays to be yourself. She makes music that is about accepting yourself for who you are and not letting anyone tear you down. Lizzo gives us a lesson in self lovery with her 2017 single, “Truth Hurts.” The single hit number five on the Billboard Hot 100. She started to hit the mainstream with the release of her third studio album, “Cuz I Love You,” in 2019. ​In an interview with ​Vice​, she said that, “you can wake up and change many things about your appearance, but the inevitability of waking up in your skin is what unifies us.” 

Megan Thee Stallion


The Houston, Texas born and raised rapper, Megan Thee Stallion, is known for her authenticity, confidence and sexually explicit lyrics. She makes all of her fans, “Hotties,” feel confident and freely express their sexuality with songs like “Big Ole Freak.” Listening to her influences growing up, such as Three 6 Mafia, Pimp C, and Biggie Smalls, she thought it would be even better if a woman rapped like them. She got an ear for music early as she sat in on her mothers’, Holly aka Holly-Wood, recording sessions at a child. When Megan got to college at Prairie View A&M University she began to rap. Her success and social media following continued to grow. On May 17, 2019, “Fever,” Megan’s first full length project was released. She makes in a point to empower women and their bodies by embracing the term “stallion,” as her name, which is used to describe a tall, beautiful woman in the South. Also, she is included in the 12t​h​ edition of XXL’s “Freshman Class”. While, Megan is climbing to new heights in her rap career, she is pursuing a degree in Health Administration at Texas Southern University. In an interview with Rolling Stone she said, “We have so many legends and so many greats. But I don’t feel like we ever really had a female rapper from Houston or Texas shut that shit down.” With her recent successes, this ‘hot girl’ can definitely be the one to do that for her city. 

Dreezy

Born and raised in the Southside of Chicago, Dreezy climbed her way through her city’s rap scene in the early 2010s. She used fine arts as an escape from her home life. In 2014, she released a remix to Nicki Minaj’s “Chiraq.” ​She was named as the "Princess of Chicago Rap" by Noisey via ​Vice Magazine. ​Soon after, Dreezy signed to Interscope shortly, then released her debut, ​No Hard Feelings​, in 2016. Following some non-album singles, Dreezy dropped her sophomore album, ​Big Dreez​, in 2019, with features including Jeremih and Kash Doll to encourage her dynamic style of trap music. 

Rihanna: The Renaissance Woman 

By: Raven Gillus

Attention Rihanna Navy! According to Forbes, Rihanna has just been named the world’s richest female musician worth a reported $600 million. She has been very successful in the music industry and is one of the highest selling artist of all time. As Rihanna fans, we first fell in love with her eccentric, edgy music. However, she has been dominating other industries, giving us fashion and make up for us to style and profile in. She is continuing to expand her growing Fenty Empire.

In 2014, Rihanna teamed up with Puma to create “Fenty x Puma”, an apparel and footwear line. She released her first sneaker with Puma as the creative director of Puma sports and footwear brand a year later. Within hours of the launch it sold out. She continued to collaborate with the brand over the years. Also, she created her own lingerie line, “Savage x Fenty”. The line includes bra sizes from 32A to 44DD and underwear sizes from XS to XXXL.

One thing Rihanna does a great job of is knowing her audience and what they want. She keeps her ear in the streets. Many make up lines rarely seemed to cater to darker skin tones. She knew, darker skinned women especially, had a hard time finding makeup that suited their skin tones. Rihanna also knew that most of these women were her fans, so she did something about it. In September 2017, Fenty Beauty launched and was the first make up line to create 40 foundation shades to cater to women of varying skin tones and promote inclusivity. Soon more make up lines began to follow, expanding their shade range. A true trendsetter.

In May 2019, Rihanna launched her own a luxury clothing line, “Fenty”. It’s full of gender inclusive and bold statement pieces, with sizes ranging from 2 to 14. Rihanna became the first woman to launch an original LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton brand and the first black woman and woman of color to run a major luxury fashion house. With this big accomplishment, we’re able to see that there is opportunity for black businesses to reach such highest.

Rihanna has shown us that she is more than music. She stays true to her style while expanding her brand, showing us the importance of collaboration, and empowering women of color. We cannot wait to see what other business ventures she will do next! In the meantime, we’ll have on our Fenty outfit, with our Fenty lipgloss, with Anti on repeat patiently waiting for the next album to drop.

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