Various Students Discuss Balance

For the below project, I interviewed an assortment of students and a faculty member (Graduate Assistant) of WKU and asked them what balance meant to them and how they achieved it-or didn’t-in their lives.

For previous articles, I’ve gone in depth with my subjects. This project differs in that instead of a micro-perspective, a macro-view is depicted. It acts as a glimpse into the lives of various different students.

According to Stage of Life, there are 19.7 million students currently enrolled in colleges/universities in the United States. Each of them has a different story to tell.

Enjoy the stories of a few WKU students HERE.




Yoga and Meditation

Reggie Helm is a yoga instructor and practitioner in Owensboro, Kentucky. He discovered yoga after a back injury forced him to choose between holistic remedies or living the rest of his days dependent on medication and procedures. Helm has been a practitioner of the ancient exercise for over 20 years and recently became an instructor. Helm emphasizes that yoga and both mental and physical balance “go hand in hand” and can easily be put to use in one’s daily life. According to Helm, a few benefits of practicing yoga include: calming your mind, helping your external and internal body, aligning your organs, and working the toxins out of your body. “Yoga is not your typical exercise,” says Helm.


Find out below what a typical yoga session looks like.


Balancing a Passion With Other Aspects of Life

Riecke's equipment, pictured, consists primarily of his laptop and occasionally his mixing board.

Riecke’s equipment, pictured, consists primarily of his laptop and occasionally his mixing board.

Dillon Riecke is a student at Western Kentucky University who is pursuing his Master’s degree in Computer Science and in his spare time creates dubstep and electronic dance music (EDM).  Often, one’s hobby or passion interferes in their daily life and creates stress which impacts one’s overall well-being. Fortunately for Riecke, his hobbies and academic pursuits collide beautifully,when you spend a large amount of your time on the computer, that’s where your hobbies manifest” Riecke said. His primary tool for both academic work and musical play is his laptop, “I take full advantage of my computer’s multitasking skills,” Riecke stated lightheartedly. Efficiency and enjoying your time are two important components of living a balanced and happy life. Riecke plans on using his education to assist in his hobby and vice versa, saying “Coursework is more like practice, and personal projects are more application.” Citing computer programming as a hobby as well, Riecke certainly has personified the old adage ‘do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life.’

Riecke’s music can be heard here.

Student Profile

Junior Allison McCutchen is a Renaissance student: enrolled in 17 credit hours, she maintains a long-term/distant boyfriend, a part time job, and a 4.0 GPA. McCutchen is a transfer student from Tennessee Wesleyan College small, private liberal arts college in semi-rural eastern Tennessee. She received a BA in Psychology there before deciding to join Western Kentucky University’s dental hygiene program. When asked why she chose dental hygiene, McCutchen cited her psychology background as a driving force behind her desire to help people and said, “Teeth not only impact smiles/self-confidence, but if they’re broken down or decayed, they can cause a serious pain,” and she would like to teach people they have the power to control their oral and overall health.

Upon walking into McCutchen’s dorm room (pictured above), one is overcome by a sense of comfort and hospitality. “I fill my room with what I love: my family, my friends and boyfriend, quirky periodic tables, and dalmatians,” McCutchen remarks. Like other students, her room is a relaxing place to go at the end of a long day. Her typical day is long indeed, with all of her classes ending past 4 every day but Friday. McCutchen adds lightheartedly, “Non-school days are basically planned around meals and studying and naps.”

When asked about her long distance relationship of five years, McCutchen speaks highly of the couple’s use of Skype as a means of communicating in between visits. Although she says it’s no replacement for being together, she enjoys the moments when they’re on Skype for hours “both of us just working on homeworking and talking as if we were in the same room.”

Finally, when asked what being a balanced student means to her, McCutchen concludes the interview by saying, “Balance is learning to place your personal health: mental, physical, emotional above your grades. Grades are important, I’m all for good grades. But I always choose sleep over cramming. It seems to work best for me. Also, I try to make time to just do nothing or hang out with friends.” She focuses on her priorities while earning her degree, which include: “Not going insane in the process and enjoying my time here. Learn a lot, prove I know it, go take a nap.” Repeat daily as needed.


Stress Relief for Students

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/

Lauren Tuttle, a Health Educator at Western Kentucky University, provides a myriad of health information and makes referrals to students who may need any aid Health Services provides. Health Services offers mental health counseling for students who are dealing with stress or homesickness-not surprising when, according to an Associated Press poll, 85% of college students feel stressed on a daily basis. Stress isn’t just mental: it also affects you physically. According to Tuttle, some students deal with chronic stress, which “wears down the body and eventually weakens the immune system, leading them to get sick more easily.” She suggests that students concerned about class or work loads improve their time management skills and make time for every aspect of their lives, no matter how basic-from sleeping and eating to going to class. Tuttle offers some tips on stress relief, which are: taking deep breaths for instant relief and clarity, exercise to relieve tension and release endorphins, maintain a positive attitude (how one perceives a stressor plays a major role in how well the body handles stress), and spend time doing something you enjoy.