DEAR HARRIETTE: As I am writing this, I have just gotten some free time from sorority recruitment events. After two full days of nearly nonstop events, I realized that I am falling behind on extracurriculars and schoolwork. All of my friends have made it through Greek life; however, I find it taking up all of my time. At this rate, I feel like I may have to leave my sorority. Is there any way I can try to find a balance? I tend to crash the second I don’t have to be at a mandatory event. -- Greek Grievances, St. Paul, Minnesota
DEAR GREEK GRIEVANCES: This could be a good thing for you, as the intense work requirements for your sorority are preparing you for what your work life may be like when you graduate. At the same time, you do need to learn to create boundaries, to be able to plan out your week or month and include everything, including your sorority. That said, it's not healthy when there is no endpoint and your studies and health are compromised. Evaluate your schedule, and carve out downtime as well as time for schoolwork and other activities. Tell your sorors that you can participate fully on some activities, but -- especially if you have to prepare for a test or do homework -- you might have to miss an event or two.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I lost about 50 pounds in the past three years and now look back on old photos of myself in shock. I do not know if I feel proud of how far I have come, or ashamed that I let myself be so overweight to begin with. Additionally, showing people pictures of me before I lost weight usually opens up the Pandora’s box of others not recognizing me and asking me why I decided to lose weight.
Are photos of myself from the past something I should take down in my home if I don’t want any questions about my weight loss? I used to think people would know not to ask unless I brought it up first. -- Transformer, Richmond, Virginia
DEAR TRANSFORMER: You should not take down old pictures of yourself. They are part of who you are. Be proud of your accomplishments and your journey to reach where you are today. You do not need to emphasize your weight loss or draw people over to old photos -- advice I would also give someone who had not experienced dramatic weight loss, as it’s better to steer most conversation to the present.
That said, when people transform their bodies dramatically, it is natural for others to ask what they did or how they did it. For some people, the question is personal. They want to know if they can possibly do it too. For others, it’s pure curiosity. I suggest that you stand proud of your efforts to be strong and committed to your health. You may want to add some current photos of yourself with friends enjoying your life.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)