Proud2Bme | Activism is a Lifestyle, Not a College Major!

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Activism is a Lifestyle, Not a College Major!

Whether your ultimate career goal is to launch your own body-posi fashion label or counsel adolescents struggling with an eating disorder, our writers prove that you can study almost anything and still be an involved, aware and committed activist! In fact, our writers’ varied perspectives are what make the Proud2Bme community so vibrant. We asked a few of our regular contributors how they plan on using the knowledge they’re gaining from their majors to better the world.

Here’s what they had to say:

Claire Trainor: I'm a sophomore with a double major in psychology and creative writing. Since my own recovery almost three years ago, I've wanted to dedicate my life to helping others who have struggled or are struggling with an eating disorder. For me, the best way to do that was to major in psychology with the eventual hope of being a therapist. I think that understanding roots of eating disorders and helping to target some of those causes, especially body image and the way we're told we "should" look, is crucial in being able to help people who are struggling or are in recovery. It's because of that belief and understanding that I'm drawn to body positivity and ED activism. As far as the creative writing major goes, I've always been a writer. It's the easiest and most authentic way I've found to express myself and my feelings, and it's something I feel I'm truly good at. I think that the ability to communicate effectively through words is an incredible skill and it's one I work every day to improve. For me, contributing to Proud2Bme is a way to combine my love for writing and my passion for ED activism.

Annie Zomaya: I am a public relations major at Eastern Kentucky University. The same passion for writing that led me to Proud2Bme led me to this field! I plan on working in the nonprofit sector, possibly mental health, so I can continue to use my recovery journey to inspire and help others.

Alison Leigh Znamierowski: I majored in sociology at Wesleyan. I still remember the first day of Intro to Sociology 101, when my teacher asked us to become aware of how we were sitting as a way to recognize the insidious ways in which gender expectations manifest—overwhelmingly, girls had their legs crossed and men were spread out. It was so striking because I had never been taught that gender was not innate, and that there was space to play between the rigid expectations for "women" and "men." Every time I left a sociology class, I felt lighter and freer: I was unlearning an entire lifetime of socially imbued expectations, standards, judgments and values. Taking sociology classes made me realize the ways that I was policing my own body and others' bodies around me from a socially-imbued lens. I became more aware of those thoughts and proactively worked on releasing them. I learned that it is impossible to divorce external judgment from internal judgment; and the more you accept yourself as you are and practice self-love, the more that will translate to love and acceptance for those around you. This is one of the greatest gifts I have ever been given, and it is my ultimate wish to spread this 'unlearning' to others.

Dana Land: Psychology and ED activism are incredibly important to me. That is why I chose psychology as my major and hope to work in an eating disorder treatment center as a therapist someday. I attend DePaul University where I've started a student organization, Recover DePaul, in hopes are spreading awareness and support on campus. Many of the other members are psychology students as well.

Angela Hui: I am currently a senior in high school, and I think that I would like to major in English and minor in human biology in college. I am interested in English because I love writing, and I think that writing is a great way to promote body positivity and raise awareness of eating disorders. Everyone knows that eating disorders exist, but they're a widely misunderstood problem. By writing articles for sites like Proud2Bme, we can help the general public understand the epidemic of disordered eating and encourage each other to recover and stay healthy, both mentally and physically.

Pooja Patel: I study biology and psychology at Barnard College, Columbia University. I think both of my areas of study are heavily tied into my eating disorder activism! When I went to college I knew I wanted to do something mental health-related, which quite clearly lead me to psychology; however, I wanted to also learn about the biological mechanisms behind these diseases, which lead me to biology. My major and, of course, NEDA, helped me to decide to pursue a master’s in public health where I will specifically get to study chronic diseases like anorexia, depression and schizophrenia in hopes of preventing, intervening and adequately treating them!

Michelle Zaydlin: I am a first year medical student and did my undergraduate degree in neuroscience and Spanish. I hope to pursue a career in child and adolescent psychiatry and work with patients with eating disorders.

Jeanette Suros: My college major is social work. I want to be a therapist specializing in eating disorders, eventually have my own practice and also be a yoga therapist. Body positivity/ED activism tie into this perfectly. I want to show those out there that recovery is possible and with yoga help them become one with their body, mind and soul. I want to show them all the amazing things their bodies can do! Being in full recovery now from my eating disorder, I know that recovery is possible and I want to show others that they can be free from ED!

Ellie Herman: I'm currently attending graduate school to earn my masters in social work. I hope then to become a licensed clinical social worker. For many, including me, when outside influences feel out of control, we turn to food as a source of control. Social workers can help people struggling with outside factors causing stress, and my LCSW will allow me to counsel individuals who are struggling with eating disorders, too.

Sydney Quick: I attend Mount Royal University in Calgary Alberta, Canada and I am majoring in psychology. Mental health has been a passion of mine since junior high, and eating disorders became my main focus after I completed treatment for my own. It was during this time that I decided I want to specialize with eating disorders. Throughout my two years in treatment I had never met anyone who was recovered. This gave my eating disorder some power because I was learning about my disorder from people who had never experienced it. This made trusting my team very difficult, and for a long time I believed that recovery was not really possible. Being able to share my story as well as my passion through activism has made me realize that I’m doing what I’m meant to be doing with my life. I want to be that person that can give my clients a face to look at and a voice that they can trust when I say “recovery is possible and life really does get better.”

What's YOUR college major and how does activism tie into it? Tell us in the comments below!
 

For more on youth activism, check out:

5 Ways to Speak Out About Eating Disorders

4 Reasons Why I’m an Eating Disorders Awareness Advocate
 

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About Us

Proud2Bme is an online community created by and for teens. We cover everything from fashion and beauty to news, culture, and entertainment—all with the goal of promoting positive body image and encouraging healthy attitudes about food and weight.

This site was developed in partnership with Riverduinen and made possible by generous contributions from JPMorgan Chase, Globant, the University of Delaware, and The Hilda & Preston Davis Foundation.

Proud2Bme was first launched in the Netherlands by Riverduinen, a mental health organization that has licensed the concept to the National Eating Disorders Association. Unless otherwise noted, all original content on this site is copyright The National Eating Disorders Association. The Proud2Bme brand, logos, and trademarks are property of Rivierduinen.