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Sunday, June 23, 2024
The Observer

Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping

When patients need a kidney transplant, they will have to complete five to seven eight-hour dialysis sessions per week until they are up for a transplant. If a patient is then fortunate enough to receive a kidney, the person then has to hope that the body will not reject the kidney. In order to combat potential rejection, patients have to take some medications.

Despite the aid of this post-transplant treatment, the body still rejects the kidney in a lot of cases. This can lead to being put back on dialysis and hoping for another kidney to come around. While in many cases, rejection occurs despite the best efforts of patients and doctors, it often happens because of one misstep in the process: the patient does not take the medication. Imagine that. Your life is on the line. You will have to revert back to hours on dialysis. All you have to do to significantly improve your odds is take your pills, and you don’t. Unfortunately, the reality is it’s in human nature to make self-sabotaging decisions. This sentiment was taken from Jordan Peterson’s "12 Rules of Life." After running through the dialysis example, Peterson writes that we are also far more likely to give our pets their necessary prescriptions than ourselves. While it’s nice that we show so much care for our pets, it’s alarming to see how little we care for ourselves. Seeing as this is a common cause of problems for people, Peterson made his second rule of life: Treat yourself like someone you are responsible for helping.

I have definitely suffered from self-sabotage throughout my years. Throughout high school, I was always determined to become a great basketball player for my high school team. I quit running and tennis to put all my time into school and basketball. With these big plans in mind, I planned out in my mind how I would transform into a better player. I knew I would need to play Amateur Athletic Union (AAU), lift weights, train daily, etc. I was confident that I would take those steps and then change my trajectory as a player. However, whenever the time to put in work came around, I found myself in my bed watching a TV show or eating whatever treat I could get my hands on. Instead of putting in actual work, I just lived with the hope that it would all come together some way or another. Well, unfortunately for me, my 135 pound frame in high school did not exactly spark fear in my opponent’s eyes. While I wanted to be a better player so badly, I did not care to address my habits and decisions. I just did what felt comfortable and ended up making minimal progress throughout the years because of it. Ultimately, I did not treat myself with the level of care or respect I owed to myself or my family and friends. While this is a fairly unimportant example, this commitment to yourself becomes more and more important as you age. 

As college students, our ability to be disciplined and make the right decisions for the sake of things like our health or work will soon affect far more people than just ourselves. Most students are 18 to 22. The average age of a first-time parent is just below 30. In the next five to 10 years, many of us will have families we need to provide for and tend to in a myriad of ways. It sounds bleak, but if you continue eating donuts and drinking like a fish, you may not be there long for your kids or significant other when they need you. If you don’t discipline yourself and work hard in your professional life, you can find yourself without a good paying job to give your family what they need. In addition, if you’re acting in such an undisciplined manner forever, how do you think your future kids’ work ethic or discipline will look? It’s wild to think about now, but these examples really will come into play in the near future and show why it is absolutely crucial to treat yourself with care. In reality, it is actually selfish to do otherwise because of the effect it can have on those closest to you. Similar to being instructed to put your oxygen mask on first before helping others on a plane, you must address your problems first so you can then help others. With that said, this is a process that will never be perfected, but starting now will put you ahead of schedule for your loved ones when the time comes to have bigger responsibilities. So, when you’re making one of many decisions today, think about what you’d want your closest friend to do and simply do that.

Mikey Colgan is a sophomore from Boston, Massachusetts, studying finance and Applied and Computational Mathematics and Statistics (ACMS). He is an avid college basketball fan and resides in Morrissey Hall. He can be reached at or @Mikeycolgs15 on Twitter.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.