This year’s international convention was one of the best experiences of my life. I got to speak with so many new people, such as fellow siblings and guest speakers. It was a busy 5 days for me. I was attending programs nonstop and doing Press Corps and Chapter work on the side. IC can use a lot of your energy but in the best way possible.
Obviously, virtual conventions, especially IC, have so many benefits. There is no need to travel, which eliminates issues with plane trips and bus rides. So many speakers were available from home in a way that wouldn't be possible in person. We had so many more resources at our fingertips. Virtual events, especially movement-wide, allow us to connect with one another in a manner that is not possible in person. They will shape our program planning standards for years to come.
Every good thing has its bad side, naturally. IC brings sudden changes to a set daily routine. Of course, variation in our days is a good thing. Due to the pandemic, days have become monotonous and opportunities like IC shake things up. But for some, this can be harmful. This drastic change can affect social habits, eating habits, and blatant instances of self-care. Even if for exciting events, these types of changes are often difficult for those who struggle with their mental health and disordered eating, among other things. It can be a cause for harm to their well-being, through no fault of their own - or anyone else’s.
These issues affect me, not only during IC but outside of this as well. Switching between at home and in school days provides a challenge, as well as weekend vs weekday. But over the last few months, even years, I have managed to deal and cope with these challenges. Virtual IC was a completely new problem that I had to face.
IC programming was constant - you could be on a program all day and night if you so desired. For people like me, prioritizing meals over anything, especially BBYO, something I love and pour my heart and soul into, is extremely difficult. I wanted to constantly be on Zoom, and I had no regard for a healthy meal schedule. My days were even longer than they normally were, and I was completely thrown off. I needed to remind myself to eat these meals, and even had friends who texted me to remind me to eat, and send them photos of my food. I was eating obnoxious amounts of Cheez-Its and IC chocolate, but not full meals with other people. My hunger never really caught up with me until the end of the weekend, when I was suddenly starving. I was simply relying on coffee and bagels to get me through, which was so unhealthy and mildly concerning.
I struggled to find time to sleep in between programming, roommates, chapter stuff, and actual homework. By the end of the weekend, I was EXHAUSTED. I also hadn’t showered or had anything to drink other than coffee and iced tea since Thursday night. From February 12th to the 15th, I was single-handedly supporting the Starbucks empire.
Basically, my blatant disregard for my health was concerning. In the end, the weekend was still the best one I had had in a very long time. It also showed how I needed to prioritize my health, even if I had to take a break from doing something I love. I have a new appreciation for my advisors and friends who helped me do what I was unable to accomplish myself.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t sign up for your next virtual convention, but to say that you have BBYO as a support system behind you. Your siblings and advisors are here for you, and if you reach out, they can help with any personal issues you are having. Use this support to your advantage, and make the next convention one that furthers your spiritual, social, physical, and mental health!
Sydney Levine is a BBG from Nassau Suffolk Region who loves Harry Styles.
All views expressed on content written for The Shofar represent the opinions and thoughts of the individual authors. The author biography represents the author at the time in which they were in BBYO.
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