Before joining the student ranks at Central Michigan University, I prepared for years of intense study and responsibility by cutting out some bad habits.
Although quitting Mountain Dew was tough, and replacing it with bottled water was annoying, no addiction was harder to suppress than the dreaded “cancer sticks.”
After three months of night sweats, chewed fingernails and insomnia, I was finally able to say I had etched the dirty habit of smoking out of my lifestyle.
With fresh lungs, and even fresher breath, my future stood before me with optimism at what I might be able to achieve if I could topple the evils of nicotine.
Then the stress kicked in.
It’s a common excuse that smokers have created over the years to explain their dangerous behavior. Smoking can often give people something to fiddle with, to be absent-minded when such hedonism seems impossible.
Transitioning to the sleepy roads of Mount Pleasant and losing contact with my closest friends and hometown was just too much for me to continue to deny such delusions of relaxation.
So after one quarter of a year, proud to be smoke free, I began to puff once again.
Entering classes, proud and excited to be a student at this university, I have suffered even more stress at the knowledge that everyone can smell me.
As I eagerly pace the sidewalks and grassy courtyards of CMU’s scenic campus, I come up short for air – coughing and wheezing after just minutes.
Students gawk at me, some covering their faces so as not to breathe in my noxious fumes. Working in close quarters with my new bosses and coworkers at Central Michigan Life, I can’t help but believe they can smell me, too.
For the final time in this issue, I am declaring that I am quitting tobacco. In this dawning of my new life at CMU, there is no room for the expensive and ugly habit.
I don’t know if I will be smoke-free tomorrow, or even next week. But I will try.
Amid the anxiety of my new setting, and the stress of a more challenging workload, I will work unflinching to finally say goodbye to my cigarettes.
I owe it to my new friends.