You have arrived at college, your new home away from home for about 10 months out of the year. Everything is new, especially if you're living on campus. A new room, new people, new places, and quite possibly the newest thing of all: no parents.
As great as this newfound freedom might feel, if left unchecked, the absence of a strong guiding hand could lead to some major chaos -- especially when there's no one left to nag you to eat your veggies and get your regular check-ups. It's time for you to start relying on yourself.
But don't stress; you're not completely alone. College campuses have health facilities and other programs to keep you safe and sound. But since you're an adult now, it's up to you to use them.
College is a time for learning, meeting new people, seeing new places, and of course having fun. But along with those great experiences often comes a great deal of new stress. Staying up all night to finish that term paper can weigh heavily on your immune system.
Student health centers offer a variety of healthcare, including self-care packages (such as cold packs and ibuprofen for minor aches and pains), preventative care, HIV testing, and even stress-management programs. Lynne Maier, clinic coordinator at SUNY Brockport's student health center, says that students pay a mandatory health fee that gives them access to these services.
Say you get a sore throat or the sniffles. Even if you think you just have the common cold, don't hesitate to stop in to your student health center. Many campus health centers make it easy to make an appointment by going online, calling, or just walking in.
Health centers offer services to help you take care of yourself, even if you're not feeling under the weather. Sleeping, eating, and managing stress are often the three basic functions of health that busy collegiates forget. "Students tend to burn the candle at both ends," says Maier.
Maier recommends that students remember to try their best to sleep and eat the same way that they did at home. If this becomes something that you find yourself struggling with, SUNY Brockport's health center, like many other student health centers, has a dietitian on campus that offers nutritional counseling. Maier also recommends that students take advantage of their health center's programs, such as stress management, to help deal with hectic college life.
Each campus's health center has its own programs and facilities, so make sure to investigate the offerings before you have a problem. Alicia Nestle, assistant director of new media at NazarethCollege, recommends that students get acquainted with these facilities by just stopping in on campus or by checking out their website. "There will always be staff available to talk [to students]," she says.
College Health Centers
NazarethCollege Located in StudentWellnessCenter (former PsychologyBuilding). Hours: Monday-Friday 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Contact: 585-389-2500; after hours nurse advice line: 1-866-910-5313. firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: naz.edu/health-services.
Rochester Institute of Technology Located at 117 Lomb Memorial Drive. Hours: Monday-Thursday 8:30 a.m.-7 p.m., Wednesday 8:30 a.m.-noon & 2:30-7 p.m., Friday 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Contact: 585-475-2255. Website: rit.edu/studentaffairs/studenthealth.
St. JohnFisherCollege: Located on first floor of Wegmans School of Nursing Building. Hours: medical services Monday-Friday 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; mental health services Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (by appointment only); alcohol and other drug services: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4 p.m. (by appointment only). Contact: 585-385-8280. Website: sjfc.edu/campus-services/wellness.
SUNY Brockport: Located in Hazen Hall. Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-4:45 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m.- 2p.m. (closed Saturday before breaks). Contact: 585-395-2414, email@example.com. Website: brockport.edu/healthctr/index/html.
SUNY Geneseo Located at LauderdaleHealthCenter on University Drive on the north side of campus. Hours: Monday & Thursday 8 a.m.-7 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday & Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Contact: 585-245-5736,firstname.lastname@example.org. Website: geneseo.edu/health.
University of Rochester: River Campus Office is located on the first floor of the UHSBuilding. Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday 8 a.m.-9 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m.-9 p.m.; Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Saturday 9 a.m.-5 p.m.; Sunday 1-6 p.m. Contact: 585-275-2662, email@example.com. Website: Rochester.edu/uhs/index.html.
MedicalCenter Office is located at 1-5077 UR Medical Center (entrance at 250 Crittenden Blvd.). Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 8 a.m.-noon & 12:30-5 p.m.; Tuesday 9 a.m.-noon & 12:30-5 p.m.
Eastman School of Music health center is located at Room 106 of ESM Living Center. Hours: Monday-Friday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Phone: 585-273-5775.
Colleges employ dozens of people to help to ensure your safety and create safe environments. While it's unlikely that you'll encounter any serious issues, it's important for you to practice safe behaviors and know how to utilize your campus's security should you need it.
The Buddy System: While a student in danger is not a common problem, it's important to be aware of your surroundings, especially at night. If you go out in a group, try to stay in that group. If you're not familiar with an area yet, having people you can rely on is key to your safety. If your group splits up, be sure to have at least one person in the group that you plan on sticking with for the whole night.
Reporting an Issue: If something unfortunately does happen, the best thing you can do is be proactive. The worst thing you can do is ignore the problem. Many campuses employ their own police officers that work around the clock to keep students safe. To report anything, big or small, remember that they are there for you.
Blue Light System: If you feel that you or someone else is in danger, look for one of the blue light phones in place on most college campuses. These phones make it easy to report a problem. All you have to do is pick up the phone, and the call will go directly to campus security. The phone system immediately locates where a call is coming from, which will help security to come assist you.