Find out what types of services are offered, and how you'd go about accessing or paying for those services many large colleges in the United States offer some health insurance as part of your tuition, but it's always good to check to see what that does and does not cover. Mental health services are usually a part of the bigger campus health network, although they are sometimes run from a different part of campus than the general health center.
Find out what kind of help is offered and how students go about accessing it. If you have a mental health issue that you're already treating, work with your current therapist or doctor to come up with a plan on how to keep your care going when you start college this is assuming you can't continue to see them due to distance. You can also ask them to help you make a care plan while you're away at school, and even ask them to be sure it takes into account the extra stress you'll likely be feeling.
We have a starter guide for that here , but I want to demonstrate the different shapes self-care can take in student life. I also want to emphasize that, when you're dealing with a packed student schedule, self-care may feel indulgent or irresponsible. Self-care doesn't have to be time consuming, and many ways of caring for yourself can fit into a busy daily schedule.
Have a day of studying ahead of you? After every hour, get up and take 15 or 20 minutes to do something that will make you feel good quick walk, a snack, play with a pet, etc. Plenty of self-care approaches, like exercise, or going to the library, or calling a friend, are free. The more you're able to build self-care into your routine, the easier time you'll have keeping stress at bay. Creating or maintaining healthy habits while in college is a lifesaver and major form of self-care.
25 Things Every College Student Should Know About Love And Sex
Exercise is a big one, both because it helps protect your physical health and can be a great way to blow off stress what kind is up to you based on what you like and what your physical abilities are. You can also check out organizations like intramural sports teams if you want to play for the sake of play, or campus and community clubs that focus on things like hiking, biking, or even muggle quidditch. Eating well is an equally sound habit to develop, although it can be a difficult one. You're dealing not only with the time crunch of a student schedule, but also a student budget, and depending on where you're living, getting a hold of healthy food can be a trial.
And if this is the first time you've had to shop or cook for yourself, it may take you a little while to get the hang of it. That's why many of us come out of college with stories like: Whenever possible, do try to eat food that has some nutritional value beyond mere calories, and that will help fuel you to get through whatever you need to do that day, which will often be a whole lot.
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There are a growing number of books and a lot of blogs that focus on how to eat well when you're busy and have a limited budget. I want to stress the importance of washing your hands consistently. It's one of those things that we all should be doing, but that many of us are a little lax about.
But when you're in a space like a dorm, or a huge building full of lecture halls, illness can spread easily.
One of the simplest ways to decrease your odds of either passing on or picking up an illness is to wash your hands. In the event that you do get sick and you probably will a little pre-planning can make your life easier. When you're heading off to school, pack yourself a mini wellness kit that will help you do self-care while sick. Fill it with the things that you need to deal with standard flus and colds. A general cold medicine, antacids, soothing tea, lozenges, a thermometer if you can manage it, plus things like bandages. Trust me, it'll be nice to not have to drag your achey, coughing self to the drugstore and instead just reach under your bed for what you need when you get sick.
You may hit a point when sick where you're not sure if you need to seek outside care or not. Most universities will have an advice nurse line that you can call, where you describe your symptoms and get recommendations about what to do. If there is not an advice nurse attached to your campus health services, you can internet search for "advice nurse for insert your city " to find one. A general rule is that if you're symptoms last longer than a week or so, get more intense instead of decreasing as time goes on, or get suddenly worse, then it's time to visit a doctor.
Paying attention to your mind is just as important as paying attention to your body when it comes to taking care of yourself. College -- and your brand-new-life-on-your-own, if that's part of college for you -- is stressful. There's no getting around that, so it's going to make your life easier if you accept that, yep, some days or weeks are going to suck and you're going to feel an emotional impact from that. But there's no prize for being the most miserable and tired except being the most miserable and tired.
More and more campuses recognize this and are making an effort to have resources for students who are struggling with mental health issues. If mental health issues either ongoing or caused by a certain incident, like a death of a loved one or the stress of school are starting to impact your schoolwork, talk with your professors. People in academia are not immune to the general cultural weirdness around mental illness, but the average professor wants students to succeed, or at least have a fighting chance of getting through the course.
If you let them know what's up you don't have to reveal your entire mental health history, just let them know the general shape of the issue , they may be able to direct you to counseling or advising resources, or help you come up with a plan for how to best tackle the coursework. Blogger Captain Awkward has a great list of suggestions for how to have these conversations with your professor. If you need to drop a class and retry it again another time, that's won't be the end of the world.
If school takes you a semester or two or even a year or two more to complete than you planned, that does not make you a failure. There is immense pressure, both culturally and financially, on students to move through school efficiently and expertly, and messaging that suggests any delay or setback spells certain doom for your future. But the world just isn't that clear cut, and a year here or there that doesn't go as planned won't make that much difference down the road. Figuring out how to navigate relationships in college instead of high school is like swimming in the ocean when you've previously only swum in a pool.
The basic mechanics are the same, but there are way more things that can happen, a more complex context, and you may be going it without some of the supports and safeties you had at home. For the average person, it can be overwhelming. Let me state one thing very clearly: No one perfects the ins and outs of dating in college by the end of their first week. Or their first year. In fact, many of us graduate and are still unsure how to make the process work for us.
Higher Learning: Navigating Sex and Relationships in College | Scarleteen
Everyone is working this out and making it up as they go along, most often using skills they are only acquiring or honing as they go. Please don't feel like a loser if you're struggling where relationships are involved. You've got an awful lot of good company. Similarly, there's no one "right" way to have relationships or sex in college. There's a tendency to present these years as being the time to go wild and sleep with as many people as possible. If you're someone who enjoys, or thinks they may enjoy, casual sex, that's certainly on option.
We even have a handy guide to help you do it safely and get a sense of if it's something right for you. If that's not something you want, that's all good, too. You're not somehow wasting your college years if you don't have a ton of or any sex during that time, and you'll find plenty of people at every college who don't want to have casual sexual experiences or relationships.
The first step in finding your footing in the world of college dating is often to get a sense of what kind of relationship you're looking for, or that you're curious about and what kinds feel like total no-go's or do-not-wants for you. Knowing your own desires will make it easier to communicate with potential partners to see if you two are on the same page about what you basically want from a relationship or interaction, which can head off some "Wait, shoot, I thought we weren't exclusive " arguments at the pass.
Even if you're someone who prefers monogamy and wants to use dating as a way to find a good long term partner , know that you will likely still date a number of people while in college. There are lots of folks out there, and odds are the first person you date will not be your perfect or even pretty good match. So try not to get discouraged if you don't meet your soul mate right away. How do you go about finding people to pursue those relationships or interactions with?
It's not as though they hand out a "Here's where to find people you want to date or have sex with" guide at orientation. So what's a student to do? Literally, the best way to meet people in college, be they friends or romantic partners, is to do stuff. Have a hobby or activity that you love, or that you're curious about?
Find out if there's a campus club or organization centering on that activity. That way, you can meet people who you have at least one point in common with, and some of whom may turn out to be the kind of folks you'd like to get to know better.
I know this advice might sound cliche, but trust me, I am someone for whom the process of making friends takes about as much time as it does a Redwood Tree to go from pine cone to full grown. And I came out of college with friends thanks to the "just do stuff" approach. It works, not always as fast as you'd like it to, but it works. Let's say you've found someone who you like and who likes you, and now it's time to have a sexy study session. But, if you're like many college students, you're living in close quarters, probably with a roommate or two.
How do you go about getting your kicks without being rude to the people you live with? Much as with sex, communication is key here.
Mo and I covered some details of how to mix sex with shared living in this piece , but the gist of it is this: It's a good idea to sit down with any roommates at the beginning of the year to discuss some basic ground rules for living together harmoniously quiet hours, who cleans what, etc. In that conversation, include a discussion of what to do if one of you wants to bring a partner back to the shared space.
Will you have a signal on the door so you don't accidentally walk in on each other? Is it okay for guests to stay the night? Are you comfortable spending the night with a friend is one of you wants the room for sexy purposes, or is sexiling having to spend the night elsewhere due to a roommate having sex a no-go? Laying this kind of groundwork can help you avoid tension later on.
And, don't be afraid to communicate as things change. If you have two midterms tomorrow, maybe let your roommate know that any sexy shenanigans need to take place elsewhere tonight.
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While we're on the subject of sex in college, we need to touch upon the combination of alcohol and sex and why mixing them is not actually a great plan. If you're asking for my opinion as a sex educator about what choice is the least likely to result in something bad? Then the simple fact is that you should not combine booze and sex. From the standpoint of the law, any intoxication can mean a sexual assault has occurred.