Health care at university
Starting university can be an extremely challenging, yet exciting experience. For most people, university means moving away from their parents the very first time. This will mean doing one’s own dishes, one’s own laundry, being entirely responsible for oneself for the first time in one’s life. It is a period of detachment from one’s parents, the time in one’s life when one truly steps out of the protected environment one has been living in to experience a taste of the real world. Mastering all this along with managing to get through an entirely new programme of study well while getting used to a new learning environment can be more than a little exhausting.
One of the things that a student’s parents will probably always have taken care of is their health care. If the child was ill, its parents probably simply sent it to a doctor and helped it get better. They might also have ensured their child’s nutrition is balanced and that they get enough exercise. Such parental guidance will not be available for students anymore. As soon as they start university, they live on campus, away from home, and if they have health issues, they need to deal with those themselves. Luckily, help is available.
Firstly, most universities will have a student health centre with qualified staff, as well as someone to turn to in case of an emergency. This can be really helpful for any health-related questions or concerns a student might have. Most student health centres will also offer routine checks, just to make sure everything is all right and the body is functioning the way it should be. The staff there is also responsible for offering advice about things like contraception and sexual health or adequate dieting and exercise. Of course, the service is absolutely and entirely confidential, so students are encouraged not to feel ashamed and to share their concerns with educated adults who are likely to be able to help and advise them. Furthermore, in most cases, it is the student health centre that will be responsible for issuing medical certificates that can justify a student’s absence from a class or their inability to turn a piece of work in.
Next to the student health centre, many universities offer health degrees and programmes, the lectures of which are usually free and open to the public. Timetables are often available online or from the corresponding department at the university. This means that if a student is interested in a particular topic related to health, but feels uncomfortable turning to the student health centre for whatever reason, they can just visit a health lecture on the topic and hopefully obtain the information they were looking for from qualified professors.
Some useful advice for students includes not being afraid to go see the health centre. In fact, it is advisable to pay them a visit right when you start college, just so you can find out what kind of services they offer and what you can go see them for. It is advisable to go see a doctor if you are more than a little unwell. It is like they say, ‘better safe than sorry’. It is better to go see your doctor even if it is just for a case of seasonal flu, and even if you think you might be bothering them with something unimportant, than continue feeling unwell and not doing anything about it, thus slowing recovery down. There is also a number of things that it is important to be aware of when living on a university campus, such as issues like contraception or drug abuse. These are very serious topics and they are to be taken as such at all times. If you are uncertain about anything related to such topics, you can always go to the student health centre and obtain information. Remember that they are likely to be a much more reliable source of information than the internet or your friends and that relying on what they tell you is almost certain to help you, not get you into unwanted trouble and help you solve health problems rather than creating a whole other bunch of them.