I was surprised to learn how many young women had never been to the doctor on their own. When you move off to college, you need to take ownership of your healthcare.
Make sure you know any allergies you have to medication. It’s also a good idea to have some over the counter treatments on hand in case a cold, headache or stomach virus hits.
Most college campuses have an on-campus health clinic. Make sure you know where this is. Many towns also have walk-in clinics that you can use as well for after hours and weekend medical needs.
Make sure you have copies of your insurance card and know what your co-pays are before you need them.
Keep watch over your mental health as well. Depression is very real. Don’t let yourself slip to deeply into that valley without reaching out to someone. Make sure you are getting enough sleep. General illnesses and depression are worsened when you aren’t catching enough zzzz’s. When you start getting homesick (and you will, more than you think), it’s up to you to try and find ways to counteract those feelings.
Loneliness is very real and it’s not about the number of people you are around. It’s about the depth of those relationships. You can be a very social person and still be lonely. Loneliness comes in transition times, when we are separated from family, and when we experience opposition or rejection. At points all through life, we’re each going to experience this feeling.
There are lots of ways to combat loneliness. If you are part of a Greek organization, don’t just be a member – get involved. Join a committee. Participate in philanthropic activities. Sometimes the act of giving back is all it takes to pull you through. Don’t turn to destructive means of coping. Some people turn to shopping while others try to mask the hurt with drugs or alcohol. Try not to replay bad thoughts in your mind. For each negative thought that crosses your mind, replace it with a positive.
Many campuses offer wellness counseling. If you can’t shake the negative feelings. Reach out to one of these centers. They are private and confidential. Sometimes it helps to have a neutral party listen and guide you through.
Another way to protect your mental well-being is to feed your soul while you are feeding your mind. Many students who were active in church all through high school find themselves slipping out of the routine in college. A lot are intimidated to visit local churches on their own. However, there are many on campus organizations you can consider to keep your spirituality nourished. Check out Campus Outreach, the Baptist Christian Ministry and the Wesley Foundation for starters. A lot of local churches will have special events just for college students as well. Enlist some friends and see what is offered around you.
In talking about the importance of kindness, it’s easy to forget that you have to start with being kind to yourself. How does it feel to hear that?