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Health and Safety for College Students

College is full of excitement, including meeting new people, learning new things, possibly living away from home, and making your own decisions. Attending college means making many adjustments.
College Class

Some students may become depressed because of personal issues, mounting debt, or change in general. The pressures of school may produce additional anxiety or stress. Studying can be time-consuming and tiring. Dating, making friends, and trying to fit in can also be difficult for some. It can be hard to take good care of your health, including exercising and taking the time to prepare and eat healthy meals. It can also be hard to deal with the pressure to drink at parties, look thin, smoke, use drugs, or be sexually active.

The bottom line is, if you or someone you know has a health or safety concern, get help.

  • Talk to someone you trust, such as a parent, doctor, nurse, social worker, teacher, counselor, or religious leader.
  • If available, visit the college infirmary or health center. If not, seek care from a local clinic or hospital, or as required or recommended by your school.
  • Contact the campus or community police for safety concerns or in the case of an emergency.

Besides fever, cold, upset stomach, and minor injuries, some college health and safety issues include:

  • diet changes and eating disorders
  • fatigue and sleep deprivation
  • mental health- stress, anxiety, and depression
  • substance use- alcohol, drugs, and tobacco
  • relationships and sexual violence
  • sexually transmitted diseases

Visit for more information on combating these issues.

Health and Safety Tips

Your health habits today can affect your health in the future. Even if your habits haven't been so great in the past, this is a great time to develop new habits that will help you be strong and healthy through your college years and beyond.

Develop friendships.
Consider participating in campus activities with other students who have similar interests. Extracurricular activities do not necessarily have to relate to your major. Join a college band, write for the school newspaper, volunteer, or do something else that is fun, helps you meet new people, and gives you the opportunity to express yourself.

Get regular physical activity.
Even if you have a busy schedule, there are quick, easy exercises you can fit into your day. Try to get at least 30 minutes of exercise at one time or in shorter sessions most days of the week. This can include brisk walking, jogging, climbing stairs, or dancing.

Eat a balanced diet.
If you are concerned that you are overweight or underweight, talk with your health care provider about how to lose or gain weight safely. Fruits and vegetables are a natural source of energy and are one of the best eat-on-the-go foods. Be sure to eat regular healthy meals to help you maintain your energy level.

Think positively.
We are often much harder on ourselves in our "self-talk" than we would be when speaking with others. Our tendency to be needlessly self-critical can foster unnecessary distress. But different approaches are available to help handle this. Work with teachers, counselors, family, friends, and others to address concerns about studying, test-taking, and other issues.

Get vaccinated.
Vaccinations help prevent diseases and save lives. Be sure to ask your health care provider about getting vaccinated for meningitis, human papillomavirus (HPV), tetanus, flu, and other diseases.

Get check-ups.
Find a health care provider at your school or local health clinic for routine check-ups and concerns you may have about your health. Check-ups can help ensure you stay healthy and can help identify and correct problems early. They can also give you the opportunity to get to know your health care provider should you get a health problem later in the school year.

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