7 Ways Going to College Affects Your Health
BY MARTHA KARN
College is one of the best times in anyone’s life, but it can also be draining, both mentally and physically. Not only do frequent late-night study sessions combined with early-morning classes keep you from getting the sleep you need and lead to health problems, there are other health-related issues to worry about when you are a student. Today we are going to discuss seven ways that attending college can affect your health.
- Stress – Stress is the biggest thing that can affect your academic performance, and it can also have a huge effect on not only your mental health, but your physical health as well. It is important to keep an eye on your stress levels. If you feel yourself becoming overly stressed-out, don’t be afraid to reach out to someone for help, be it a friend, a counselor, a professor, etc.
- Lack of Sleep – You have a lot on your plate when you are in college. You are trying to juggle a hectic class schedule, make time for studying, socialize, and you might even have a part-time job. All this can lead to a lack of sleep, which is going to affect your health negatively. This is where time-management skills come in. You need to learn how to create a healthy balance so you get everything done and still get plenty of sleep.
- Exercise – Unless they are heavily involved in sports, a lot of students don’t get nearly enough exercise. “This can lead to a number of health issues, including obesity, which can lead to even more health issues. It is important to try and get at least a half an hour of exercise each day. Try walking or cycling to school if you live off-campus. Use the stairs instead of elevators. The more exercise you can get, the better,” suggests Dr.Roth.
- Depression – Many college students deal with depression and anxiety, particularly freshmen who are overwhelmed by college life. Often, depression is not reported or treated, and this is leading to higher drop-out rates. If you feel depressed or anxious, talk to someone. Never be afraid to ask for help. It may be that you need medication to help you get through whatever it is that you are going through.
- Social Anxiety – If you are starting your freshman year, you may feel quite anxious about what to expect. You will be in a completely different environment from what you are used to, and you may have no idea how to act. Don’t become a statistic and end up drinking and partying too much. Find other ways to overcome feelings of social anxiety and learn how to deal with issues constructively.
- Infectious Diseases – There are thousands of people on any given college campus, and this means that there are going to be a lot of germs floating around. It may be impossible to avoid catching a cold or flu at least once during the school year, but you can protect yourself from diseases by learning about disease prevention, and making good use of hand sanitizer. Wash your hands frequently, and avoid touching things that thousands of other people touch, if at all possible.
- Drinking – You are on your own for the first time, and you have a chance to get out and have fun without parental supervision. College life often involves drinking, but some students take it to extremes and drink far too heavily. If you are going to drink, drink responsibly. Avoid binge-drinking, and never drink and drive. Here is a statistic to keep in mind: close to 600,000 college students are injured annually as a result of drinking/drugs.
Martha Karn develops online educational courses and writes for students.