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We are here to help you develop a balanced approach to your well-being and guide you in incorporating healthy activities into your life. We hope you will come to see the Student Health Center as a wellness resource, as well as a place to come when you are ill. Think of each visit as an opportunity to maintain your health and address medical problems, but also to increase your knowledge and awareness to prevent illnesses and injuries in the future. Being in good health is of the utmost importance to maintaining a high quality of life.

We believe a healthy lifestyle includes the following four components:

  • A Healthy Body - diet, exercise, rest, disease prevention
  • A Healthy Mind - fun, relaxation, stress management, exercise
  • A Healthy Spirit - worship, prayer, meditation, devotions
  • A Healthy Environment - social supports, community involvement, personal safety

Neglect in any one area can affect your overall wellness. The Health Center promotes healthy lifestyle choices and decisions regarding health care. Students are encouraged to take the lead in seeking health care in a timely fashion.

In this section, you will find information on:

Here’s a handy list so you know where to go to start feeling better when the Health Center is closed:

Emergency Department Urgent Care Clinic
Traumatic injuries Coughs, congestion, sore throats
Chest pain Mild fever
Stroke symptoms Minor asthma
Loss of consciousness Rashes and allergic reactions
Trouble breathing Pink eye
Palpitations Animal and bug bites
Abdominal pain Broken bones or joint injuries
Seizures Simple cuts or burns
Headaches Painful urination
High fevers Skin infections
Complicated cuts or burns Flu-related vomiting or diarrhea
Eye or facial injuries Strains or sprains
Poisoning or overdoses Minor head injuries

Urgent Care Clinics have providers who are experienced in both primary care as well as emergency care. Typically, a visit to urgent care will be less than a trip to the emergency room and can save you significant time and money. You can expect your copay at an urgent care clinic to be closer to what a visit to your primary care provider would cost you.

Are you hydrated?
If not, have a glass of water.

Have you eaten the last 3 hours?
If not, get some food — something with protein, not just simple carbs. Perhaps some nuts, hummus, yogurt, or peanut butter on toast?

Have you showered in the past day? 
If not, take a shower right now. It will help to "reset" you and feel refreshed.

Have you stretched your legs in the past day?
If not, do so right now.  If you don’t have the energy for a run or trip to the gym, just walk around the quad, then keep walking as long as you please. If the weather is poor, consider walking around the track at the Bennett Center, or drive to the mall or Target and go on a brisk walk through the aisles you normally skip.

Have you said something nice to someone in the past day? 
Do so, whether online or in person. Make it genuine; wait until you see something really wonderful about someone, and tell them about it.

Have you moved your body to music in the past day? 
If not, jog for the length of a song at your favorite tempo, or grab a friend and just dance around the room for the length of an upbeat song.

Have you cuddled a living being in the past two days? 
If not, do so. Don’t be afraid to ask for hugs from friends. Most of them will enjoy the cuddles too; you’re not imposing on them.

Have you seen a therapist in the past few days? 
If not, call to see if you can make an appointment or hang on until your next therapy visit and talk through things then.

Have you changed any of your medications in the past couple of weeks, including skipped doses or a change in generic prescription brand?
This may cause a sense of uneasiness or feeling “off.” Give things a few days, then talk to your prescriber if it doesn’t settle down.

If daytime: are you dressed? 
If not, put on clean clothes that aren’t pajamas. Give yourself permission to wear something special, whether it’s a funny t-shirt or a pretty dress.

If nighttime: are you sleepy and fatigued but resisting going to sleep?
Put on pajamas, make yourself cozy in bed with a teddy bear and the sound of falling rain, and close your eyes for fifteen minutes — no electronic screens allowed. If you’re still awake after that, you can get up again and reset after a quiet, low-light activity; no pressure.

Do you feel ineffective? 
Pause right now and get something small completed; whether it’s responding to an e-mail, putting in a small load of laundry, cleaning up your dorm room, or packing your bag for the next day. You can also prioritize your tasks. When you are overwhelmed, creating a list of what you need to accomplish can increase a sense of control and order.

Do you feel paralyzed by indecision? 
Give yourself ten minutes to sit back and figure out a game plan for the day. If a particular decision or problem is still causing a roadblock, simply set it aside for now, and pick something else that seems doable. Right now, the important part is to break through that stasis, even if it means doing something trivial.

Do you feel unattractive? 
Take a shower and pick out an outfit that makes you feel relaxed and confident. Remember that there is no other YOU. Let your friends remind you how great you look, and remember that the college environment is a difficult one for comparison. Comparison will ALWAYS result in distress. Be unapologetically you.

Have you over-exerted yourself lately — physically, emotionally, socially, or intellectually?
Your life as a student demands a lot of you. Over-exertion can take a toll that lingers for days. Give yourself a break in that area, whether it’s physical rest, taking time alone, or relaxing with some silly entertainment.

Have you waited a week? 
Sometimes our perception of life is skewed and we can’t even tell that we’re not thinking clearly, and there’s no obvious external cause. It happens. Keep yourself going for a full week, whatever it takes, and see if you still feel the same way then.

(adapted uccs.edu/Documents/wellness/wellpromo/Everything-is-awful.pdf)

Anxiety Constipation Fever Pink Eye (Conjunctivitis) Vaginal Yeast Infection
Bedbugs bites Cough Head lice Seasonal Allergies  
Common Cold Diarrhea Influenza (Flu) Sore Throat  

Anxiety is a feeling of worry, dread, apprehension or agitation. Occasional anxiety is an appropriate reaction to stressful events in your life. These episodes of anxiety can generally be managed with the help of your own support system. A visit to a health care provider or mental health professional may be needed if these episodes become frequent and interfere with your everyday life.

Feelings of dread, uneasiness, nervousness disproportionate to situation
Problems concentrating
Chest pain or tightness; shortness of breath
Abdominal pain
Muscle tension, restlessness, fatigue

What you can do:
Talk with supportive friends/family
Do something fun!
Reduce your caffeine intake
Create a routine
Schedule time to nourish your spirit with reading, prayer, meditation or music; journal
Get 7-8 hours of sleep each night
Exercise and/or YOGA
Try a calming app or a guided meditation app
Avoid self-medicating with alcohol or drugs, which increase symptoms of anxiety
Schedule an appointment to see a counselor at the Counseling Center.
Read and practice these self-care recommendations from the Counseling Center.

When to seek care from a medical provider:
You are thinking about hurting yourself or others
You experience ongoing irrational feelings that are generalized and not linked to a specific event   
You have frequent, severe anxiety
You have physical symptoms including but not limited to chest pain, shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting spells, panic attacks

If you feel you are having a mental health emergency, please contact your RA and or RD so that they can help you make a plan to access services at the Counseling Center or go to the Emergency Room. After hours or on the weekend - Call public safety at 978 867 3333 or go to a local emergency department (Beverly Hospital 85 Herrick Street Beverly MA  01915).

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Bedbugs are small parasites that bite the exposed skin of sleeping humans and animals to feed on their blood. Although bedbugs aren't known to spread disease, they can cause other public health and economic issues.

These pesky insects are just about the size of an apple seed; they hide in the cracks and crevices of beds, box springs, headboards, bed frames and any other objects around a bed. The risk of encountering bedbugs increases if you spend time in places with high turnovers of nighttime guests; such as hotels, hospitals or homeless shelters.

Bedbugs are great hitchhikers. They can move from one site to another by traveling on furniture, bedding and boxes, luggage and clothing. Bedbugs crawl about as fast as a ladybug, and can easily travel between floors and rooms in hotels or apartment complexes.

It can be difficult to distinguish bedbug bites from other insect bites or rashes. In general, the sites of bedbug bites usually are itchy and red, sometimes with a darker red spot in the middle; they usually appear in line (of sorts) or in a cluster…on the hands, arms, neck face. Some people have no reaction to bedbug bites, while others experience an allergic reaction like hives, severe itching or blisters.

Bedbug infestations usually occur around or near where people sleep. They hide in the cracks and crevices of mattresses, box springs, headboards and bedframes. In addition, they may be found in clutter around your bed, under carpets bear the baseboard and in the seams of upholstered furniture. Bedbugs don't care if their environment is clean or dirty. All they need is a warm host and plenty of hiding places.

For a complete list of frequently asked questions and full information on bedbugs, go to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

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Upper respiratory tract infections are usually viral and often last for 10-12 days. Coughs may linger for 3-4 weeks. Antibiotics are NOT effective for viral infections; over-the-counter cold remedies may be helpful in managing symptoms.

Develop slowly over 2-4 days
Sore throat, nasal congestion, runny nose, fever up to 102 degrees, fatigue, headache, muscle aches, watery eyes
Is it a cold or the flu?

What you can do:
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids
Use saline nose drops to loosen mucus OR nasal decongestant spray (Oxymetazoline) for short-term relief of nasal congestion (do not use for more than 3 days)
Use Ibuprofen (Advil®) 600mg every 6-8 hours or Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) 650mg every 6 hours as needed to reduce fever or discomfort
Use Oral Decongestants (Phenylephrine) for short-term relief of nasal congestion
Gargle with salt water and use throat sprays/lozenges for throat pain
Use heated, humidified air (if you do not have a humidifier try taking a hot shower)

Limit spread to others:
Wash hands frequently
Cover coughs and sneezes using the crook of your elbow

When to seek care from a medical provider:
Temp over 102 for more than 3 days
For symptoms that last over 10 days and are getting worse instead of better
Shortness of breath/wheezing; chest pressure or pain
Severe sinus pressure
Very swollen glands in the neck or jaw
Sore throat lasting more than 1 week; especially if swallowing becomes difficult

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Constipation is a significant decrease in a person’s normal number of bowel movements; it may also include the difficult passage of stools. Occasional constipation is very common. It may be caused by many factors including diet and level of activity; it can also be related to medication.

May include less frequent bowel movements, hard stools and straining during a bowel movement.

What you can do:
Eat high-fiber foods and drink plenty of fluids, especially water
Aim for 25 grams of fiber per day…high-fiber foods include dark green leafy vegetables, raw veggies and fruits; oatmeal, quinoa, whole grain breads and cereals, popcorn; nuts/seeds
Drink 48-64 ounces of non-alcoholic/non-caffeine fluids per day
If necessary, use an over-the-counter stool softener containing Docusate Sodium (Colace®) or a mild laxative containing polyethylene glycol such as Miralax® or Phillips Milk of Magnesia (liquid or caplets). These are meant for occasional use.
Avoid frequent use of stimulant laxatives such as Ex-Lax®, Senekot or Dulcolax®. Overuse of these products may cause the colon to become dependent on these medications.

When to seek care from a medical provider:
If you lose more than 10 pounds without trying
If you have symptoms of constipation and a fever
If you have symptoms of constipation and nausea/vomiting
Changes in bowel habits that last more than 3 months and are not explained by a change in diet or medication

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A cough is usually caused by one of many respiratory viruses in adults.
Viral coughs generally last for 7-14 days and can be treated without seeing a medical provider.

Cough that produces mucus (mucus may be clear, white, yellowish-gray or green)
Nasal congestion, runny nose, sore throat, headache, fatigue

What you can do:
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids
Avoid cigarette smoke
Use a humidifier
Use a cough medication with Dextromethorphan to suppress the cough and/or Guaifenesin to thin mucus (but please be aware that only about 60% of people benefit from over-the-counter cough suppressant medicine, depending on the reason for the cough; prescription cough medication only helps 65-70% of those who take it).

Limit spread to others:
Cover your cough using the crook of your elbow
Wash your hands frequently
Avoid intimate contact
If you have fever stay home until fever-free for at least 24 hours
(temp should be less than 100 degrees Fahrenheit without medication)

When to seek care from a medical provider:
Cough persists for longer than three weeks
Cough prevents you from sleeping
Chest pain, wheezing or shortness of breath
Cough produces blood (more than streaks in the mucus)
Temp is higher than 101 with an incessant cough lasting more than 72 hours

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Diarrhea is a condition in which there is an increase in the frequency, or decrease in solidity of bowel movements. It has many causes; some infectious and some non-infectious.

What to do:
If you have diarrhea with vomiting, let your stomach settle before tending to the diarrhea.
When these symptoms occur at the same time, there is increased risk of dehydration. If you can’t keep any liquids down and have not urinated for more than 8 hours, you should seek medical attention.
Once you’ve stopped vomiting for at least 6 hours and are holding down fluids, you should start out slowly by trying to eat bland foods such as the “BRATS” diet:

  • B ananas, bread (to help replace potassium)
  • R ice, rice-based cereal
  • A pples, applesauce (unlike apple juice, these have pectin which can also thicken bowel movements)
  • T oast (no butter, a small amount of jam/jelly is ok)
  • S altines—or other crackers (to help replace lost sodium)

If you have diarrhea without vomiting, you may not have to change your diet very much. Drink plenty of fluids (water, sports drinks, or very diluted juices) to keep hydrated.

Avoid greasy and spicy foods, full-strength juice (the sugars make diarrhea worse), and other foods or drinks that you remember have made previous episodes of diarrhea worse.
Non-prescription products, such as Imodium AD, Pepto-Bismol, and Kaopectate can decrease the frequency or increase the consistency of bowel movements. If you use any of these medicines, always follow the package instructions. You can find these products at any pharmacy.

Please note: If you notice that your stool looks black or that your tongue turns black, there is no cause for alarm. This is a normal response to this type of medication.

When to seek care from a medical provider:
More than 5 episodes of diarrhea in a day or diarrhea for more than 5 days
Severe abdominal cramping
Fever for more than 2 days
If you have not urinated in more than 8 hours
Seeing bright red blood in the toilet
Recent international travel

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A person has a fever when their body temperature rises above the normal rage. Normal body temperature for adults is 97.6°F to 99.6°F; adults with a temp over 101.0°F would be described as having a fever. A fever is one way that your body fights infection. Viruses, bacterial infections, heat/sun exposure, and some other conditions may trigger a fever. Generally, there is no cause for alarm in adults. The fever will likely resolve without treatment from a health care provider.

Chills/ Sweating/ Shivering
Headache/ Muscle aches/ Weakness
Similar symptoms to a cold, flu, or gastrointestinal illness (see related self-care guides) 

What you can do:
Rest…and drink plenty of fluids
Take Ibuprofen (Advil®) 600 mg every 6 hours or Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) 1000 mg every 6 hours as needed to reduce fever/discomfort

Limit spread to others:
Stay home and away from others until fever-free for more than 24-hours (temp should be less   than 100° without medication)
Do not go to class or dining facilities.
Wash hands frequently

When to seek care from a medical provider:
Temp is over 103° OR over 102° for more than 3 days
Confusion or disorientation
Severe or persistent vomiting
Severe headache/ sensitivity to light/ Seizure
Abdominal pain or pain when urinating
Other unexplained symptoms

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Head lice are parasites that live close to the human scalp. Lice can be seen in the adult (live) stage or as nits (eggs). Lice are spread by direct contact with the hair of a person who has them. Head lice do not spread disease and can usually be treated without the assistance of a health care provider.

Feeling of something moving in your hair
Itching on the head
Difficulty sleeping
Sores on the head caused by scratching
Live lice or nits seen in the hair or on the scalp

What you can do:

  • Thoroughly vacuum around & under bed, desk, and closet
  • Vacuum bed frame
  • When done vacuuming, be sure to throw the vacuum cleaner bag away
  • Wash everyone's bedding in HOT water, including throw pillows, stuffed animals, etc.
  • Wash everyone's clothes that they wore this week
  • Wash ALL clothing of person with lice
  • Thoroughly clean that part of the room, making sure there are not places lice could hide even though the risk of getting infested by a louse that has fallen onto a rug or carpet or furniture is very small.
  • Affected person/s, if you haven’t already, should follow a purchased hair treatment process such as NIX, RID or FAIRY TALES (go to CVS or Target); also pick up a new hairbrush/comb or whatever you use to care for your hair.  THROW AWAY the old ones.
  • Roommates should all check for lice (thoroughly comb through hair)
  • Affected person should wash bedding and clothes each day for the next 3 days and be cautious in behavior (don’t go watch a movie somewhere and put your head on someone else’s pillow or couch)

VERY IMPORTANT: When transferring dirty bedding and clothing, please use trash bags. When a trash bag is emptied, please only use it again to carry other dirty clothing. When done, throw the empty trash bag away.  Please use a NEW trash bag to carry CLEAN items. When you shower, it's a good idea to put your dirty clothes and towels directly into a trash bag to get washed. It is important for your friends to know if you’ve had a lot of contact with them and they could be at risk.  

  • If hair is longer than shoulder-length you may need two bottles.
  • Pay special attention to the instructions on how long to leave the medication on and how it should be washed out.
  • Do not use a combination shampoo/conditioner, or conditioner before using lice medicine.
  • Do not re-wash hair for 1-2 days after the lice medicine is removed
  • Put on clean clothes after treatment.

If a few live lice are still found 8–12 hours after treatment, but are moving more slowly than before, do not retreat. The medicine may take longer to kill all the lice. Comb dead and any remaining live lice out of the hair using a fine–toothed nit comb. Nit (head lice egg) combs, often found in lice medicine packages, should be used to comb nits and lice from the hair shaft. Many flea combs made for cats and dogs are also effective.

After each treatment, checking the hair and combing with a nit comb to remove nits and lice every 2-3 days may decrease the chance of re-infestation. Continue to check for 2–3 weeks to be sure all lice and nits are gone.

Retreatment is meant to kill any surviving hatched lice before they produce new eggs. For some drugs, retreatment is recommended routinely about a week after the first treatment (7–9 days, depending on the drug) and for others only if crawling lice are seen during this period.

Prevent re-infestation and/or spread:
Machine wash and dry clothing, bed linens, and other items that the infested person wore or used during the 2 days before treatment using the hot water (130°F) laundry cycle and the high heat drying cycle. Clothing and items that are not washable can be dry–cleaned OR sealed in a plastic bag and stored for 2 weeks.
Soak combs and brushes in hot water (at least 130°F) for 5–10 minutes. absorbed through the skin.
Do not share your combs, brushes, or towels.
Do not lie on beds, couches, pillows, carpets, or stuffed animals that have recently been touched by a person with head lice, unless they have been cleaned (as listed above), and the person has also been treated

When to seek care from a medical provider:
If 8-12 hours after treatment the lice are moving just as much as before treatment


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Getting the flu vaccine is the best prevention! Influenza is a contagious respiratory illness caused by a virus. It is not the virus that mainly causes vomiting and diarrhea.  The illness usually lasts 3-4 days with complete healing within 2 weeks. Flu can be treated without seeing a medical provider.

Sudden/rapid onset of symptoms
Muscle or body aches
Fever or feeling feverish with chills
Is it a cold or the flu?

What you can do:
Rest and drink plenty of fluids
Use saline nose drops to loosen mucus OR nasal decongestant spray (Oxymetazoline) for short-term relief of nasal congestion (do not use for more than 3 days)
Take Ibuprofen (Advil®) 600 mg every 6 hours or Acetaminophen (Tylenol®) 1000 mg every 6 hours as needed to reduce fever or discomfort
Use Oral Decongestants (Phenylephrine) for short-term relief of nasal congestion
Gargle with salt water and use throat sprays/lozenges for throat pain
Try a humidifier or take a hot shower

Special Note:  Antiviral medication (Tamiflu®) is generally recommended for patients with serious underlying medical conditions and may be at risk for severe complications.  It is only effective if prescribed within 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.

Limit spread to others:
Stay home and away from others until temp is down for more than 24-hours (less than 100 without medication)
Do not go to class or dining facilities
Wash hands frequently
Contain coughs and sneezes using the crook of your elbow

When to seek care from a medical provider:
If you are at high risk (such as pregnancy or chronic medical conditions
Temp over 102 that lasts for more than 3 days or worsening symptoms more than 10 days
Shortness of breath/ Pain/pressure in your chest
Confusion or disorientation
Severe or persistent vomiting
Severe sinus pain/very swollen glands in the neck or jaw

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PINK EYE (Conjunctivitis)
Pink eye will usually resolve without treatment; it rarely results in serious complications. 

Most often include redness, discharge, itching, burning or a sensation that something is in your eye.
Symptoms may last 7-10 days; more likely 5 days

What you can do:
Do not wear contact lenses until symptoms resolve
Avoid eye makeup
Refresh Plus® or a similar saline preparation may help with the discomfort; cold compresses may also provide some temporary relief

Limit spread to others:
You may be contagious for 7-14 days. This should not keep you from attending classes or other events, but you should take care to prevent spread to others.
Wash hands frequently with soap and water
Do not share towels
Avoid intimate contact with others
If you work in a health care setting, child care setting, or handle food you should not work until there is no drainage from the eye

When to seek care from a medical provider:
Your eye/s have been injured
You are experiencing eye pain

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Allergic rhinitis (also referred to as hay fever) may result from sensitivity to indoor or outdoor allergens which vary from season to season. These pesky sources are often pollen, mold and pet dander.

Nasal congestion
Runny nose
Itchy and/or watery eyes

What you can do:
Use non-drowsy antihistamines like Zyrtec® (cetirizine), Claritin® (loratadine), or Allegra® (fexofenadine) for runny nose, itching, and sneezing
Use over the counter nasal sprays such as Flonase® or Nasacort® daily during your allergy season
Use a decongestant such as pseudoephedrine or phenylephrine for nasal congestion
Avoid allergy triggers as much as possible
Stay indoors on dry, windy days
Shower and launder clothes and sheets (more often than usual) to remove pollen from hair and skin
Use an air conditioner when possible
Use a dehumidifier to keep indoor air dry
Use a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter

When to seek care from a medical provider:
If you are having any signs of a severe allergic reaction seek immediate medical attention: swelling of the throat, loss of consciousness, feeling dizzy or lightheaded, shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, a skin rash, rapid or weak pulse
If over-the-counter meds are not working

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A sore throat is usually caused by a virus and typically lasts 5-6 days. Symptoms of an upper respiratory infection (nasal congestion, runny nose, and cough) often follow within a few days after a sore throat begins. Most often there is no need to see a medical provider.

Sore throat
Swollen glands in the neck
Fever up to 102 degrees
Fatigue and body aches
Nasal congestion, runny nose, cough within 2-3 days

What you can do:
Drink plenty of fluids
Take Ibuprofen (Advil®) 600 mg every 6 hours or Acetaminophen Extra Strength (Tylenol®) 1000 mg every 6 hours as needed to reduce fever/discomfort
Gargle with warm salt water and use throat sprays/lozenges like Cepacol (something with Benzocaine) for throat pain

Limit spread to others:
Wash hands frequently
Avoid intimate contact
Cover your cough and sneezes using the crook of your elbow
If you have a fever, stay home until fever is gone for at least 24 hours (temp less than 100 degrees without medication)

When to seek care from a medical provider:
Temp over 102
Temp over 101 for more than 3 days
Unable to swallow your oral secretions (spit)
Significant/worsening swelling of only one tonsil
Sore throat does not improve over 2-3 days and no other symptoms develop
**Strep tests are less reliable until 24-hours after onset of a sore throat, so best to test after 24 hours has passed***

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Yeast infections are caused by an overgrowth of yeast in the vagina. Most yeast infections can be treated with over-the-counter medications and do not require a visit to the health center.

Vaginal Itching, burning, swelling
Vaginal discharge (thick white discharge…looks like cottage cheese; no odor…may worsen the week before your period)
Painful intercourse

What you can do:
Use an over-the-counter medication for vaginal yeast infections. These antifungal medications should contain, clotrimazole (gynelotrimin), miconazole (monistat), or tioconazole and should be used for 3-7 days. Follow directions on medication insert.
Over-the-counter medications are available at pharmacies, grocery stores, Walmart or Target.
Change tampons, pads and panty liners often; do not douche or use vaginal sprays
Do wear underwear with a cotton crotch; do not wear tight underwear
Apply a cool compress to labia for comfort
Avoid hot tubs

Limit spread to others:
It is possible to spread yeast infections to your partner during any kind of sexual activity
If your partner is a male, the risk is low. Some men get an itchy rash on their penis.
If this happens, have your partner see a medical provider
If your partner is a female, you may spread the yeast infection to her
She should be treated if she has symptoms using the above guidelines.

When to seek care from a medical provider:
If this is the first time you have had symptoms of a yeast infection
If you are concerned about sexually transmitted infections
You have strong or foul odor
You have painful sores
You have symptoms of a urinary tract infection (painful, frequent urination; blood in your urine) Symptoms persist after one week after treatment with over-the-counter medication

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Students beginning college often have expectations about what it will be like before actually leaving home. Some can’t wait to start college, looking forward to the opportunity for more freedom and adventure. Others may be excited about college at first, but then discover that the experience is not what they had hoped. They feel unhappy and out of place in this new setting. Some students who expect that leaving home will be difficult dread the thought of packing and going to college. In any case, most every student encounters experiences or obstacles that they may not have anticipated. Even positive life changes produce stress, and the changes involved in leaving home for college may bring on varying emotions like sadness, loneliness and worry. These feelings are not unusual and affect most students in some form during the transition to college.

Many students welcome the freedom to choose how to spend their time as they develop a routine.  Others may find this difficult and even unsettling. Freshmen who live on campus may maintain daily or frequent contact with family by way of phone or computer, but they do make many more personal decisions and choices than ever before.

With increased personal freedom comes greater responsibility for one’s everyday life. Some students find this a bit overwhelming until they develop a rhythm and routine for their new life of independence. First-year students must learn BALANCE: when and how to study, how much or how little to socialize with this new community, what activities to participate in, how to live within a budget and make time to exercise, eat and sleep. They must learn how to take initiative to assume responsibilities (e.g. scheduling classes, personal shopping, making appointments to take care of health needs or asking professors and staff for assistance and help).

Freshmen typically experience changing demands on their time. Days are less routine and predictable. Some feel like they have no time for themselves because they are consumed with managing multiple obligations and living in community. Classes may seem difficult and draining, or may involve more study time than they are accustomed to. Other students may find the academic workload manageable, but feel they have too much free time that isn’t relaxing or comfortable. There are new surroundings to adjust to, and unfamiliar people as well. Living in a new community of peers may seem very different from living with or being around family, friends and acquaintances from home. Some students have to learn to relate to and negotiate conflicts with new roommates. There may be the hope that one’s roommate will be a close friend, and it can be disappointing when this kind of relationship does not develop. New expectations from adults at college abound. There is usually less interaction between parents and the school (as it should be), and students are faced with the need to work out problems or concerns directly regarding academics, residence life, social expectations, etc.

As students experience more freedom and responsibility in college, relationships with parents and other significant people change. Students as well as parents may fear losing some important aspects of their relationship with each other. Frequent calls to home are common, especially during the first few months away. It may be very hard to say goodbye at the end of holiday or semester breaks. It may also be difficult to re-adjust to rules at home, such as curfews, chores or responsibilities for younger siblings. It is important to point out that parents also need to adjust during this period. They are dealing with their child becoming more independent in some ways, but still needing them too.

Many students leave “high school sweethearts” when they go to college. There may be disagreement about whether it is ok to make new friends or see other people. One, or both, partners may struggle with feeling lonely, sad, or jealous, especially if the other partner seems to be happier and adjusting better.

Relationships with friends from home are often different after the time away at school. Some individuals feel closer and more appreciative of friends at home, and may stay very connected to them. Other students find they have less in common with friends from home after being away at school, or may be hurt by a friend becoming distant with them after high school.

It is a common cliché (and myth) that “the college years are <supposed to be> the best years of your life.” If you are feeling upset and miserable, this can be a very confusing and scary expectation. It is important to remember that it is normal to feel sad and scared while adjusting to life at college. You are in a new environment and everything is different. You may feel overwhelmed by the thought that you are expected to “grow up” all at once. You miss the people who usually are there to love and support you. Maybe you are a student who does not feel “homesick” per se, but feels disappointed in the people you are meeting or the lack of new friendships. If you are distressed, you may see other students seeming happy and optimistic. It may surprise you to hear that lots of other freshmen are scared and sad, even if they don’t show or admit it.

If you are struggling with the transition, try reaching out to others in your dorm. You are likely to find that you are not the only one who is sad and upset. Your RA or RD may have some good ideas to help you figure out how to lighten the load. Most upperclassmen have a good story to tell of their own experience adjusting to college life during their freshmen year. Try joining campus organizations and clubs that interest you. These activities may not to be a perfect match for you, but can still help you to meet and interact with others. 

Make an extra effort to take care of yourself, including making time to rest, eat balanced meals, exercise and avoid abuse of alcohol or other drugs. Try to develop a manageable schedule, including identifying your optimal place and time in the day to study. It may be different than your routine in high school.

Learn to be flexible…and adjust your expectations if things are not working out as you planned. Give yourself some time to adjust. Recognize that relationships take time and that your surroundings will become more familiar over time.

Seek out resources on campus that can help you learn the skill of problem-solving and get support, both academically and personally:

If they can’t help you, it’s quite likely that they can help to connect you with someone who can.

(adapted from Villanova University student life page)


It’s no surprise that so many students gain weight when they go to college. A study of public university freshman found that one in four students gained 10 pounds or more in their first year on campus.  Each student’s eating habits were tracked, and as expected; the students who gained the most weight ate fewer fruits and vegetables, indulged in fattier foods, and slept less than students who did not gain weight.

A steady diet of pizza and cheeseburgers can lead to more than just a few extra pounds: poor eating is also associated with lower grades, susceptibility to illness, and increased fatigue. Other side effects include a higher risk of depression, anxiety, irritability, difficulty concentrating, menstrual problems, and sleep disturbances. Fast food and unhealthy snacks simply don’t provide you with the nutrition you need to perform well in school. Developing a balanced and nutritional diet at a young age can both enhance your academic performance and prepare you for a lifetime of healthy eating.

Most college students learned the basic food groups: grains, fruits, vegetables, protein, dairy, and fats early in childhood, thanks in part to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) iconic food pyramid. Created in 1992, the pyramid became a symbol of balanced eating, and was featured in cafeterias and elementary school classrooms for more than 20 years.

In 2014, the U.S. Department of Health eliminated the food pyramid and introduced a new image, called My Plate. which only shows suggested proportions for the five basic food groups, rather than the number of servings recommended, plain and simple.  Understanding how these food groups affect your body can help you determine what, and how much, you should eat.

My Plate wasn’t created just to look more appealing, but to illustrate to consumers that together, vegetables and fruits should make up roughly half of our diet and that we should eat less dairy and grains than the food pyramid suggested.

College students should try to eat two-and-a-half to three cups of veggies and about two cups of fruit per day, throughout the day. Don’t let the amount intimidate you; this is equal to 12 baby carrot sticks, a decently sized salad, and two small pieces of fruit. You can also add veggies and fruits to salads or sandwiches. It’s important to remember that produce contains more bulk and fiber in its raw form; cooked veggies can be just as healthy to eat, but you’ll need to eat more of them to meet your daily target.

Most dining services try to offer interesting entrees and side dishes to their students, and most regularly rotate their menu. This is a great chance to try something a little different than you’re used to having.

Expand your definition of salad
In many American households, salad is a small side dish. Instead, build a salad around a protein like grilled chicken or fish or quinoa. From there, add veggies and fruits for color and flavor, then top with beans, nuts or seeds for extra protein and texture.

Redefine dessert
Dessert doesn’t necessarily mean ice cream, cookies, cake and pie. Fruit, with its natural sugars, boosts your energy and satisfies a sweet tooth during or after a long day of classes. Of course, you can add a bit of Greek yogurt to your fruitand a bit of dark chocolate once in a while never hurt!

Drink more water
Soft drinks contain more sugar and sodium than you need, not to mention chemicals and preservatives which wreak havoc on your teeth, waist, and energy level. Instead, drink water and carry a bottle in your backpack for refills between classes. Staying hydrated increases your energy level and overall health.

Plan ahead to avoid the vending machine
College students can get hungry at a moment’s notice; especially with strange class schedules and meetings that occur during normal mealtimes. Make sure that you keep nutritious snacks on hand. Bring an apple or cheese stick from the dining hall, or put a box of granola bars in your backpack. If you’re carrying something healthy, you’ll be less tempted to impulsively buy a candy bar. Be sure to read labels and look for “no added sugar” snacks. 

(adapted from bestcolleges.com: The Student’s Guide to Nutrition)


Fitting exercise into a busy schedule isn't always the easy, but it’s REALLY as important as eating and sleeping…it’s a basic need for everyone!

  • First of all, stretch! You can help to avoid injuries by stretching each time you exercise. Simple stretches before and after you work out can help keep you active and pain free.
  • Allow yourself enough time to walk to class from wherever you are…or try biking instead. A few minutes of exercise in short spurts can never hurt.
  • One way to get yourself to exercise is to make it a game by playing a sport. Join an intramural team or play recreational sports to get active and have fun at the same time.
  • Whatever you choose to do…whether it’s a team sport or individual exercise, be sure to use the proper safety equipment. It could prevent an injury which might disrupt this healthy routine that you’ve developed.
  • The Bennett Center is a fantastic facility that you can take advantage of for free. Start by going with a friend on a day that is not as stressful for your schedule. Make a plan to keep each other accountable and motivated! Exercise is often more fun with a friend. Before you know it, you’ll feel so good that you just might look forward to that part of your day!
  • Mix up your workout…Take one of many classes, incorporate strength training, cardio and stretching exercises into your routine to round it out. You're probably not going to work out if you are bored with your routine or find going to the gym torture. Find a way to make it fun for yourself and you'll be much more likely to keep it up.

Get OUTSIDE!!  There’s the quad for Frisbee or volleyball… or the Gordon Woods with trails for hiking…or take a walk, which is good for every aspect of your health!


Why is sleep important?
Sleep is a key part of a healthy lifestyle. Like eating right and exercising, sleeping well is essential to feeling your best during the day. It affects how you feel, your relationships, your productivity and your quality of life. While you sleep, your brain goes to work, consolidating the day's learning into memory and reenergizing the body.

Is it true that napping can be bad for you?
There's nothing wrong with taking a short nap to help refresh you during the day. But if you find you're napping all the time, it could be a sign that you aren't getting as much sleep as you should. Or that you're not getting the deep, restful sleep you need at night.

How much sleep does the average person need?
The average person needs 7-8 hours a night, but it differs for every person. Some people may need as much as 10 hours a night and others need much less. If you sleep longer on the weekends than during the week, you probably aren't getting the sleep you need every night.

What are some ways to get a better night's sleep?
A few key things should help. Try going to bed and getting up at the same time every day – even on the weekends. This will help keep your biological clock in sync. Develop a sleep ritual by doing the same things each night just before bed. Parents often establish a routine for their kids, but it can help adults, too. A routine cues the body to settle down for the night. Another hint: Unwind early in the evening so that worries and distractions don't keep you from getting a good night's sleep. Finally, create a restful sleep environment – sleep in a cool, quiet, dark room on a comfortable, supportive mattress and foundation – to get your best night's rest. If you're sleeping as much as you need, but still find that you're sleepy during the day, you should consult your doctor to see if you might have a medical condition interfering with your sleep.

What's the right amount of sleep?
It differs for every person. Some people may need as much as 10 hours a night and others need much less. The average person needs 7-8 hours a night. If you find yourself sleepy during the day, you probably need more sleep at night. Or if you sleep longer on the weekends than during the week, you probably need more sleep during the week.

Is there a problem with falling asleep on the sofa watching television, not falling asleep in bed?
If you regularly fall asleep on your sofa, you may not be getting as much sleep as you need at night in your bed. Or maybe your sofa is more comfortable than your bed! In either case, you should make sure to practice good sleep habits – from sleeping on a comfortable, supportive mattress to not drinking alcohol too close to bedtime. And try to get more sleep – it may change how you feel during the day.

What if there's no time for sleep? What can people do to sleep better?
Sleep needs to be a health priority. It affects every aspect of your day-to-day living. If you can't say "yes" to sleep, make sure to make the most out of the sleep you get. Exercise regularly – people who exercise a few times a week sleep better than people who don't. Also, avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco products late in the day. All can interfere with sleep. You need to create a restful sleep environment so the sleep you get is restorative and uninterrupted. Sleep in a dark room, on a comfortable, supportive mattress. Keep the room cool and quiet. And if you find yourself too stressed to sleep, make a list of all the things you need to do. Once you've made your to-do list, give yourself permission to relax and sleep. You'll need the energy to tackle your tasks in the morning.

Can people make up for lost sleep during the week by sleeping in on weekends?
No. If you sleep more on the weekends than during the week – and many of us do – this indicates that you have a "sleep debt." A sleep debt accumulates when you don't get enough sleep. The only way to reduce the debt is to sleep as much as your body needs every night. Make sure you're getting the right quality of sleep as well. Sleep in a cool, dark, quiet room on a comfortable, supportive mattress to get your best night's sleep.

(adapted from bettersleep.org)