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Finding Oasis in the Desert: Prioritizing Health in College

Jerusalem Adams-ShepardComment

Jerusalem Adams-Shepard

From catching a cold from your roommate to the more insidious ways depression and anxiety can creep in, being ‘sick’ in college takes on new meanings. Even further, college is often the first time one’s physical well-being is firmly in their hands. Before, there might have been Mom or Dad or the school nurse who would be able to advise you with their age old tips and tricks. But such support seems to disappear within colleges and universities, leaving many students to experience all sorts of health woes effectively on their own. 

More specifically, womxn/femme identifying people are left to make body altering decisions, especially as it concerns their reproductive health. Between the pill, Depo-Povera shots, IUDS, and other methods, birth control can become a topic of discussion among femmes across college campuses. These conversations are important to have, especially among friends, it is just as crucial that concerns be carried over into appointments with healthcare providers. And in taking it a step further, it is up to womxn and femmes to take their agency into their own hands, to feel empowered in making the choices best for themselves. With that being said, I have cultivated three tips for how to be proactive and be empowered in making health decisions as a womxn in college. 

  1. Be familiar with your insurance policy. Many, but not all, colleges provide health insurance policies for their students. Some people stay on their parents’ insurance. Either way, make yourself very familiar with the policy, as there are a number of services that you could be receiving and you don’t even know. Not only does this possibly open the door to receive services outside of the often understaffed health centers, it also can also even include coverage for other services like therapy. 

  2. Be honest with advisors and professors about health concerns. It is all too easy to ‘power through’ various health issues, from a basic cold to a nagging pain that you think you can treat with Tylenol and other substances (read: weed). Not only is this detrimental to your health in the long run, it continues the perpetuated need to constantly be ‘productive’ or ‘busy’, leaving your health on the backburner. But in telling advisors and professors, they are not only likely to be more understanding should health concerns arise but they can also hold you accountable in truly honoring and listening to your body’s needs. 

  3. Be present in your body. This tip is a lot easier said than done but arguably the most important. Being present in your body means discovering what that means to you. For some people, that means exercise. To others that means meditation or setting aside 30 minutes every day to journal. Some general suggestions are to cook at least one meal for yourself when you can, exercise as regularly as you are able, and take at least one day for yourself weekly to recoup. 

If there is anything to take away from this article, it is that taking care of one’s body means mentally, physically, and emotionally being attentive to yourself, in a way most womxn/femmes are not used to doing for themselves. The more you do it, the easier it becomes but it all begins with making the conscious effort to listen to your body. 

How to Deal WIth the Worst Part of Each Month: Period Pain

Code RedComment

By: Saumya Bajaj

This is literally my body: “You. You have yet again not passed on your genes this month. You must now be punished with week-long bleeding, cramps, and soreness.” Now, there has to be some kind of loophole here, some kind of solution to the pain. And, guess what, there are multiple solutions; however, it is important to note that if your cramps are so unbearable that it hurts to move every time you get your period, you should see a doctor. You might just need to get prescription-strength painkillers, or it might be a serious condition such as endometriosis.

Now, here are some effective ways to lessen cramps, headaches, soreness, and just general pain:

  • Painkillers. Whether it be ibuprofen or aspirin, the most obvious solution is a painkiller. They’re quick, effective, and most people’s go-to.

  • Hot Water Bottle. This one is my go-to. It really helps, especially with cramps, the only downside being you have to be stationary while using it.

  • Heating Strips. These are essentially the solution to the stationary problem with a hot water bottle. You can use them while at school, work, the gym, or anywhere else you desire. They are inconspicuous and a great pain reliever.

  • Exercise. Multiple studies have shown that exercise is super helpful to relieve cramps and soreness. I know it’s the last thing you want to do, but it does help.

  • Give Up Caffeine. You probably want to kill me, but, I mean, technically it is a drug, and you can be addicted to it. Maybe some herbal tea? Even citrus fruits help.

  •  A nice relaxing massage. Do I need to say anything else?

  • Happiness. The release of endorphins have been shown to help relieve pain. Find a way to make yourself happy. “Treat yo self.”