Hegde: Take care of your health

Iowa has a plethora of health resources that students should be aware of.


Ben Smith

Halls inside the University Counseling Service are shown at Westlawn on Wednesday, July 5, 2017. UCS will be moving to the Old Capitol Mall on (insert date), allowing for ease of access for students who live on the East side of campus.

Suchaeta Hegde, Opinions Columnist

In college, resources surround us. There seems to be a service for anything students might need, from late-night driving services to a bake sale hosted right when the intense craving for a cupcake arises. While students are usually the first to jump on deals, health seems to be the one thing they wave aside. It is easy to assume you are fine when you have a minor cough or have been feeling off for a day or two — but what happens when a few days turns into weeks? With this in mind, the university is here to assist in more ways than one.

Student Health & Wellness has a plethora of events and resources that students may not know about. For example, the Refresh app, displayed on the Student Health website, analyzes students’ sleep patterns to pinpoint any issues that might be preventing them from getting good sleep.

Another thing that college students learn quickly is that sickness travels fast. With students constantly interacting with one another, it is important that precautionary measures are taken, especially during the peak of flu season. For this reason, Student Health provides free flu shots at various locations during the fall semester.

While the college life is ridiculously busy, these are the kinds of deals students should go after — if prevention is available and is free, why not jump at the opportunity? I have watched friends ignore suspicions about their health with the belief that their condition would eventually get better. While all of my friends have eventually recovered, I know others might not share the same luck. Sometimes, students need assistance with issues that are more serious than cold symptoms or lack of sleep.

The Mirage is an event in December that offers free HIV testing and a condom casino alongside drag performances to promote safe sex practices while also forming an alliance with the LGBTQ+ community. There are also events that allow students to test their physical fitness, from getting free assessments of their muscular endurance to blood pressure and resting heart rate. Events such as these provide awareness on numerous levels and promote future healthy practices. Student Health also offers free appointments to students wanting to quit smoking tobacco and e-cigarettes, especially for those who want to quit but aren’t sure where to start.

The Emma Goldman Clinic offers a variety of resources for women in need of affordable health services. Some of the many services include “discounted prices for students, free pregnancy testing and options counseling, and services for victims of rape and incest.” The website also provides an “Ask Emma” section in which people can anonymously submit any questions that they might not want to ask someone directly. The topics of these questions range from the clinic itself to general questions about birth control and STIs. The clinic provides a vital space for women to turn to when they might not know what to do next. It is important that those who may be in need of the clinic’s services know of Emma Goldman’s affordability and readiness to assist.

College puts students at a crossroads. Suddenly, you have to be responsible for your own health — your parent or guardian isn’t here to tell you when to take a step back and take care of yourself. While it is easy to persuade yourself that you can manage on your own, it can be just as easy to reach out and get the medical assistance you need. Sure, students become independent upon reaching college;  however, the various health resources available in Iowa City emphasizes that students don’t have to be alone.