The experience of college can be a whirlwind for many people. Between the novelty of the new experiences and the fact that many people are now living on their own for the first time in their lives, many college students can lose sight of one of the most important things: their health, both mental and physical. Living independently and taking care of yourself are some of the most important skills you will learn in college.
On page six, you can read a letter we received from psychologist Joe Albert, of the Rensselaer Counseling Services department. In his article, he raises many important points. We would like to add that people may not have the clarity to make the decision to go see a counselor on their own. If you are concerned about a friend’s mental stability or health, please talk to them about seeking help. It may not always be the easiest or most welcome conversation to have, but it could benefit your friend if he or she truly does need help. Don’t be afraid to go there yourself. Chances are, you have asked someone to help you with homework at some point: therefore why wouldn’t you ask for help with something that is infinitely more important—yourself?
Remember to take care of your body too. Just because your parents aren’t around to tell you to bathe anymore doesn’t mean people can’t smell you: please, go take a shower. But more importantly, make sure you are eating well and taking care of your physical body. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a weekly activity level of 150 minutes in order to stay in shape. If you can’t motivate yourself to do this level of activity on your own, consider joining one of RPI’s many intramural teams, club sports, or athletic clubs (such as the bicycling club). RPI also has many other athletic resources such as the Mueller Center, the East Campus Athletic Village, and the ’87 Gym, all of which are open to students. In addition to keeping physically fit, remember to use a glove when showing them the love. According to the CDC, one in every four college age students has an STD, and correctly and consistently using condoms during sexual activity will significantly decrease the risk of infection. Additionally, they are up to 98 percent effective in protecting against unwanted pregnancies when correctly used. For those who are interested in other forms of birth control, go to http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm to review methods that are widely accepted by the medical community.