How to Stay Healthy in College

Every semester, about four weeks in, the entire campus gets sick. Every October and February, lecture halls are filled with the chorus of coughs and sniffles as students try to power through a cold. With everyone living so close together, it’s very easy for illness to spread.

I didn’t get sick often in high school, so this caught me unprepared when I first moved to college. I’m back with another list of tips that I’ve picked up over the years, this time on how to stay healthy in college.

1. Wash your hands

This first one should be obvious! Wash your hands or use hand sanitizer before eating so whatever you touched that day doesn’t end up in your mouth. Wash your hands any time you go into a bathroom or any time you touch your face. If you can prevent germs from reaching your face, then they can’t get you sick.

2. Eat well

This should also seem obvious, but it can be surprisingly hard to maintain a healthy diet away from home. There may always be pizza in the dining hall, but don’t eat pizza for every meal. Try to have at least one fruit and one vegetable each day. If you give your body the nutrients that it needs, it can fight off illnesses more effectively. This also includes staying hydrated! If you think you’re drinking enough water, drink some more.

3. Get Enough Sleep

I know it looks like I keep stating the obvious, but these little things can often fall to the wayside for a busy college student. Sleeping lets your body rest and recover. Those extra three hours in the library may seem important, but if your body is telling you to sleep, listen to it! If you’re not feeling well, get some rest!

These tips are great for preventing you from getting sick, but sometimes you can’t prevent a cold from taking over your life. If you’re sick, stay home and rest! Most professors don’t require a doctor’s note to miss class, so you don’t need to go to class when you’re sick. Going to class will only get all of your classmates sick, so it’s really not worth it.

There are also campus resources that can help you when you’re not feeling well. University Health Services is right next to the main library, and you can call at any time to make an appointment. Sometimes, all you can do is rest, but if it’s something more serious, UHS can write a prescription for you. 

Getting sick when you’re away from home for the first time can be hard. You have to take care of yourself while also trying to keep up with a busy schedule. It’s okay to miss some things because you were focusing on getting better. Go drink some orange juice and take a nap. I promise it’ll be fine.

About the author

Nicole Sammartino

Hi! My name is Nicole, and I'm a math major in the class of 2020. Currently, I'm studying conservation biology for my Take Five program. I'm originally from Fairfax, Virginia and I love the cold Rochester weather! On campus, I'm a member of the Music Interest Floor and the University of Rochester Pep Band. When I'm not in class, you can usually find me trying out new tofu recipes or playing the trumpet.

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