College is perhaps the most exciting time in a person’s life. It is a time for gaining new knowledge and experiences, both inside and outside the classroom with the added responsibility and accountability on the decisions made that can impact future outcomes.
Here are a few pointers for college students to stay safe and healthy:
- Eat healthy and engage in regular physical activity. A nutritiously balanced diet with a variety of foods from all the food groups is particularly important to ward of infections and diseases, boost the immune system and provide vitality for the rigours of student life. Avoid foods high in calories, saturated fat, salt and sugar. Be aware that beverages may also be adding extra calories.
- Stay active. Adults need at least 2 ½ hours of physical activity each week. Regular physical activity reduces your risk of chronic non-communicable (CNCDs) diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity. Be creative about getting exercise – walk to school instead of drive, climb the stairs, join the college gym – workout with a friend to keep motivated.
Looking to stay active and healthy while on campus? A membership at the College Gym might be just what you need!
Balance recreational activities and select those that promote a study-work-life balance. Cluster activities that permit you to derive the most benefits for your physical, mental, social and spiritual well-being while you pursue study obligations and aspirations.
Maintain balance, manage your stress
- To manage stress, obtain enough sleep at least seven to eight hours a night. Avoid substance use and abuse such as alcohol, caffeine, energy drinks and illicit drug use
- Avoid drugs and alcohol
- Connect with those who affect you positively
- Take time for yourself to regroup
If you are distressed or depressed seek help from a counsellor, help from a medical or mental health professional. Talk to a friend.
If suicidal, contact the Student Health Clinic, Counselling & Placement Centre on campus or make contact with Mental Health professionals at the polyclinic within your catchment area or report to the Accident & Emergency Department (QEH).
Prevent sexual assault.
- Sexual violence happens on college campuses as well as within communities. Sexual violence refers to sexual activity when consent is not obtained or not given freely. It is a crime and is a sexual offence against the person. Students should know their rights and seek help immediately if they or someone they know is the victim of violence. Know that you are not alone. Tell a trusted friend and seek professional help.
- Prevent sexually transmitted infections (STIs) – Get tested for STIs and know your status. You can prevent STIs when you are responsible for your sexual and reproductive health behaviour. College students and other sexually active persons under the age 25 years should get tested for STIs and HIV to know their status and to protect themselves and their partner(s). Most STIs are treatable and many are curable. Protect yourself by abstaining from all forms of sexual activity (the surest way to avoid STI is not to have sex). Use condoms correctly and consistently with a partner (condoms used correctly when engaged in sexual intercourse can help you avoid STIs. Note though condoms reduce your risk, they do not eliminate one’s risks. Examine other behaviours such as high risk sexual behaviours, substance (drug) use and partners engaged in high risk behaviours such as sex with multiple sexual partners, unprotected sexual intercourse among others.