By Asma Warrich
Welcome class of 2018! Every year, thousands of students pour onto campus excited to start their undergraduate journey and every year the same health issues are brought to light. Healthline News released an article in 2013 listing the five largest health issues freshmen face every year. All freshmen want to have the “Carolina experience,” but this shouldn’t come at the price to their health and wellbeing.
5. Poor Nutrition and Lack of Exercise
Everyone at some point or another has heard of the notorious “Freshman 15.” Having easy access to dining halls and restaurants on Franklin Street will do that to you. The only way weight gain can be countered is with exercise and eating right, but the Journal of Nutritional Behavior reports about 80 percent of students don’t have time to fit exercise into their schedule.
4. Alcohol-Related Injuries
Some say the best part of college is having the freedom to do pretty much anything and for many, this includes consuming a lot of alcohol, usually more than you can handle. However, the actual consumption of alcohol may not be as bad as the actions it tends to produce. Around half of all deaths in college are related to alcohol. The dazed state you experience after drinking can also lead to bad decisions and lack of memories.
It’s the three-letter word that horrifies anyone who comes across it, but this health concern is a major issue for college freshmen. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports about 10 million new sexually transmitted disease cases come from the 15- to 24-age range. While most are easily treatable, others can have life-long effects.
2. Prescription Drug Abuse
Medication like Ritalin and Adderall are constantly being consumed on college campuses. For some students who suffer from attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), these drugs are essential in order to stay focused, but for others it’s a tool to make up for time lost. Using these drugs may increase performance levels, but they can have annoying side effects, like dizziness, headaches, trouble sleeping and stomach aches. It’s also illegal to consume medication you aren’t prescribed and here at UNC, it’s an Honor Code violation.
Not all first-years will experience health problems associated with nutrition, alcohol, STDs and prescription drug abuse, but they will all have to deal with stress, and a lot of it. This overload of stress that first-years’ experience can cause sleeping problems, poor nutrition and even poor grades. Stress can also lead to anxiety and depression. Everyone has different methods of dealing with stress and there are many resources available on campus to help students. One such resource is Counseling and Psychological Services located in the Taylor Building.
Now first-years, go out and enjoy Carolina, but remember: make smart choices.