Browsing Category

Health

Health

Healthcare Financing Resources for Low-Income College Students

September 21, 2020

Let’s face it: learning is its own reward, yes. But you’re in college primarily to build a better life for yourself and your family. You might be getting your education to escape the life of struggle that you have watched your parents endure.

But building a better life ain’t cheap. And, right now, what money you have goes mainly to school and to the essentials of living. Ponying up for private health insurance might feel like a luxury you can’t afford right now. 

Yet without that coverage, you’re also probably tempted to let your regular healthcare fall by the wayside. After all, you’re young and your physical and mental health care just might not feel like a priority right now. That is, not until you really need it. 

This article shows you how to finance your healthcare when you’re a college student living on a budget.

Know Your Options

When you’re looking to finance your healthcare, the first thing you should do is explore your eligibility for coverage under your family’s plan or through your university health system. In many cases, full-time college students can qualify for coverage under a parent’s group health insurance plan up to the age of 26.

If that doesn’t work out, you might be eligible for lower-cost student health insurance coverage through your college, university, or trade school. The chances are especially good if you enroll in a work-study program through your school.

Don’t Forget the Marketplace or Medicaid

If it turns out you are not eligible for coverage under your parents’ or school’s plan, don’t despair. There are still options. For example, depending on your income, you might qualify for Medicaid, which will allow you to enjoy good benefits at a relatively low monthly premium. 

The maximum income cutoffs for Medicaid, however, can be pretty stringent. If you’re above the threshold but still don’t earn enough to bear the often ridiculous costs of private insurance, you might be able to get coverage under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). 

With the ACA, the percentage of uninsured Americans dropped from nearly 16% to just over 9%. Through the Marketplace, you can choose the level of coverage you want or need — and the premiums you can afford.

Don’t Forget the “Extras”

Getting good healthcare is about more than funding your medical care. It’s also about taking care of the whole person, mind, body, and spirit.  And that should include everything from mental healthcare to dental care. 

After all, life is stressful, and going to college on a shoestring budget is especially so. But getting care doesn’t have to be expensive. Case in point: you have a lot of options today for accessing low-cost therapy. This includes online therapy apps to help you access immediate, on-demand support from the safety of your own home if you are battling anxiety or depression.

And while you’re taking care of your body and your mind, you mustn’t forget your smile! Living on a budget doesn’t mean you have to put off your dental care. Even if you’re in need of a non-essential or cosmetic procedure, such as a crown or veneer, there are funding options that don’t require you to break the bank.

If you set up a budget and cut out some of the extras you’re spending on unnecessary fees or on little luxuries, like your morning coffee run, you can probably cover the cost of your new smile or your other healthcare services pretty easily.

The Takeaway

Going to college on a shoestring budget is tough. But it doesn’t mean you have to do without the physical, mental, and dental healthcare you deserve. From finding coverage through your school to tapping the resources of the ACA to taking advantage of online therapy apps and dental financing, there are options available to ensure you receive the care you need.

Health Uncategorized

Health Preparedness Tips for On-Campus Life

September 3, 2020

When you’re in college, living on campus can feel like a right of passage. It’s a great time to gain independence, have fun, and develop friendships you’ll have for a lifetime while enjoying the convenience and benefits of living where you go to school. 

Unfortunately, campus life looks a bit different this year. Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, colleges across the country have suspended in-person classes and have required students to leave campus. 

Some schools have closed their doors temporarily, while others will be shut down for on-campus living for the remainder of the school year. While the goal of the shutdown and the encouragement for social isolation is to flatten the curve of the Coronavirus spread, it can be a difficult transition. You must head home or go somewhere else for now. 

Whether you return to campus before the school year is over or you’ll be back next semester once things calm down, this is a good time to reflect on your health and wellness and what you can do to keep yourself safe, strong, and healthy. 

Managing Your Mental Health

Mental health is one of the biggest concerns facing college students today. Since many students across the country are being forced to stay home, issues like anxiety and depression are becoming more prevalent. 

Making your mental health a priority is a key factor to get you through this pandemic, but it’s also important when you return to campus. While college is an exciting and fun experience, it can also be overwhelming at times. Learning how to manage your stress levels can prevent you from getting sick. 

There are simple, everyday habits you can start to reduce stress: 

  • Get more sleep
  • Limit caffeine and alcohol
  • Talk to someone about your stress
  • Manage your time
  • Meditation/Yoga
  • Keep a journal

You can keep up with those habits as you get back to school and use them for the rest of your life to manage stress..

If your current stressor is being stuck at home, online learning might feel like your biggest hurdle. If you’re trying to adjust to online learning and having a difficult time, there are a few tips to make the experience less stressful: 

  • Create a designated learning space
  • Stick to specific hours of the day to study
  • Avoid distractions
  • Set personal goals

Give yourself permission to stumble. This is a learning experience for everyone and a time of great uncertainty. Don’t put pressure on yourself, and eventually, things will begin to fall into place and feel less stressful. 

Developing Healthy Habits Now

Exercising is a great way to stay healthy when stuck at home. Thankfully, there are no rules or regulations in place about going for a run outside or working out at home. 

Exercise can give you more energy, boost your mood, and reduce stress. Get into a daily routine that you can keep doing once you get back to campus. Adding a workout to your day has many benefits and can keep you focused when you’re back in school. 

It’s also a good idea to watch your diet while away from campus. It’s easy to fall into unhealthy habits when convenience food is so easy to come by, and apps like GrubHub and Postmates will deliver food right to your door. Making healthy nutritional choices will improve your mood and energy levels and lower your risk of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and high blood pressure. 

Being stuck at home means it’s the perfect time to brush up on your cooking skills! Practice making healthy meals for yourself that could be made in a dorm room or communal kitchen. Making quick, easy meals that are also good for you will keep you motivated when it comes to making healthier food choices on campus. 

Reducing Your Risks

The Coronavirus can impact anyone, but it’s most deadly among those with pre-existing conditions or with lung and respiratory issues like those who regularly smoke or vape. Vaping has become hugely popular across the country, but the chemicals in many vape solutions can cause serious lung problems. 

Smoking has also been a health concern for years. It can contribute to lung cancer and heart disease. With the spread of COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to quit cigarettes and vape pens. Keeping your lungs healthy and clear will reduce your risk of being seriously impacted by Coronavirus if you happen to contract it. 

Developing healthy habits and staying away from vaping and cigarettes will help you build a  strong immune system, which, in turn, will help you combat the disease. This is why it’s so important to keep these tips for general health and wellness in mind. Now is the time to start taking your health seriously so you can make better choices for your mind and body. Starting these habits now will make them easier for you to stick with once you’re back on campus. 

BIO: Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.

Health

How To Make Connections in the Era of Covid-19

August 1, 2020

It is no surprise that in the face of Covid-19, countless changes have had to be made to maintain the goals of the different facets of university life. Changes of learning, changes in teaching and most importantly, changes in community are being formed to better supplement the lack of in person connection. 

In all of this chaos, especially for students entering college for the first time, meeting people and finding friends can feel like an impossible task but luckily there are ways to quickly and effectively not just meet, but actually connect with others. 

Find Gateways

The first way is not a destination but more of the first steps and gateways that can lead to the end goal and these are the school sponsored or facilitated conversations. These can take the form of a discussion on Canvas, a school sponsored app like ZeeMee or in the classes themselves. While the conversations within these settings are most often stale, they provide an area where you can meet people and then form separate group chats aside from that. 

Social Media

The second area of importance are the various social media platforms available. Things such as finding roommates by going to instagram and looking for people that are the same year and college as you, snapchat group chats, twitter, or reddit, the possibilities on these sites have the doors, you just need to open them. 

Make Yourself Accessible

The third way is the thing that people get wrong most often and that is because they forget that they need to make themselves easier to find as well. Hardly anyone has a large group of friends going into a University so by making yourself easier to find on any of the mediums above, and doing things like listing or showing your interests will help others that are in the same position find you.

At the end of the day, all it takes is some effort and information to be able to make friends easily and quickly in this unknown environment so while this post is meant to help students with the information, it is only half of the solution to solve this complex problem students are facing. 

Health

Managing Your Mental Health in College

July 22, 2020

Mental health is becoming an increasingly big issue on college campuses. Many students struggle with the change and stress of college life. It can be valuable to investigate what you can do for your mental wellbeing. If you are struggling with your mental health, it is important to seek out resources available to you.

Here are some ways that you can better manage your mental health in college:

  • Visit your school’s counseling center

If you are having mental health concerns, you can always contact your school’s counseling services. Many schools provide free counseling or counseling at a reasonable rate. They can help you talk through whatever is troubling you or refer you to psychiatric services if needed. 

  • Utilize online resources

There are many resources available online to help you learn more about mental health and obtain support. U Lifeline, a project of the JED Foundation provides valuable support tailored to college students. Their website offers both resources and a helpline. Their website also provides a screener for students to evaluate their mental health and access their school’s resources. 

  • Practice meditation and exercise regularly

Meditation is a great way to center yourself and improve your mental health. It can be helpful to have tools that you can implement when you feel overwhelmed such as taking a few minutes to breathe or going for a quick run. 

  • Reach out to your loved ones

If you are struggling, take time to reach out to your support network. This can be Facetime with your family at home or even talking with new friends from college. Staying connected with others and communicating your feelings can relieve stress and prevent loneliness. 

  • Take time for yourself

When your calendar is filled with schoolwork and social events, it can be hard to find time to be by yourself. Set aside some time to be alone and recharge. You can go for a walk or go to a coffee shop and just take time to relax and reflect.

These are just a few suggestions on how to manage your mental health in college. You can find what works best for you and your experience. Find out what resources are available to you through your school and don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Health Uncategorized

How Being Eco-Friendly at College Can Save You Money

July 10, 2020

Embracing a greener lifestyle is a great way to improve your carbon footprint and help leave a positive impact on the world. But did you know that it can actually save you money, too? Here are some easy ways you can benefit financially from a more eco-friendly college experience

Avoid Single-Use Anything

If you haven’t already, it’s time to ditch the plastic water bottles and to-go coffee cups and opt for a more sustainable option. Every single minute, the world uses one million plastic water bottles, so do what you can to help cut back on that. Take it a step further with reusable grocery bags and avoiding disposable utensils.

Temperature Control

One of your sneakiest expenses can be hiding in your utility bills. Bouncing back and forth between temperatures can be costly, as well as bad for the environment. During warmer months, you’ll probably be tempted to crank the AC in order to stay cool. Instead of turning down the thermostat, you can keep your room cool without using as much energy by getting blackout curtains. You should also make sure that you’re only turning the light when you’re in the room and need it on. Check your air vents, or talk to your landlord or property manager, to make sure they don’t have any dust or debris buildup that could hinder your home’s cooling efficiency. 

Go Digital

Instead of taking notes on paper, try using your laptop or tablet instead. Not only will this save paper, but you’ll be spending less on notebooks and pens. You can even voice record your lectures and listen to them later on. 

Change Your Commute

Consider riding your bike to work. Not only will you incorporate a fun workout into your day, but you’ll also be helping to relieve stress. It can also help you save money on transportation expenses like gas and auto maintenance. If a bike ride doesn’t work for you, look into other options like carpooling or taking public transportation.

Re-think Your Textbooks

Tired of expensive textbooks that you’ll never use beyond that one course? Look into used book options! Many websites and local bookstores offer buy-back programs on previously-used books. Not only will this help you save money in the beginning, but it also gives you the potential to earn money back once you’re done with it. Another great option is to use digital versions of textbooks. Oftentimes you can buy downloadable copies right from the publisher, for pennies on the dollar of what the paper textbook would cost. An added perk? Many of these include updated annotations or dictation, so you can better follow and understand the content as you go. 

Get Thrifty

Why pay full price on anything when you can get great items for a fraction of the cost? Whether you’re looking for a quirky piece of furniture or new clothing, you can find just about anything in thrift stores if you look hard enough. 

Turn it Off

Turning off or unplugging electronics that you’re no longer using is one of the easiest ways to curb your use of power. Hit the lights when you leave a room, and unplug chargers when you’re done using them. Then take it one step further and cut back on your water usage while you shower, brush your teeth, or do the dishes.

Working towards a greener lifestyle doesn’t have to be an overnight thing. It’s a process, and it’s okay to take as much time as you need to ease into it. Making small changes through the day can lead to lasting effects down the line that your planet, and wallet, will thank you for. 

Health Uncategorized

How To Incorporate Meditation Into Your Routine

July 2, 2020

Meditation is a great tool that allows students to destress and integrate moments of stillness into their everyday routines. It may feel intimidating to start a meditation practice, but you do not need to meditate for long periods of time or have a completely blank mind to be meditating correctly. Meditation can become a part of your day in subtle ways that will make a big difference. Here are some examples of ways you can integrate meditation into your daily routine. 

  1. Meditation Apps

If you have an interest in meditation you have likely heard of apps such as Headspace and Calm. These apps provide both short and longer meditations that will meet you where you are comfortable. Guided meditation is used by both new and seasoned meditators. It can be helpful to be guided through the process of meditation to maximize the time you are setting aside. 

  1. Enjoy your food

Mediation is not all about breathing. You are able to find mindfulness when setting aside time to be present and engage your senses. The time you spend eating can be utilized to create a moment of stillness in your routine. If you set aside a moment to eat one of your meals alone without any distractions you can more fully focus on the taste of what you are eating. 

  1. Take time to breathe during your chores

As a busy student, you may not have time to set aside time for meditation. A lack of time does not have to stop you from starting a meditation practice. You can meditate in simple ways like when you are walking to your next class, when you are doing the dishes, or even brushing your teeth. As long as you are being mindful of your task, there are so many possibilities for moments of meditation.

  1. Listen to music

Music can have a great impact on your state of mind. It can be valuable to take time to listen to soothing music and calm yourself. If you are feeling anxious over an upcoming exam or any other troubles, listening to music can quickly help to regulate your mood. 

  1. Mindful exercise 

Exercise is a great way to put aside time to center yourself and get in touch with your body and mind. Yoga is one form of exercise that emphasizes focusing on breath and stillness. Other forms of exercise such as strength training and cardio also include a focus on the breath and your body’s movement. You can also see what fitness resources are available at your school. There are also many virtual workouts available for free on apps such as Nike Training Club and on youtube. 

Meditation does not need to feel unattainable. You do not need to go all-in and meditate for 30 minutes away in total silence. Small moments of mindfulness add up and can improve your overall well being. Life as a student can be overwhelming so it is important to know the best ways for you to take care of yourself both physically and mentally. 

Health Uncategorized

These four common medical conditions affect thousands of college students

June 26, 2020
Student medical conditions on the rise

The Coronavirus pandemic has forced millions of college students across the country to adjust to online-only learning. Although the virus has disrupted classroom instruction, the reality is that every year, ordinary medical conditions lead to students leaving school and losing money. And we’re not talking about having the common cold, or making a trip to the on-campus health clinic. These medical conditions are proving to have a major impact on students nationwide.

The 2019 National Student Health Assessment from the American College Health Association data reveals some of the risks that college students and their families face today. As we all adjust in the time of COVID-19, you can see the common illnesses that have a big impact on students. The assessment surveyed more than 30,000 students across 58 different schools.

Common illnesses have a big impact on college completion

The most commonly reported illnesses that had an impact on completing a degree include concussion, mononucleosis (mono), pneumonia, and flu or flu-like illnesses.

student health conditions and academic progress

During a normal semester, most schools provide a pro-rated refund through the fifth week of classes, according to a national study from Dec. 2019. This same study reports that 70 percent of schools have reported a growth in student medical withdrawals.

The ACHA assessment confirms the scale and impact of health conditions on college completion is real. The calculations are based on a total of 8.16 million full-time undergraduate students attending four-year non-profit institutions. 

These four conditions that students report delayed their academic progress are estimated to have cost students and schools more than $1 billion annually! And that’s from preventable financial losses.

Health conditions may lead to an unexpected withdrawal

The ACHA data reveals other student health conditions that may also disrupt an academic term or lead to an unexpected student withdrawal. Nearly a quarter of students reported experiencing anxiety, followed by just under 20 percent reporting depression. Celiac disease, PTSD, eating disorders and bipolar disorder followed. 

If you’re experiencing one of these health conditions while in college, you should know that that there are resources to help you get back on track to complete your education. GradGuard’s Tuition Insurance can provide refunds for tuition and academic fees if you unexpectedly need to leave school for a covered reason.

Health Uncategorized

Hard Time Sleeping? Here Are a Few Reasons Why

June 11, 2020

Understandably, there will be times in your college career that you have a hard time sleeping – sometimes, you might think pulling an all-nighter is the best way to get ahead with your studying. Other times, you might be consumed with anxiety over a difficult class. Or there could be other reasons you’re chronically having trouble getting quality sleep. Looking at those potential areas of trouble can help you to both improve your health and your concentration, and ultimately help you to do better in school.

Screen Time

As a college student in the digital age, you’re certainly getting a lot of screen time. Maybe you’ve got online homework, carry a smartphone, and you have easy access to other media on streaming services and social platforms. It’s easy to lie in bed at the end of the day and scroll through your phone, but this could be affecting you as you try to fall asleep. Research shows that screen time, especially right before bed, can make it hard for you to fall asleep. In fact, a study shows sleep can be interrupted in direct correlation with how much time you spend with your screen, meaning that 15 minutes of screen time might mean four minutes of less sleep, and so on.

Additionally, if you’re still in your teens or early twenties, your brain is still developing. Research shows your prefrontal cortex – the area in charge of higher reasoning – is still formulating up to age 25. Restorative sleep is vital in promoting a healthy brain, including cognitive function, hormone regulation, and metabolism. Lack of sleep can lead to obesity, depression, and other health issues. Turn off your screens – including your phones, iPads, laptops, desktop computer, and TV – two hours before you go to sleep to help your body understand that it’s time to shut down and get the restorative rest that you need.

Stress

College has its fun and joyful experiences and is a time to make new connections with your peers, and maybe even enjoy a social gathering or two. But there’s also a lot of stress – you may be living away from home for the first time, and there may be stress associated with living in close quarters with people you don’t really know well (and maybe aren’t compatible with). You may have been excited to start your college courses and have added on one too many classes. You may be changing your eating habits, exercise habits, and overall routine. All of it is a disruption, and it’s natural that you may face some disruption in your sleep as well.

A few tips can help you to manage the stress that can lead to sleep disruption. Take an honest look at your class schedule – you may be interested in that 300-level course in philosophy, but do you need to take it this semester? While your university experience is a time to explore different academic areas, work with your advisor to ensure you’re first getting the required courses in and not overloading yourself with classes, especially as you’re adjusting to college life. Make sure you have some healthy time just for you. Look into your college’s extracurricular offerings such as yoga and meditation classes for an extra way to relax– the time spent will pay off in better sleep and, therefore, a clearer mind.

Diet

It’s super easy to rely on pizza deliveries and junk food, especially when you’re stressed and short of time – but a poor diet, even for resilient young people, can actually increase your stress and therefore make it harder to sleep. While you may feel invincible in your twenties, a poor diet can have a long term impact on your health, including heart disease, diabetes, and cancer. Think of it like starting a savings account – you may not have much in there to begin with, but it all adds up the older you get.

Take advantage of your college’s meal plan. Hit the salad bar and take advantage of the healthier offerings like vegetables, whole grain offerings, and fresh fruit. Or, if you’re on your own for meals and short of time, grab the pre-made salads and healthy meals from the grocery store. Additionally, stay away from the Red Bull and caffeine-boosters, to pull those all-nighters (which are terrible sleep interrupters anyway). And while you may have plenty of opportunities to socialize after hours, lay off the alcohol, which despite being a depressant, can actually cause you to lose quality sleep.

Remember, your college also may have free opportunities to see a counselor if your insomnia, stress, or alcohol use become problematic. Remember that you’ve made a major life change by starting your college career, and seeking additional help to adjust may be just the extra hand you need to sleep easier.

Health Uncategorized

6 Things You Might Not Know About Mono

May 27, 2020

Mononucleosis, more commonly known as “Mono” is relatively common among college students. It is caused by the spreading of the Epstein-Barr virus through saliva, mucus, and sometimes even tears. Many call Mono “the kissing disease”, because it is notoriously spread through kissing, but here are some facts you might not know about the disease.

Continue Reading

Health Uncategorized

How More Music, Theater, and Dance Boosts Students’ Writing Scores: Top Secret Tricks

April 17, 2020

Writing assignments are an inevitable part of education, but they prove to be too stressful for many students. Multiple factors influence the writing scores including stress levels, understanding of the subject, creativity, the level of critical thinking, among other things. If you are looking to improve writing scores then music, theater, and dance could help you out. How? Let’s see.

Visible results

Students measure their results and success by things they see and although this seems obvious, writing doesn’t provide that. How? Writing assignments involve developing an argument or composing a paper on a given subject. Then, the student submits the paper to the teacher and waits for the results. For students who struggle with writing it can be difficult to assess their success and the level of progression until they get the score. Dancing, singing, and performing arts are different. The student can immediately see how well she or he is doing. How does this translate to writing you wonder? Well, doing well in performing arts gives confidence boost they need to express their thoughts, opinions, and emotions in the paper and develop or improve writing skills. 

Self-evaluation 

Performance of any kind calls for a great deal of self-evaluation. Whether it’s music, dance, theater, or something else the student will always assess the strengths and weaknesses looking for something to improve. The habit of self-evaluation can also serve in the improvement of writing scores. It teaches a student to take a look at the paper from a different angle and identify parts where improvement is necessary. Habits developed with performing arts can easily apply to the writing skills and their development and better scores ensue. 

Stress relief through conquered challenges

One of the biggest advantages of theater, dance, and music is their ability to manage stress and anxiety. Academic life is stressful and, as you already know, stress harms overall performance. When engaging in performing arts students learn how to manage and relieve stress levels which can help them feel calmer when writing and composing their assignments.

Enhanced cognitive abilities

Performing arts such as music lessons, dancing, theater, and others can boost cognitive skills in students. For example, studies show that music lessons can enhance language-based reasoning, short-term memory, planning, and inhibition in students. Stronger cognitive function improves how students express themselves, sharpens critical thinking, and makes them overall more creative. All these factors are necessary for great writing scores. 

Conquering fear

Students tend to worry a lot about their teacher’s reaction to the paper. They are scared to express themselves out of fear it might lead to negative remarks. However, writing scores don’t work that way. Engaging in dancing, music, or joining drama group helps students conquer the fear and focus on themselves and their performance only. You learn how to be the best you can be without constantly thinking about someone else’s reactions. The freedom you experience when performing arts can help you conquer fears in writing assignments as well. 

Better writing scores is what most students want, but aren’t sure how to achieve it. The answer is simple; join a drama group, sing, play an instrument, and perform arts in some other way. Confidence boost, stress management, enhanced cognitive functions are some of many reasons why performing arts can help improve writing skills and contribute to better scores. They teach us how to feel free to express ourselves and evaluate the performance to keep doing better and better each time.

BIO: Kathrin Garner is an enthusiastic journalist and writes articles on social issues. As an activist, she takes part in the FV KASA program, which is a discussion platform on relevant cannabis topics. She searches for current issues and writes about it to a wide range of readers.