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mental health

Health

A Healthy Student Is a Successful Student

October 23, 2020
The importance of your mental and physical health in college

Physical and mental health are just as important as academic achievement when you’re a college student. Considering the health crisis that our world is currently in, college students should realize the importance of good health and how it can impact their academic performance. Here are some ways to make sure you’re staying healthy.

Mental Health and Academic Performance


Many college students can probably recall a time in which they underestimated the impact of mental health and clarity when it comes to their academic performance. While many college goers focus heavily on making good grades, often times, this includes pulling all-nighters to study and finish big assignments and not participating in other activities outside of school. What they don’t realize is how these elements could potentially hurt their grades rather than helping them to succeed. Implementing these habits will add on unnecessary stress in the long run and make it harder to focus on your assignments, which may result in unsatisfactory academic performance.

Perfection isn’t always possible

Remember that it’s okay to miss a few points on an assignment or exam. What’s important is that you completed the work to the best of your ability and made sure to include all pieces of information your professor or instructor requested.

Utilize a calendar

Use a calendar or planner to keep track of your daily tasks, assignments, and exams. Many of the phones and computers that students use today have apps with the ability to track and manage their schedules and set reminders. Write down what the assignment is, its due date, and when you plan to have it completed. If possible, always try to complete an assignment before its due date, just in case any last minute changes need to be made.

Don’t skimp on sleep

Rest! Getting the proper amount of sleep as a college student is crucial. With the help of a calendar or planner to track your assignments, you’ll find that those all-nighters and late night study sessions will become few and far between.

Make time for friends and get involved in extra activities outside of class. Having a great group of reliable friends throughout college is more beneficial than you may think. Take time to enjoy things you like to do, meet new people, and get involved in campus clubs or activities.

Physical Health and Academic Performance


For most students, being away from home for the first time can pose a challenge in making sure their physical health is a priority. If you’re not taking care of yourself, your academic performance may begin to decline. One of the most relevant challenges in regards to physical health as a college student is eating habits. Chances are, there aren’t many healthy options on college campuses when it comes to dining. Another challenge college students often face is finding time to exercise and stay active.

Choose healthy options

This may seem easier said than done considering that many college campuses do not offer a variety of healthy options. Lighter snacks and meals will help keep you focused and ready to learn. Sometimes eating heavier meals throughout the day will cause fatigue and make it harder for you to focus.

Move your body

Find time to get active and exercise. This doesn’t necessarily mean spending hours in the gym everyday. Students can stay active by taking walks around campus, spending a half hour in the gym on different days throughout the week, and maybe getting involved in sports teams or clubs on campus.

Look good, feel good!

Take a few extra moments in the morning before class to make sure you look presentable, rather than rolling out of bed and showing up to your lecture in the same clothes you fell asleep in the night before. Getting ready will you give you an extra boost of confidence!

When you’re in college, it’s up to you to take care of your mental and physical well-being. Start with small changes in your everyday life and see how you feel.

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How to Keep from Being Overwhelmed Your First Semester

December 6, 2019

College is an exciting time, and it can really open your eyes to a variety of new experiences and ideas. It’s a time to really figure out who you are and what you want to do with the rest of your life. 

But when you first arrive, it can feel a little overwhelming. That initial jump from high school to college can be so jarring. About 30% of college freshmen drop out after their first year. While a variety of reasons contribute to this dropout, it’s safe to assume that many students withdraw because college isn’t what they were expecting or they felt overwhelmed by the pressures, schedules, and responsibilities. 

So what can you do to avoid feeling so overwhelmed during your first year of college? Finding ways to manage your stress can make the experience easier for you. Let’s look at a few ways you can enjoy your college experience as soon as it starts, rather than letting it completely overwhelm you. 

Plan Ahead to Avoid Surprises

If you’ve never been much of a planner, college is the perfect time to start. You’re likely going to have a busier schedule than ever before, and it’s your responsibility to stay on top of it. Organizing your schedule and writing it down is a great way to avoid unnecessary stress and to make sure you’re never “surprised” by anything that comes of. 

Of course, it’s also important to plan ahead when it comes to taking time for yourself. Schedule in some time with friends, plan a trip to go home to your family or go one step further by planning ahead for a great Spring Break trip to de-stress. Heading to the tropical beaches of Punta Cana or skiing the slopes in Aspen can be a great way to unwind with your new college buddies. 

Simply put, staying organized and efficient will make it harder for things to “sneak” up on you. You’ll feel less overwhelmed when you know what’s coming. 

Blow Off Some Steam With Sports

If you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, one of the best ways to blow off some steam is to stay active. Many colleges across the country have on-campus gyms or athletic facilities where you can work out almost any time of the day. Exercise is a natural mood-booster and can help to combat stress. 

In addition to exercising on your own, you can choose to join an intramural sports team on campus. These teams are usually a lot of fun and can get you involved in unique activities like flag football, volleyball, or even ping pong! 

A survey of 850 students found that those who participated in sports had better overall mental health than those who did not. Making your mental health a priority in college can mean the difference between whether or not you stick with it. You don’t have to be a star athlete to have fun and get active. 

Form Healthy Relationships

One of the best ways to make college easier on yourself is to form solid relationships. The friendships you develop in college will be the ones that last a lifetime! Whether you find common ground by playing sports, joining clubs, or becoming best friends with your roommate, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there to find people you can connect with. 

Finding your “community” in college will make you feel like you’re a part of something bigger. You’ll also have a built-in support system, so when things do start to feel overwhelming, you can turn to that support for help. 

It’s true that the initial shock of the college experience can feel a little bit overwhelming. But, by staying organized, getting involved in things, and finding people to connect with, you can live out that experience to the fullest and enjoy the next few years of your collegiate career. 

Health Other

Ways Students Can Manage Their Mental Health

October 15, 2019

Back to school means change, which brings opportunities or maybe anxiety. Mental health is important to living your best life. College life prepares you for the future in many ways. Here are some tips to help manage your mental health for back to school. 

Set some personal goals for yourself

It’s important to have short term and long term goals. They can range from wanting to read a new book by the end of the month to putting yourself out there by joining more clubs or maintaining a certain percentage in a class. How can this be helpful? Making more friends in college can grow your network, helping you get a job after graduation. Or reading that new book may help you write that paper or give you inspiration for a class project. 

Organize your calendar and manage your time 

Staying organized and sticking to a schedule for outside your classes will help keep you grounded. You know you best, so be honest with yourself when scheduling study blocks, friend time and relaxing time. Check out our blog post on 4 Ways to Improve Your Time Management and Increase Productivity. Remember: you can study, work out and eat with friends – you don’t have to sacrifice your social life. 

Find the outlet that works best for you

Having an outlet can help you sort out your thoughts and feelings. Some great options include journaling and meditating to creating artwork or working out. Outlets and hobbies can help manage your mental health for many reasons both physically and mentally. 

Seek out on-campus resources to manage your stress and mental health

Many of your university’s resources are included in your tuition which is a no brainer but can be easy to forget. If you feel like your anxiety and stress levels are becoming too much to handle academically, be sure to talk to your academic advisor and let them know how you are feeling about classes and workload. They will be able to recommend and help with finding a solution that works best for you. Tutors are an amazing resource as well. Peer tutors can help you with tips and tricks for class materials and share helpful insights on some professors’ teaching styles. Be sure to check with your university or RA about all the available resources for students.

Pets

Leaving Fluffy and Fido at home can be the hardest part of leaving for college. Since college housing will not allow them, there are solutions! One option is to volunteer at the local shelter. Shelters can often use the help and the animal’s benefit need and want your love and attention as much as you. Pet sitting is also a great way to get some love as well as making some cash. You can find different ways to get your pet fix on campus if you know where to go.

When all is said and done, there are so many things that can help with your mental health in college. Don’t disregard it and do what you can to keep your spirits lifted! Overall, don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. Be sure to locate your school resources if you ever need them.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health and needs some support, visit jedfoundation.org/help for resources.

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Can Pets Improve Student Mental Health?

September 12, 2019

If you’re a student living away from home for the first time, it can be hard and sometimes lonely adjusting to your new life. More and more students are facing mental health challenges, but what if you could take a familiar friend from home with you?

The likelihood is, if you’re living in student accommodations, you might not be allowed to keep larger pets such as cats or dogs. However, many landlords will let you keep smaller animals such as fish, hamsters or even guinea pigs. 

Taking a pet with you to university or college not only makes the transition easier for you, but pets have also been proven to improve students mental health too. 

Here are three myths that we have busted and scientifically proven, relating to pets and mental health.  

Myth #1: Pets Can’t Reduce Anxiety

Having a pet can help to reduce your anxiety and stress levels, even a pet as tiny as the popular Guppy fish can help alleviate stress. 

A study carried out in the 80’s found that simply watching fish swimming in an aquarium can reduce anxiety levels by up to 12%. 

A second study conducted much more recently by the University of Exeter and Plymouth University found that watching fish ‘led to noticeable reductions in participants blood pressure and heart rate.’

Large animals can also help to reduce stress. This study, carried out in an educational environment found that just ten minutes of petting a cat or dog can reduce anxiety levels. 

If you’re feeling anxious at starting new classes, taking exams or even making new friends at your school, having a pet can really help to reduce anxiety and make student life as fun as it’s supposed to be for you. 

Myth #2: Pets Can’t Help Depression

Students that own a pet are less likely to suffer from depression than those who don’t. Larger animals such as dogs encourage their owners to get out and exercise and get some fresh air. 

Fresh air and walks are now being recommended by some doctors for people who have depression symptoms. 

Having a pet can help you connect with people from special interest groups, such as Fishkeeping Groups, Dog Groups or even Reptile Groups. 

Pets are very empathetic, and offer a lot of emotional support, especially since they can’t actually talk back! They just sit and listen, offering a really soothing presence. 

Even pets that are as tiny as crickets can help to alleviate depression symptoms. 

Myth #3: Having a Pet Will Make Me More Isolated and Lonely

Sometimes people think that if you have a dog or small pet which you need to take care of that you’ll be more isolated. This couldn’t be further from the truth. 

Firstly, having a companion living with you can make you feel less lonely. It’s someone to talk to when no-one else is around and is just generally nice company. 

Pets not only become great friends but can also encourage you to get out and meet other like-minded people who share the same pet or interests.

If your studies, being away from home and exams are causing you stress, or even depression, why not consider welcoming a new pet into your life?

If you can’t have any kind of pet in your dorm room, you should think about volunteering at a local animal shelter, or maybe becoming a local dog walker so you can interact with animals daily! There are also different ways to get your animal fix when you are on-campus–just keep an eye out for those stress-relieving events.

BIO: Robert Woods is an avid fish keeper and advocate for all things fish related, including the many mental health benefits which can be derived from keeping fish.

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The Age of Anxiety & Dramatic Growth in Student Illnesses

October 31, 2016

This week’s Time Magazine had a cover that brings attention to the important trends facing young adults and college students.

time-magazine-cover-anxietyThe title “Anxiety, Depression & the American Adolescent” is a familiar theme to our team at GradGuard.  We watch student health trends closely and recognize it as a fundamental risk to the investment families make in a higher education.

Colleges and Universities have recognized the mental health needs of college students for some time. The growth, however, in mental health related illnesses is noteworthy and substantial.

The American College Health Association National College Health Assessment from 2010 – 2015 reports a dramatic growth in student reported incidents of the following illnesses.health chart twitter-02

The data is alarming, particularly considering that health incidents can often disrupt a student’s education.  Families are often aware that their college student may be vulnerable to the stress of college life but it is important to note that ordinary student health problems such as mononucleosis, chronic health conditions or injuries also may force a student to withdraw from classes and cost a student and their family thousands of dollars.

acha-chart-2015Supporting a college student through an unexpected event can be stressful and it is made worse if parents are not aware of the college refund policy. A 2016 survey by College Parents of America indicates 71% of parents do not recall being informed of the university refund policy and 67% of parents surveyed indicate that they have no idea how the school would handle a refund if their student was unable to complete classes.

In fact, in a 2015 national survey of college & university bursars & health administrators, less than a quarter of schools reported providing 100% refunds. According to the survey, most schools only refund a portion of tuition for qualified withdrawals through the fifth week of classes and virtually no school provides a refund for the academic fees.

GradGuard provides tuition insurance to help provide a refund when a school may not.    Starting at $29.00, tuition insurance can be an affordable form of protection for college students and families.   Coverage and pricing may differ by campus so check with your college or university or at GradGuard.com to find coverage that will protect your investment in college.  Remember like all insurance, coverage is determined by the actual policy.  A student must complete a medical withdrawal that is verified by the school.  Some illnesses require proof that it was

Remember like all insurance, coverage is determined by the actual policy.  A student must complete a medical withdrawal that is verified by the school.  Some illnesses require proof that severe enough to require the student to withdraw from classes mid-semester.   For instance, general anxiety regarding exams isn’t sufficient but mental health issues that require hospitalization generally are. Check your policy for complete details as certain states and schools have unique requirements.

GradGuard’s mission is to help protect the investment of college students and their families make in higher education.  Indeed, for many parents, college is the 1st or 2nd largest investment in their family financial life.  As a result, it is a smart move to know your college refund policy and to consider protecting your student with tuition insurance.

Health Other

Increase in Student Illnesses & Low Awareness of Refund Policies Highlight Risks Facing College Families

August 6, 2016

As students report to college this year, families are advised to take note that the growth in student health incidents & low awareness of college refund policies create a precarious position for college families. As a result, college families may benefit from tuition insurance available through GradGuard.

The American College Health Association National College Health Assessment from 2010 – 2015 reports a dramatic growth in student reported incidents of the following illnesses.

 

health chart twitter-02

According to John Fees, co-founder of GradGuard, an authority in protecting the investment of college students and their families in higher education, “families are often aware that their college student may be vulnerable to the stress of college life but it is important to note that ordinary student health problems such as a mononucleosis, chronic health conditions or injuries also may force a student to withdraw from classes and cost a student and their family thousands of dollars.

acha-chart-2015

Supporting a college student through an unexpected event can be stressful and it is made worse if parents are not aware of the college refund policy. A 2016 survey by College Parents of America indicates 71% of parents do not recall being informed of the university refund policy and 67% of parents surveyed indicate that they have no idea how the school would handle a refund if their student was unable to complete classes.

In fact, in a 2015 national survey of college & university bursars & health administrators, less than a quarter of schools reported providing 100% refunds. According to the survey, most schools only refund a portion of tuition for qualified withdrawals through the fifth week of classes and virtually no school provides a refund for the academic fees.

do not refund 1080x1080

Fees suggests that “there is no large purchase, other than the investment families make in higher education, where the terms and conditions of a purchase are so poorly disclosed to consumers. Given the rising cost of college and increase in student health issues it is important for families to ask three questions:

  1. Does your school provide a 100% refund for medical withdrawals?
  1. If not, can your family afford the potential financial loss?
  1. When does college start? If you want protection that reimburses you if your student has to withdraw from classes, then remember that tuition insurance can only be purchased prior to the start of semester.

Starting at $29.00, tuition insurance can be an affordable form of protection for college students and families. Coverage and pricing may differ by school so check with your college or university or at GradGuard.com to find coverage that will protect your investment in college.  Remember like all insurance, coverage is determined by the actual policy.  A student must complete a medical withdrawal that is verified by the school.  Some illnesses require proof that it was severe medical event.  For instance, general anxiety isn’t sufficient but mental health issues that require hospitalization generally are. Check your policy for complete details as certain states and schools have unique requirements.

Fees concludes that “for most parents, college is the 1st or 2nd largest investment in their family financial life. As a result, it is a smart move to know your college refund policy and to consider protecting your student with tuition insurance.”