Transitioning from high school to college is a major life event. For most students, this will be their first time away from home for an extended period and the first time they will make many of their own decisions. During this transition, students often aren’t aware of what they need to do to maintain their health. Proper care of your physical and mental health will set you up for a thriving college experience. Here are a few tips to help both students and their parents prepare for a successful transition into college:
Advice For Parents Who Have Students Entering College
Your child transitioning from your home into college is just as major of a life change for you as it is for them. It is important for the parents to recognize that this is both an exciting and uncertain time for you both. Careful planning and support will make this transition easier for both you and your child. The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends parents encourage a visit to their child’s pediatrician during this time. Your child’s pediatrician will help ensure they are physically prepared and up to date on their immunizations and will also help your family prepare for the mental and emotional support they will need. We also recommend parents make sure their child knows where they need to go on campus for urgent healthcare. Parents should also make sure their child has health insurance and knows how to access it while at school. Your child’s pediatrician can also serve as a liaison to ensure their school has the proper medical records and care treatment plans they need on file. Once your child makes their transition into college, make sure you are keeping up frequent contact and ask about how they are doing physically, mentally, emotionally, and academically. This will allow you to provide any continuing support they need while at school.
Advice For The New College Freshman
Your transition into college will be filled with exciting changes and new opportunities. One major change you will experience is the responsibility for taking charge of your own healthcare. You should visit your pediatrician before heading to college so they can help you have a healthy transition. Many young adults continue to see their pediatrician as their primary care provider until they turn 19, at which time your pediatrician will help you transition to an adult primary care provider.
Here are a few things you should know before you make your transition into college:
- All the facts about any existing diagnosis, including how the condition affects you and how your condition is treated.
- The name, dosage, side effects, and instructions for any prescription medications.
- How to get your prescriptions refilled while you are at school.
- Where you should go for healthcare treatment while at school. This includes your campus health center and off-campus hospitals and emergency rooms.
- How your health insurance coverage works. Make sure you have a copy of your insurance card and know how to use it.
- Be prepared for how to handle and respond to pressure to drink alcohol, take drugs, or engage in sexual activity. Your pediatrician can give you advice on how to handle these situations.
- Attend orientation and know what resources are available to you on-campus.
Once you make your transition into college, there are many things you can do to maintain your health. Here are a few tips on how to stay healthy and successful while in college:
- Make healthy eating choices.
- Stay physically active.
- Get a proper amount of sleep each night.
- Avoid drugs, alcohol, and smoking.
- Maintain a healthy social life to prevent mental health issues.
- Study consistently over time and take regular study breaks instead of cramming the night before a test. Cram sessions place unnecessary stress on the brain.
- Make sure your friends and roommates know about any chronic conditions you have, signs of a problem, and how they should respond in an emergency.
Following these tips will help you establish life-long habits that will keep you healthy and strong.
Your Pediatrician Can Help You Prepare For A Healthy Transition
It is strongly recommended you have a visit with your pediatrician before you transition into college. Your pediatrician can help you prepare for a healthy transition by addressing physical and mental health concerns for this life change. To schedule your annual wellness visit with one of our board-certified pediatricians, contact Children’s Medical Center today. We have four convenient office locations in Palm Harbor, Westchase, Trinity, and Lutz. We also have extended hours and are open 7 days a week! We look forward to helping you prepare for a healthy and successful transition into college!