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Taking Advantage of the University Health Services

Have you ever asked yourself how you can utilize the university healthcare services even when you never get sick?

As many international students at the U, I've been living far away from my family and have learned the importance of taking care of my own health. We all know how terrible it is when we get a  fever but the mid-term exams and a bunch of deadlines are coming up in just a couple of days. Even if we are able to recover right before the exams, it's stressful to catch up with the workload.  So, maintaining good health, both physically and mentally, is the key to fully enjoy your college life, especially in Minnesota! In this blog, I'm sharing with you three types of health services provided at the U that I find most helpful based on my own experience.

1. Get your flu shot!

Winter is coming. Don't forget that the Boynton Health Services provides flu shots for free of charge to eligible University students, staff, faculty, retirees. No out-of-pocket cost is required. Flu clinics take place at various locations across the Twin Cities campus, including Coffman Memorial Union, St.Paul Student Center, Boynton Health, Flu Clinic Humphrey School of Public Affairs (The Forum).

You can sign up for a visit or just simply come in.  I did a walk-in in Boyton yesteray and the service was super fast.  I filled out an information form and waited for 3 minutes to be called. The doctor who was helping me kindly asked to verify some information; if you are not sure about whether or not you should take the vaccine, feel free to ask them. The shot took less than 10 seconds and the pain involved is far less than what you may suffer from a flu. Also, don't assume that you won't get a flu again if you have already had one during the season. That's a myth. There are more than one strain of virus out there, so you never know. Also,  prevention is better than cure, right?

For more information about flu clinic schedule and location, please visit: https://boynton.umn.edu/flu

2. Get an annual physical check-up ( and many more)

If you are currently enrolled in a student health insurance plan through the unversity, take some time to research on available resources and your benefits.  In my first year, I wasn't aware of my student plan's benefits. But after talking the Student Benefits front-desk staff at Boynton, I learned so much more about the services offerred by my insurance plan. I was able to take a annual physical/wellbeing exam, a preventative dental check-up and an eye exam. These periodic exams identify risk factors for common chronic deseases at the earlier stage, help you better understand your body and how to live healthier.  I wish I would have known this ealier. So if you are reading this post, it's your call. Understand your benefits and take advantage of them. The more you know, the better!

Feel free to visit this website for details about your student health benefits: https://shb.umn.edu/health-plans/shbp-home

3. College is stressssssful. What should we do?

Mid-term exams, group projects, class presentations, lack of sleep, pressure from internship/job hunting, etc. - you name it. College can be quite stressful. It's okay to be not okay. But remember to seek for help! I had a friend who had been struggling with stress for his entire first semester, but he was intimidated toward visiting mental health services just because he thought the service was only for "abnormal" people. After I told him that half of my college friends having similar issues, he felt relieved. In fact, eight our of ten college students say they have sometimes or frequently experienced stress in their daily lives over the past three months, according to a 2008 mental health study by Associated Press and mtvU. Thus, if you find yourself feeling downed, anxious or stressful for more than a couple of days, talk to someone that you feel comfortable with sharing your feeling. The University Mental Health Services also can help you with a variety of consultation methods such as individual therapy, group therapy and stress management help. I was confirmed by all of my friends who used those services that their situations positively improved after talking to their specialists. I think we all agree on this: to be listened is to be good.

In addition, if you are an animal lover, PAWS is for you. PAWS (Pet Aways Worries anad Stress) offers sessions with registered therapy animal teams. Try stopping by one of their sessions; I bet you won't want to leave those adorable puppies and bunnies. :)

PAWS sessions are held in multiple locations across our campus. You can visit this website to their locations and times: https://boynton.umn.edu/paws

This Corgi makes me happy every time I see him!

Be well, be happy, and enjoy college as much as you can!

Bests,  - Chau