Health should be top priority while in college


Justice Cummins buys medicine from CVS vending machines located in Thad Cochran.

Photo by Bethany Morris

Being in a new environment causes several different challenges. Dealing with stress, illness and homesickness is especially challenging during students’ first semester in college. 

Stress is a major factor when it comes to getting sick. Because it impairs the immune system, stress can make you break out or catch a cold and cause you to, like the kids say, straight up not have a good time. 

Katie Cork, sophomore kinesiology major, said that she was getting sick about once or twice a month during her freshman year.

“I believe it was from stress from moving away from home and also could’ve been the dirty air vents in the dorm,” Cork said. “But the main reason was most likely stress, anxiety and mild depression in my personal life that lowered my immune system.” 

Mental health and physical health go hand in hand in many different scenarios. If a student is not taking care of their mental health, their physical health becomes compromised.  

Junior speech pathology major Rachel Anselmo said she struggles with mental health a lot while in school. 

“I have a creative writing journal that I write in sometimes or watch blog videos or go on car rides at night to clear my mind,” Anselmo said.

Another issue to be aware of is seasonal allergies. In Mississippi, it is close to impossible to avoid getting sinus infections twice a year—when school starts in the fall and when everything starts blooming in the spring. 

“I normally catch a cold when I get back to school while I’m getting readjusted to college life, but once school gets into full swing, I’m fine,” senior English major MaryBeth Charnock said. 

In addition to eating well, exercising and maintaining mental health, investing in a nasal spray will be a great way to fight allergy symptoms. Buying drug store brands of any medicine is just as effective as name-brand medicines, so students can take care of themselves without breaking the bank.

“I’m also making sure to wash my hands or use GermX often and I’m working on not touching my face a lot,” Cork said. “I’m also working on improving my health in other ways such as physical fitness and healthier food choices. I’m also avoiding my addiction to Coca-Cola and drinking water instead.”

When a student begins to feel any onsets of sickness, resolving the issue as soon as possible ensures that the problem will not become more serious. The Moffit Health Center on campus serves as an efficient and fairly cheap resource for students to stay healthy. The Thad Cochran Building also provides CVS vending machines, so students have easy access to medicine and other drugstore products. 

With an on-campus counseling service, free gym access at the Payne Center and numerous health services, Southern Miss provides students with help for any number of health issues. Mental and physical health are crucial for students, so it is important to reach out when assistance is needed.