Common Health Problems at College (And How to Remedy Them)

Common Health Problems at College (And How to Remedy Them)

The excitement you might have felt at the beginning of the year has likely been replaced with stress and anxiety. Essays are due. Test dates are approaching. Labs and projects are getting more complex. And all the while, life outside of academics continues to move on – including work, relationships, searching for financial aid, and, of course, the ever-elusive self-care. 

That last part, of course, can feel like a luxury rather than a necessity. However, the fact you are reading this article shows that you believe that it can be done. 

Here are some tips to stay healthy while you are in college:

The Big Three: Colds, the Flu, and COVID

Even if we are out of the worst of the pandemic, COVID, like the flu, might unfortunately be here to stay. And because all these illnesses seem to love tailgating on college campuses, it’s wise to prepare accordingly:

  • Stay up to date on your vaccinations, including your flu shot. Bonus: this helps everyone else around you, too!
  • Increase Vitamin C, zinc, and other vitamin intake. It won’t cure what ails you, but it will boost your immune system.
  • Rest. If you start to notice that you’re coming down with something, take this as an opportunity to cut down on anything not essential, whether it’s finding someone to cover you at work, or saying “no” to any other commitment besides studying for that test.

Mental health

Anxiety and depression are a normal part of life. And there can also be stress that is difficult but manageable, like wondering if you’ll get that second date, or running late to your shift. It’s understandable to feel depressed if you didn’t get the grade you wanted, if you recently broke up, or that course you wanted to take filled up before you could register. 

However, if you notice that symptoms are persisting, or that it seems that college life is only exacerbating current problems, it might be time to seek additional support. If you haven’t already, find out what counseling and other health services are available on campus – many colleges even include it as part of what you’re already paying for tuition.


Basic mental healthcare is a must, and there are many ways you can be kind to your mind:

  • Get enough sleep, every night, and improve your sleep hygiene. You’ll also likely find that with a well-rested brain, you can write that paper more efficiently, too. 
  • Exercise. Turn your procrastination into a few minutes of bad dancing or push-ups and perhaps you’ll get that jump-start you needed. In other words, boost your heart rate with a little exercise
  • Rethink your relationship with drugs and alcohol. (Yes, even caffeine.)  
  • Rethink your relationship with social media. 
  • Drink your water and eat your veggies: Instant noodles, pizza, and junk food might be synonymous with college life, but even if you can’t pull off a full, cooked meal, consider ways to “sneak” healthier food into your diet. Carry a water bottle instead of buying coffee before class. Keep frozen veggies in the freezer that you can throw into those instant noodles. Swap out your chips for dried fruit and nuts. Your brain will run better on better quality fuel. 
  • Find a therapist, because it is still wise to take care of yourself before that mental health “check engine light” comes on. 

Sexual Health

Let’s face it: you’re an adult and with it, comes more adult ways of needing to take care of yourself. Perhaps you didn’t get the most informative sex ed before arriving on campus, and you might feel overwhelmed and even embarrassed trying to fill in the gaps in your knowledge. You’re far from alone, and there are resources to help you. Prioritizing your sexual and relational health is one of the most profound ways you can adult.

  • Get comfortable using your college health clinic. 
  • If you are, or think you are part of the LGBTQ+ community, seek out a supportive community like a club or LGBTQ+ friendly housing. 
  • Communication is key. Practicing getting comfortable with both asking and telling your partner about what you need and like not only leads to better relationships, but it can also keep you out of trouble when it comes to issues like consent.
  • Communication is important with your partner, but it’s also important to find a medical provider and therapist or counselor that you trust.

The Unknown

Perhaps you have heard of the Dunning-Krueger effect, or the idea that recognizes that we sometimes think we know more than we actually do. And when it comes to health problems – out of sight, out of mind, right? And yet, we know that our bodies can deceive us. 

As a college student, you know that knowledge is power, and it can be incredibly empowering to take charge of your medical care proactively. There are now more companies offering more affordable, and less invasive, screening services and other products. Many college students are turning to bioenergetic assessments to take charge of their healthcare, as this is yet another way to take charge of specific healthcare needs. 


You can always switch majors, but until someone comes up with the technology, you can’t swap out your body! Your health is just as important an investment in your future as your degree is. College is stressful, but graduating into a life of healthy habits in the midst of that stress will be something you will be glad you did.