- If you are attending college, find the location of the student health service and find out what it has to offer and when it is open.
- If you are male, do monthly testicular exams to screen for testicular cancer-this is a cancer of young men in their teens and twenties.
- If you are female, do monthly breast exams.
- If you are smoking or chewing tobacco, we at PIP or your student health service can help you stop. The easiest way to quit smoking is not to start. Tobacco can affect your health at any time in your life.
- Plan on exercising three to five times a week for at least one half-hour.
- Limit inactivity in front of the television or computer screen.
- You still need at least 8 hours of sleep per night. If you're sleeping longer on weekends to catch up, your body can't work optimally at school or at work.
Making wise decisions
- If you or anyone you know is sexually assaulted on a date, call your doctor or student health service.
- When you are on a date, always let your friends or roommates know where you'll be and how to get hold of you.
- If you are sexually active, be sure to use condoms for disease prevention and some other form of birth control. (Condoms alone fail 30 to 40 percent of the time.)
- Always wear a seat belt.
- If getting pierced or tattooed, discuss it with your friends and family. Go to a reputable shop, preferably licensed by the Health Department. Avoid "spring break" tattoos, piercings from Mexico or the Caribbean. Hepatitis C spreads more through piercing and tattooing than through sexual contact.
- Ecstasy can kill. It is often impure and cut with over-the-counter cold medications. It can be deadly, even the first time.
- Marijuana can cause impotence and impair judgment. It can also cause breast enlargement in men.
- Alcohol and binge drinking cause impairment in judgment and increase your likelihood to participate in risk-taking behaviors. If you are drinking socially, have a designated driver when going out with friends.
- Learn CPR and first aid.
- Guns and violence are among the leading causes of death in young adults.
- Depression and anxiety are common in young adults, especially when leaving home for the first time. Find a friend or other adult to talk with when things seem overwhelming. PIP can help, too, with finding a counselor or other resources.
- Suicide is the second leading cause of death in teenagers. If you are having feelings of depression, sadness, hopelessness, thoughts of injuring yourself or you are concerned you may harm others, call your doctor, an adult or a crisis hotline.
- Clarify your values, recognize your strengths and trust your instincts.
- Spend time regularly doing something you enjoy. Time-off, recreation and vacations are important; you may be working for the rest of your life.
- Participate in social activities, community groups and team sports.
- Listen to and respect your peers.
- Stay in touch with your friends and family. Both can be supportive when needed.
- Learn ways to manage stress that work for you (deep breathing, meditating, yoga or exercising).
- Be careful of the fast food lane. Many of the "value" meals may be less expensive but they're not bargains when it comes to lots of fat, cholesterol, calories and salt. A typical value meal may contain more than the amount of fat and cholesterol recommended for the entire day!
- Try to choose a smaller sandwich and fries or exchange the fries for a salad.
- Cut the pop, go for the water. A can of pop is equal to 10 cubes of sugar and not much else. A typical 32-ounce "Gulp Guzzler" at a convenience store can run as high as 300-400 calories. Try to switch to cool, refreshing and often free water. Go for four to six glasses per day.
- Bone up on calcium. Get at least four servings of calcium per day (choices such as low-fat milk, yogurt, low fat cheeses and calcium-enriched frozen yogurt or low-fat ice cream). The dietary recommendation for calcium is at least 1300 mgs. per day.
- If you're not a milk drinker, consider calcium enriched foods such as orange juice or fortified soy milks and consider taking a vitamin supplement especially for Vitamin D.
- Beware of the "freshman ten." Often, during the first year of college life, students may experience weight gain. Remember that the dining hall is not a smorgasbord and late-night study sessions aren't pizza party weight-gaining sessions.
- Try not to eat more than three meals per day and check out the school gym or take a mind-clearing walk or run for 30 to 45 minutes each day.
- Manage your weight with healthy eating habits, healthy food choices, and regular exercise.
- Respect the rights and needs of others.
- Learn new skills such as CPR, first aid or peer counseling.
- Help someone less fortunate or in need.
- Serve as an ethical role model.
- Take care of yourself first-before paying bills and other debts, put aside a small amount of money each month designed for long-range goals and unexpected emergencies.
- Figure out your annual income and budget it-including what you are planning on saving.
- Learn how to balance a checkbook.
- Have a good financial plan-list your financial goals with a plan for getting there.
- Be aware of what you make-especially your "take home" pay, which is the amount on your paycheck after taxes.
- Before committing to any major purchases, determine what you can afford. Don't borrow what you can't repay.
- If you decide to carry a credit card, carry only one (VISA, MasterCard, etc.). Pay off the balance every month. Don't fall victim to offers of pre-approved credit or low rates.
- Your friends and family may not follow you wherever you go but your credit record does. Credit bureaus maintain reports on borrowing and paying whether good or bad. Negative reports can affect your future ability to borrow money.
- Interest rates vary-if you're seeking a loan, get several estimates from financial firms to get the best value.
- Save while you're young-the longer you save, the more interest you earn.
- There is no such thing as a free lunch-be leery of advertisements, telemarketers, Internet offers or salespeople offering something for nothing. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
- Be insured-purchase auto, health, renters or homeowners' insurance. Protect yourself against a catastrophic event that wasn't planned.