Uh Oh. It’s Flu season! Staying healthy at any point in life is extremely important, but getting sick in college can really affect you.  Getting the flu means missing school, not being able to hang out with friends, and the overall feeling of being ill. To say it’s no good is an understatement, but there are definitely ways to avoid getting sick.


The flu is actually called the Influenza Virus and it is not the same as a cold. The Flu is a respiratory illness. It is contagious and after catching it the body takes a few days before the immune system will begin fighting against it. Because it is hard on the body, the flu usually lasts a few days to two weeks. Unfortunately, the over-the-counter medicines you may take for other colds do not treat the flu virus, but they can help with flu symptoms.


Some flu symptoms are coughing, sneezing, aches, tiredness, congestion, and a fever. If you believe you have the flu, try not to infect others and stay sanitized. It is a good idea to go to the doctor. Many campuses have some kind of medical services where you can see a doctor using insurance or paying a lower-than-normal fee for the visit. It is recommended that you find a doctor’s office either on campus or off that you could go to if you ever needed.


Prevention is the best way not to get the flu. The flu season typically starts in November and ends in March. During this time, be extra careful about sharing germs. Make sure to wash your hands frequently after touching the desks, chairs, doors, etc… Also, all those chips and canned soups are probably not the best for your body. Take the time to figure out healthy foods to eat and always stay hydrated. Many people also chose to get the flu shot. Flu shots are offered at many local pharmacies and stores including Walgreens, CVS, Target, Walmart, etc… Many schools will also offer flu shots either for free or a reduced cost. Check out your medical services for more information.


Unfortunately, antibiotics do not fight the flu. Sometimes antiviral drugs can be prescribed, but you will most likely still feel sick for a little while. The best way to get better is eating healthy, lots of rest, and drinking enough water. It may be hard to stay in bed in a college atmosphere, but that could very much help you get better quicker. If you do have to stay in bed, make sure to contact your professors. Since the swine flu break out in 2008/2009 many colleges have adapted flu policies telling students to stay home. Find out where your school stands and talk to your professors about the flexibility in their syllabi.


The flu can be hard to deal with, but it is not the end of the world. You may feel sick for a while, but your body will begin the fight eventually. The best way to avoid getting sick is to consciously stay healthy. Make sure to get your flu shot and if you are sick, make sure not to infect the others around you.

Are you still undecided and more than half way through your first semester of college? You’re not alone! It is OKAY to be unsure during the first part of your college career. Many students end up changing their majors several times. Many students even graduate with a completely different degree than when they started. I personally have switched my major and career path. It is not something to be ashamed of and don’t worry too much!


Even though you shouldn’t stress too much about being undecided in the beginning of your college career, it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t care about it at all. College is a lifestyle. A lot of college has to deal with the experiences, but it is important to remember that ultimately, you are here because of your academics. That being said, make sure you are paying attention to which classes you are taking.


During the first two years of school you can usually get away with taking mostly gen eds/liberal studies. Take advantage of these classes! Take things that you don’t know anything about or just take a random class that seems interesting. Push yourself out of your comfort zone and learn something new. This is your time to experiment and this is the way to do it! Taking introductory level classes can really help you decide if you’re truly interested in a major.


Another way to help you decide what major to declare is practice. This could be volunteer work, internships, or even paid positions. Go around and look for places you could see yourself working. Even if it is an entry level position somewhere it could help you get your foot in the door, get a good reference, AND it could guide you in the right direction. Trying out a new class, job, or club can be great! It could also be TERRIBLE! If you really don’t like something, remember that. There is always good to be learned from every experience. Keep that in mind as you go through your search. Sometimes deciding what you don’t want to do is just as important.


There is help! You are not out there alone! Talk to your advisors, counselors, mentors, family, friends, etc… People are always willing to give their opinions, so don’t be afraid to ask! We are included in that group. The iRAs are here to answer any personal questions you may have about majors so go ahead and test out our knowledge. There are also many online quizzes to help lead you in the right direction. You may not want to take all of these literally, but it could be another tool to help steer you in the right direction.


In the end, make a list. Write down what you like to do, who you like to be around, what type of settings you like to be in and go from there. Once you have a list, try to make some comparisons to different career fields. Pros and cons lists can be extremely beneficial as well. Whatever you do, do not resort to a coin flip. College costs you (or someone else) a lot of money. Make sure you are treating it as an investment for your future and not just playtime. Take time to truly think about what you want to do and make sure YOU are HAPPY with that decision.

First day of college already?? If it hasn’t come yet, it will come soon! College will be one of the best times of your life as long as you’re prepared. To get there though, there are some things you need to know. There will be many people including your family, friends (old and new), staff and faculty will be around to help you. Take advantage of them being there if you need help. Here are some tips to consider when starting out.

Move-in weekend is busy enough, but then you add classes. Are you ready yet? Whether you have a large or small campus it is a good idea to go out and explore. Map out where everything is including your classes and different dining options. This will help you so you’re not walking around lost before your first class that starts in five minutes. Most schools offer downloadable maps. Check your campus info, Residence Life, or parking websites to find these.

Books aren’t the only thing needed on the first day. Do you have extra ink cartridges for your printer if you run out? How about an agenda/calendar, extra paper, or pens and pencils? If you are moving away from home, buying things for your new room/apartment can be exciting, but make sure you have the essentials for your classes! You don’t need much on the first day. I recommend bringing a pen, notebook, and a folder. You will be able to take notes and keep any syllabi nice and safe.

Some teachers will want you to bring your books on the first day. When it comes to pre-buying your books before the first day of class, it’s up to you. There are pros and cons. Many colleges and universities post which books are needed on their bookstore website. This is great as long as your school keeps it updated. The down side could be you accidentally buying books you don’t need or not budgeting enough for books that you do need. If you are unsure what you want to do, email your professor. Most likely they will respond and let you know what exactly you need to buy and when.

So what happens when you get to class and you don’t like it? In the beginning of the semester there are drop/add dates. If you know that you cannot handle a class or that it just isn’t for you, this may be something to consider. Keep in mind, not all classes will be directly related to your major. Some are requirement liberal arts or prerequisites. If this is the case for your “bad” class, try to stick it out. Seek out where you can get extra help like tutoring or find a buddy in your class. If your class isn’t needed and you do not feel like you can succeed in it as a student, check the drop date. You don’t want to get penalized for dropping a class. Whatever the reason and whatever you want to do, talk with your academic advisor. They will probably be able to help guide you in the right direction. They will also be the ones with the add/drop dates if you can’t find them online.

The first week will probably be busy and stressful, but a lot of fun! You probably have a lot on your plate, but take advantage of the new year. People are usually excited to be there and willing to meet new people. Also, a lot of schools have some type of welcome week program. Check to see if your school offers anything like this. It could be a great way to get involved and meet new people.

As long as you stay prepared and put yourself out there, you’ll have a good time. Good luck and have fun!