For first years and returning students alike, the transition
into college life can be difficult. Managing work, classes and
extracurricular activities is often overwhelming, as is simply
adjusting to life on one’s own. The Memorial Health Center
serves as a source of advice and life management skills for
students beginning their semester.
“For managing stress and optimizing one’s success in
college, I recommend maintaining a balanced lifestyle,” said
Derrick Blanton, clinical psychologist from SMU’s Counseling
and Testing Center.
Blanton emphasized that this should be balance over all areas of
one’s life — physical, mental, emotional, spiritual,
social and academic.
“The majority of the problems I see are a result of
someone who is out of balance…either engaging in too much
activity or too little,” Blanton said.
He encouraged students to get involved on campus but to remember
to talk to friends and know SMU’s resources (see fact boxes)
if they are having problems. He also stressed basic healthy
choices, such as a consistent sleep schedule, exercise and healthy
Cheryl Black, director of nursing at the Memorial Health Center,
affirmed that advice.
“Remember everything your mother ever told you,” she
said. Often, the combined changes in students’ lifestyles,
like higher stress levels, altered diets and decreased exercise can
weaken the immune system and make them more susceptible to
Community living on campus also makes illness more prevalent.
Black stressed that students should remember to wash their hands or
use hand sanitizer to prevent spreading germs.
Another aspect of college life that affects students’
wellness is the social scene.
“Most students are making pretty good choices,” said
John Sanger, director of the Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse
Prevention. However, some students do engage in high-risk
Christen Menzel, coordinator of Center for Alcohol and Drug
Abuse Prevention, reminded that students don’t have to drink
to have fun, but if they choose to, they should do so responsibly.
This includes drinking slowly and alternating with non-alcoholic
Sanger also emphasized the dangers of date rape drugs, and that
students should never take a drink from someone they don’t
know or leave their drinks unattended.
Memorial Health Center
• Open 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.
• Full-time students:no charge
• An orthopedic doctor, two OB-GYNs and a dermatologist are
available at certain times throughout the week, at an extra
• Offers allergy injections, vaccinations, immunization
assessments and flu shots
Counseling and Testing Center
• Located in health center
• Counseling available for free
• Tests for personality disorders
• Holds workshops throughout the year
Center for Alcohol and Drug Abuse Prevention
• Located in health center
• Offers personal assessments, intervention, short-term
counseling, referrals, campus awareness, support groups, education
and training, research, peer consultants and continuing quality
• Partners with Temerlin Advertising Institute for the
social norms/alcohol education campaign
• Works with BACCHUS (Boosting Alcohol Consciousness
Concerning the Health of University Students), a peer education
group focusing on alcohol abuse prevention and other related
student health and safety issues.
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