MERCED -- Aside from the obvious change in environment and the challenging coursework, moving from the comfort of your parent's home to college is certainly not an easy task. For many students -- especially freshmen -- one of the most difficult obstacles is getting used to not having parents around when you fall ill.
Not only does the campus' population often suffer from minor colds and illnesses during the school year, but several students rely heavily on the Health Center for psychological services that are provided year-round.
UC Merced's Health Center is perhaps one of the busiest places on campus, with students traveling in and out mainly during the peak periods of the day. All UCM-registered students are able to use the services offered at the center, just as they would their regular doctor's office. This convenience makes the transition to campus life a lot easier for many students who struggle with being far from home.
The Health Center is very conveniently located in the middle of the campus, making it easy for students to stop in to be seen by a board-certified physician just before class. The center provides online health updates to inform students of any statewide or multistate outbreaks.
The process for setting up an appointment is just as easy as it is at a normal doctor's office. On several occasions, I've been able to call to set up a same-day appointment. However, there are times during the year when the center can become busy. During such periods it is much more effective to make appointments far in advance.
The comforting attitude of the staff at the Health Center helps to accommodate students who aren't used to making trips to the doctor's office without their parents. For students living on campus, having a doctor's office less than a mile away from your dorm eases a lot of unnecessary stress.
Falling sick during the school year can be detrimental to the academic success of any student; however, the Health Center helps to ease the impact of many common illnesses.
Several college students claim to be more comfortable visiting their campus's doctor's offices than their primary care physician's office. One of the many reasons for this phenomenon is that school-provided health care is geared more towards the student population, which makes staff more understanding and able to easily identify common stress-induced sicknesses.
As the campus expands, UC Merced staff will undoubtedly look to build on the existing goals and expectations of the Health Center.
On April 11th, Health Services will hold one of several blood drives planned for each school year. They offer two per semester. Events such as the blood drives help bridge the gap between the faculty who run the center and the campus community, as staff and students are encouraged to donate.