Tips for graduates to remain healthy after UK

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Column by Jill Kindy

The University Health Service, located on Limestone Street, is pleased to announce collaboration with the Kernel in providing health information to students.

Stay tuned for future editions for articles discussing sexual health, stress, healthy eating, how to quit smoking and other important health issues for students.

This collaboration will also allow for timely release of information regarding hot topics, possible pandemics like the H1N1 flu or whatever else may arise.

“The health service is excited about this venture and looks forward to working closely with the Kentucky Kernel,” said Kristen Goble, clinical administrator of University Health Service. “This is a great way to provide health information to students, particularly on topics that are important to them.”

For the first article, UHS has helpful tips for graduating seniors to help navigate life after UK.

You probably have a long list of things to do before you leave campus, but there are a few things that you may not have considered:

Are You Covered?

Up to this point, you may have had some type of health insurance. Some students may now find themselves without coverage.

If you have some “lag time” between graduation and when your new job starts, keep this in mind: most insurance companies will not allow you to stay on your parents’ plan as a dependent after you are no longer a full-time student.

Contact your carrier to see if you have the option to continue your coverage.

If you are enrolled in the Aetna Student Health insurance plan you may elect to utilize the “continuation plan” for up to 12 months.

For more information e-mail [email protected]

If you will be buying your own plan, compare more than just monthly premiums.  Before you purchase anything, be sure you understand their out-of-pocket costs, provider choices and covered services. Tools are available online to help you make a well-informed decision.

A guide to choosing a health insurance plan and glossary of insurance industry terms can be found through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Web site at www.ahrq.gov.

Do you have your meds?

Before you head out, remember to renew prescriptions or get refills because it may take some time to get settled with a new medical provider. Get copies of your medical records, so you won’t have to worry about getting them later.

Stay fit.

Develop a plan for exercise. You may be stuck behind a desk for eight hours a day instead of walking around campus.

Plus, without the convenience of the Johnson Student Recreation Center, it may be difficult to stay active. It will be important to find ways to exercise, like taking the stairs at work or scheduling workouts into your daily routine.

Eat right.

Hopefully, you have already developed good eating habits, but it’s not too late to start. Now is a good time to begin loading up on fruits, vegetables and whole grains, and limiting high fat items like pizza, wings and burgers.

If you rely on the campus dining facilities or fast food restaurants for your meals, now may be a good time to put on your chef’s hat and see what you can whip up in the kitchen.

Kick the habit.

The longer you smoke, the harder it gets to stop. If the UK smoking ban didn’t help you kick the habit, this is a great time to try as you transition into your new life. UHS has tools that can help you quit. Call 323-APPT to schedule an appointment with a tobacco cessation specialist.

Celebrate responsibly.

You’ve worked hard to earn your degree, but remember to celebrate smartly.

You can have fun with your friends celebrating the end of the school year, but make sure to do it safely and responsibly.

After graduation, you may not be able to walk home like you did in college. If you choose to drink alcohol, be sure to plan for a designated driver.

Don’t stress out.

Some people may find that they feel anxious or stressed about graduation. It may be overwhelming to think about life after UK and being in the real world.

This is normal and something that many graduating seniors experience. You may find it helpful to talk to friends who are also graduating. They may share similar feelings, and it may be easier to cope with your own anxieties or fears.

It may also be helpful to talk to someone in UHS Behavioral Health (323-5511) or the Counseling Center (257-8701).

The staff at the UHS wishes all graduating seniors the best of luck in their future endeavors!