Getting Ready For College or Work
Preparing for life after high school
Graduating from high school is an exciting time. For some, this may mean transitioning to a full time job. For others, it involves heading off to college. Either way, it means leaving your teenage years behind and becoming an independent adult.
Whatever this next stage in life brings, you’ll soon be on your own, determining what you want and making your own decisions. This also includes decisions that affect your health, which is where we come in. Here at Westchester Health Pediatrics, we’d like to offer some suggestions for staying healthy, no matter what lies ahead for you:
- Make sure to get your rest (8 to 9 hours of sleep a night whenever you can). Too little sleep can contribute to a number of health problems, such as colds, the flu, stress, depression, anxiety and loss of concentration (which can negatively affect your work or school/exams).
- Eat well. Fast food may be quick and cheap when you’re busy and on a budget, but eating well is important. Try to eat fruits and vegetables every day, as well as foods high in protein and calcium. Limit junk food or foods with a lot of fat, sugar and salt. Limit sugary drinks such as soda and certain sport drinks.
- Exercise. An important part of staying healthy is getting enough exercise. Take time each day, or at least several times a week, to fit exercise into your schedule.
- Avoid drugs and alcohol. Alcohol and drug abuse is a leading cause of teen death or injury. It also increases the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), including HIV/AIDS, due to unprotected sex. Plus, when you abuse alcohol and drugs as a teen, you’re much more likely to have future alcohol and drug problems. Please read more on our “Alcohol and Drug Abuse” webpage.
- Sexual health, safe sex, birth control and date rape. Before you start having sex, or even if you’re already sexually active, there are some things you need to know and precautions you need to take that can have a big effect on your health and your life. Please read more on our “Sexual Health” webpage.
- Talk with us about when to start seeing an adult doctor. Many young adults see their pediatricians until they turn 21, while others choose to switch to an adult health provider much earlier. We’re ready to offer advice and guidance, whichever path you choose.
- If you will no longer be living at home, know where you will go if you are having a health problem. What hospitals or clinics are close by? Where should go in an emergency? Know directions and distances ahead of time.
- Talk with your parents about your family’s health insurance. Be sure you have your own card from their health plan, or what you need to do to get your own insurance.
Healthcare at college
- Make sure you are up-to-date on the recommended vaccines, including those for meningococcal disease, HPV, pertussis and flu. Even if you’ve had these shots before, you may need another dose or a booster shot.
- Talk with us at us about coordinating your health care with your college. Many young adults continue to see their pediatrician until they turn 21. When the time comes for you to transition to an adult health provider, we can help.
- If you have a medical condition or health issue: When going to a new doctor or clinic, such as the campus health center, you’ll need to provide information about your condition and how you treat it.
- If you are taking medication to treat a physical or mental health condition: Know the name of the medication, how is it taken, any side effects, and if you cannot have certain foods or drinks while taking the medication. Also know how and where you will go to refill prescriptions.
- If you are going to live on campus, check to see if your school has a student health service where you can go for medical care, advice, information and counseling. The health professionals in student health services usually know other physicians in the area in case you need additional medical care.
Don’t forget about us!
Even after you go off to work or college, we still care about your health. Please contact us any time you have questions or concerns, want information, or just want to talk. If you live nearby, you can continue to be treated by at Westchester Health Pediatrics. You may even want to see us for a physical before you start work or a new job (these might actually require it).