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4 Things You Really Need to Know in College

October 20, 2016

Matthew Vasey MD


Department of Emergency Medicine, Tampa General Hospital | Teamhealth, an affiliate of University of South Florida

Disclosure: Opinions reflect neither employer nor affiliated institutions, soley those of the author.



As an Emergency Physician, my work consists of providing care for those having one of, if not the worst day of their life. I try regularly to offer my best advice for the demographic soon to, or having embarked on the college years. In my opinion, these are the only four things you really need to know in college.

NYJSM Rule #1 - Do not die.
While this seems simple enough, time and time again the rule is repeatedly broken among the college cohort. In only the rare instances of mental health extremis does a college student wake up and think today is the day I am going to die. If this applies to you, call 1 800 273 8255 the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline right now. Avoid unintentionally dying and your family will be very thankful even if they don't say so.

NYJSM Rule #2 - Do not contract Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV), the precursor to Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS)
Drug company research has developed incredible medications that can now easily allow you live long enough to safely die from the usual sequelae of heart, lung and brain disease, various cancers or other regular death mechanisms. Having delivered this news, I recommend you try to avoid being on the receiving end of this conversation. If you have HIV don't fret, call 1 800 CDC INFO (1 800 232 4636) for guidance. Your future can be bright.

NYJSM Rule #3 - Do not find out you, your partner or someone else's partner has unintentionally become pregnant
Nothing so seemingly celebratory can become so perversely un-celebratory in the immediate term. Certainly over the long term, nothing could potentially become more rewarding. Unless you enjoy navigating the turbulent re-rerouting of life trajectory, simple abstinence or responsible contraception lends more than satisfactory autonomy on the matter of staying the course. If you are pregnant now, make the next available appointment with you local OBGYN doctor. If the logisticial headwinds of our healthcare system are too strong, go to your nearest Emergency Room for referral information.

NYJSM Rule #4 - Do not get convicted of a felony
No one expects perfect behavior whatever that may be. "Ignorantia legis neminem excusat" otherwise "ignorance of law excuses no one" . Familiarize yourself with the legal boundaries of your most likely vice so you can avoid crossing them. Rehabilitation upon incarceration in the very least consumes time. Life is too short to spend behind bars. If you have been arrested, obtain a lawyer to navigate the legal system to your best advantage.

Behavior one degree of separation from any of the above must be internally questioned and optimally re-directed. Yes these rules can apply to anyone. I have however found it even more difficult to convince those senior to change their behavior toward healthier lifestyle choices. Please consider forwarding the only four things a college student really needs to know. Further rules can be uniquely adopted.





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