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I know there are plenty of questions that you have when you start a fresh year at school, one of which being “What can college do for you besides give you a degree?” I’ve learned a lot in my first few days here at Western, and there are a few services that I think everybody should know about. That’s right, upper years, listen up!

Health Services:

A doctor once told me that there are only two reasons for health services at a post-secondary institution: sexually transmitted infections or emotional stress. He makes a good point, though health services definitely offers more than that. You might even be insured under a student benefits plan in order to subsidize costs. Health services usually include medical care and treatment, STI testing, and information on birth control. Usually, counseling is also available for issues such as anxiety, depression, eating disorders, and relationships. It is important to note though, that these health services are not for emergencies. In the event of an emergency, you need to contact your local police and rescue authorities. I encourage you to visit your university or college website and see what is available for you; you’ll be surprised by what you find!

Career Services:

Believe it or not, post-secondary institutions are very serious about getting you hired after your schooling. In fact, I often refer to these institutions as “businesses” and not “schools” because they are selling you a very expensive education. If only for selfish reasons, your university or college cares about your future because of this: when more students get hired out of a particular university or college, more students will want to attend that school. The institution will then have more competitive admissions standards, and will be able to earn more money from incoming students in future years, both by charging higher prices and accepting more students. The competition only becomes fiercer. Once there is more competition, students will be more and more overachieving, and are therefore more likely to get hired than students attending other schools. This is the cycle of a successful university or college. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I want to convince you that there are people who want to help you succeed in life. Reach out; every institution that I know of has some type of career counseling that is offered to their students, as well as a job search website. It’s the main reason that you decided to get your post-secondary education, and it is important that you always keep your goals in mind.

Safety:

Nobody wants a bad reputation. While you’re poking around your school’s website for health- or career-related reasons, see what safety services exist. My school even has a “Foot Patrol” – people who walk you to and from your residence when it’s dark at night. A lot of schools have on-campus police officers with the same rights and privileges as a city officer, as well as nearby fire services. There are also plenty of safety initiatives, usually in the form of presentations or information booths, in order to inform students of the safety measures that have been put in place. Keep yourself up to date with what your school is doing to keep you safe, and you’ll be able to take full advantage of these services.

My school has a slogan in residence that I would like to pass on to all of you. If you haven’t read my post thus far, just remember these three simple things.

Take care of yourself.
Take care of each other.
Take care of this place.

Do you know what college can do for you? Which services are you going to look for? Leave your replies and comments in the section below!

Photo courtesy of Eleaf via Flickr (CC BY 2.0).