2021 Best Gifts for College Students (Especially Those that “Have Everything”)

Happy Thanksgiving week! Ready to shop for your favorite college student, but no clue what to get? I’ve got you covered! Here’s my 2021 list of the gifts that I order and recommend to promote HEALTH and HAPPINESS in your college student. (Please note that I have no financial ties to anything other than The Ultimate College Student Health Handbook.) 

For Stress Reduction: 

  • Weighted Blanket– These can be pricey, but for anyone dealing with anxiety and/or insomnia, they are worth their WEIGHT in gold. What weight? 15-20 lbs. (Bigger adult, heavier blanket. 15 lbs is plenty if
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Fall Frenzy: How to Help Your Panicking College Student

BRACE YOURSELF, my fellow parents of college students, because with Halloween in the rearview mirror, we are now officially in what I often call the “FALL FRENZY” season. The realities of college are setting in- from suboptimal (sometimes shocking) midterm grades and academic scrambling to social extremes (either too many friends/parties or sitting alone in dorm rooms)- especially for freshmen and anyone new to campus life (which includes not only transfer students but also everyone who did off-campus pandemic learning last year.) As they struggle with classes or relationships, many students begin to question if they need to change their … Read more

Is TikTok Tanking Your Student’s GPA?

Is TikTok Tanking Your Student’s GPA?

Whether it’s TikTok, Instagram, Snapchat, or any other screen-based distraction, chances are that your student is unknowingly self-sabotaging their learning and retention. We know from studies like this one that multitasking during lectures decreases your ability to memorize and retain information. Similarly, we all know that texting and driving takes our attention off the road and causes more accidents, right? Despite KNOWING these things, however, deep down, most of us honestly think we can handle multitasking as we answer emails or texts during meetings or drive our cars. Let me say here that what’s Read more

How to Make the BEST College First Aid Kit

Sending your kid off to college is exciting, happy, sad and scary, all at the same time! We want them to have “the BEST years of their life” (no pressure, right?) and either do all the fun things we did or perhaps the things we missed out on. As parents, we don’t want to see them hurt- physically or emotionally, and obviously, we want to see them succeed. The truth is that they will stumble along the way, whether that’s a bad grade, a bike accident, the flu (or yes, COVID), mono, test anxiety or heartbreak. It’s not the stumbling … Read more

5 Summer “Must-Do’s” Before Starting College

CONGRATS to the Class of 2021! While my Pandemic-Powered Seniors post shares why this class may turn out to be the best prepared college freshmen yet, there’s still some “summer homework” I’d recommend before they fly the nest. NOW is the time for students to begin actively preparing for and engaging with their new school and community. Here are 5 ways grads can get ahead:

  1. HOMESICKNESS is real, and ironically, often worse in students who stay close to home. Kids who are close enough to go home for meals and laundry often miss out on the spontaneous hang-outs, meals and
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Pandemic POWERED: 5 Reasons The Class of 2021 Will Thrive in College

For better or for worse, the 2020/2021 school year is wrapping up. Would you believe our local high school graduation last week featured a failing sound system followed by total power loss, plunging the entire celebration into darkness? Seriously! BUT- everyone whipped out their cell phones and lit up the place like a concert, and the ceremony went on. Experiences like this beautifully reinforce what we believe to be a major silver lining to the pandemic: these graduating seniors may be the best prepared college freshmen yet! From the perspective of a college health expert and a high school teacher/coach, … Read more

Putting Together a Finals Care Package? Don’t Forget These 7 Items!

Pandemic or not, it’s FINALS time for high school and college students. I’ve seen many Pinterest-worthy care package suggestions, but from the perspective of a physician who treats college students, here* is just what the doctor ordered: (*Please note that I have NO financial ties with these products, but I’m including those I use and recommend professionally for your convenience.)

  • Eye Relief: Even without remote learning, this time of year brings sore, tired eyes from unending hours of computer use, with occasional corneal abrasions from falling asleep in contacts. Did you know we blink up to 66% less often when
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It’s 420…Blaze It or Not? One Doctor’s Biased Opinion

Yes, it’s April 20th, but “420” also means Pot, MaryJane, MJ, Weed, cannabis…whatever you choose to call marijuana. Legend has it that the nickname “420” originated in my birthplace, San Rafael, CA, from way back in the early 1970s, when a group of high school students used to meet at 4:20pm after classes to either smoke weed or search for it. Regardless, today is often celebrated in the cannabis-partaking world as Weed Day, so let’s talk about pot.

As a family physician who has also worked in urgent care on a large college campus, I recognize my bias … Read more

What’s Up with the J&J Vaccine? A Doctor’s Q&A

The J&J COVID vaccine’s possible link to blood clots is dominating the news, creating disproportionate fear and confusion. Let’s tackle the most pressing questions:

Q1. As a pro-vaccine advocate, are you mad at the CDC/FPA for pausing the J&J vaccination?

Absolutely not! The very fact that we are hitting “pause” on distributing this vaccine based on 6 cases (less than 1 in a million vaccine recipients) of a very rare problem should honestly be extremely reassuring to everyone concerned about vaccine safety. The very reason we HAVE vaccine adverse events reporting systems in place is to pick up ANY and … Read more

Top 10 Things You Might Not Know about the Moderna COVID Vaccine

This week, I had the privilege of “jabbing” several hundred grateful Austinites’ arms with the second dose of Moderna’s COVID vaccine at one of Austin Public Health’s vaccination PODs, which gave me the unique opportunity to get extensive direct feedback about people’s experience with their first shot. Note that the folks I immunized had to fall into categories 1A or 1B to qualify for their first vaccine a month ago, which means that they were either older than 65 (many in their 70s and 80s), any age front-line healthcare workers, or people ages 16-65 who also have at least one … Read more