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Katie Naymon

More by Katie Naymon

The Dangers of Painkillers: Are You Taking Them Safely?

4/17/2014

There’s a pill for everything these days: menstrual cramps, allergies, cold and flu symptoms—and we’re popping them like candy. But when it comes to something as broad as pain, there are so many options out there that it’s hard to know which to choose. Painkillers can help relieve everything from a muscle sprain to cramps to post-wisdom teeth pain. But there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of painkiller; they’re not all created equal! It’s important to make sure that you know what you’re taking because when taken improperly, painkillers can be harmful to your body and cause uncomfortable or damaging side effects.

We talked to collegiettes and Kathy Hahn, an Oregon-based community pharmacist who specializes in pain about the ins and outs of painkillers.

Which painkiller should I take?

You’re probably popping the same pill for an injury, a headache and a stomachache—but there might be a better drug for you. According to Hahn, there’s no perfect pattern of which drugs work best for what kind of pain—it’s usually very subjective. Use the following list as a starting point but if something works better for you, by all means stick to it. Also, for many types of pain, a traditional over-the-counter pain med (a drug you can buy without a prescription) might not be enough. If the drugs below haven’t helped you manage your pain, talk to your doctor instead of experimenting. She can prescribe something stronger if you need it.

Once you determine which painkiller from this list suits your specific need, see the next section to find out how much you should take!

To Cheat or Not to Cheat: How to Resist the Temptation

4/13/2014

We’ve all been there: it’s 2am, and you have a ten-page paper due in 12 hours. Your cursor blinks on the blank Word document, mocking you as you scramble through notes looking for something to write. Hours pass, and finally you open your Internet browser. With SparkNotes, Wikipedia and the entire web at your disposal, it’s incredibly difficult in these situations to resist copying and pasting material. It can sometimes be even more difficult to say no to a friend who wants to copy your math problem set. Cheating happens in college—no doubt about it. But read on for tips on how to resist the temptation to cheat and how to say no to friends who might pressure you into it.

What is cheating and why does it happen?

When you take someone else’s thoughts and ideas without crediting them to that person, you’re cheating. According to Dr. Rebecca Gladding, psychiatrist and author of You Are Not Your Brain, cheating tempts college students for two reasons. “Someone cheats usually because either they really hate the course and they just don’t care [or] they are completely stressed out and they want to do well and they’re afraid they’re not going to do well and there [are] a lot of outside pressures.”  Gladding notes that usually in college, students cheat because of the latter: too much stress and too much pressure to succeed. For Lisa*, a student at Northwestern University, cheating was a tempting option because of stress. “I remember being tempted to do it a few times, especially during my first year when I felt like there was this immense pressure to do well,” she says.

What are the consequences of cheating?

Questioning Your Sexuality in College: How to Deal

4/5/2014

College is a great time to explore who you are from your career interests to your personal identity, including what you want in a relationship. But not everyone comes into college knowing exactly what they’re looking for, especially when it comes to sexual orientation. Gay, bisexual, straight, asexual—you name it: there’s an entire spectrum of sexual orientations out there and it can be frustrating to sort out if you’re questioning. We talked to students and Rosemary Nicolosi, staff counselor and coordinator of services for LGBT students at the Johns Hopkins University Counseling Center for advice on opening up about your sexuality.

What does “questioning my sexuality” even mean?

Just ask any gender studies major: sexual orientation is a tricky thing. It’s a term used to talk about whom you’re sexually attracted to (or not attracted to). Females who primarily like males are heterosexual (straight) and females who primarily like other females are homosexual (gay/lesbian). But there’s also a lot in between!

Sexual identities

7 Scientifically Proven Ways to Get Better Grades

3/11/2014

Whether you’re a pre-collegiette poring over SAT prep books or an upperclassman getting ready to take the GRE, tests can be stressful. But they don’t have to be! From food to music to learning styles, there are multitudes of proven ways to do better on every test you take, from midterms to MCATs. 

1. Chew gum

You’ve probably heard it before, but it’s no urban legend. Baylor College of Medicine did a study in 2009 where students chewed gum during a standardized math test. The gum chewers scored better than the non-chewing control group. Chewing gum improves cognitive performance in adults because it stimulates the brain by increasing blood flow, according to the researchers. The best part? You probably already have a pack at the bottom of your purse. If you’re allowed to have gum during your test, start chewing to raise that score! Chewing pre-test may also help. 

2. Play some background music...

6 Foods That Get Rid Of Bloating (& 5 Foods That Cause It!)

3/10/2014

Bloating: we’ve all experienced it, and it’s never pleasant. Bloating makes our jeans feel a little bit tighter, puffs up our stomachs and can sometimes even give us gas and an uncomfortable feeling of pressure. Bloating is temporary—but you can help your body out by nibbling on certain bloat-busting foods, as well as avoiding a few that cause bloating to begin with. We talked to Diane Blahut, a clinical dietician at Johns Hopkins Nutrition Clinic in Baltimore, for tips on how to beat the bloat!

Why does bloating happen?

“Bloating is caused by excess air (gas) in the intestines,” Blahut says. It can happen for several reasons: food allergies and intolerances, irritable bowel syndrome, constipation and pre-menstrual syndrome—but more often than not, eating certain foods that either produce gas or cause your body to retain water is the culprit. The way that you eat a food can also make you bloat, too—like eating too quickly or drinking from a straw. “Air can get into your digestive system by being swallowed.  To minimize the amount of air you swallow, eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly,” Blahut says.

Bloating is rarely serious, but as it is sometimes associated with certain digestive disorders and allergies, Blahut recommends seeing a doctor if you have frequent, uncomfortable bloating. “If you suspect lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance or celiac disease, or if you have other symptoms such as diarrhea or abdominal pain with eating, see your doctor,” she says.

What foods cause bloating?

5 Serious Conditions That Bad Cramps Could Be A Sign Of

2/27/2014

By the time we’re in college, we all know the drill: we PMS, we get our period, most of us have mild to moderate cramping for a few days, the period ends. Repeat every month. For some girls, though, this pattern might suddenly change—and turn into a much more painful experience. A period accompanied by abnormally severe cramps might indicate something else is at play. Her Campus talked to Dr. Alain Joffe, medical director of the Johns Hopkins University Student Health and Wellness Center about what conditions appear to be just bad cramps, but are actually something else entirely. Read on to decipher if your cramps are normal or worthy of medical attention.

According to Dr. Joffe, normal menstrual cramps are cramps that last for a few days and respond well to painkillers, birth control or other self-care like heating pads. If you’ve suddenly got cramps that won’t go away, you need to seek out a doctor. Read on for the medical conditions that can make cramps worse for collegiettes.

1. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

Am I Ready For Sex?: 7 Things To Think About

2/18/2014

Whether you’re a virgin or are contemplating having sex with a new partner, first times can be nerve-wracking. There are many factors to consider, both emotional and physical. We talked to Heather Corinna, founder and executive director of Scarleteen, an independent, grassroots sexuality education and support organization and website. Corinna is a sexuality, contraception and abortion educator and counselor as well as a writer and activist. Read on for her and collegiettes’ advice on how to know when you’re ready for sex.

When is the right time to have sex in a relationship?

Some girls wait until marriage, some wait a few months and some just a few dates. There’s no recommended timeline—the right time to have sex is when you and your partner feel ready. Eva, a Collegiette at Colby College, decided to lose her virginity a month into hooking up with the girl she liked. She says you know it’s a good time to have sex “once you stop thinking about it and don't doubt the person and trust they're on the same page,” she says. “I had a first time that was genuinely lovely. We fell hard and fast.” For others, it takes a bit longer to get comfortable. Veronica, a Collegiette at Johns Hopkins University, has dated her boyfriend for four months but has decided to wait to have sex. “I want to make sure I’m in love. I don’t want to have any doubts about it. You hear about a lot of people who do it and then regret it,” she says.

10 Valentine’s Day Cookie Recipes

2/12/2014

Looking for a decadent dessert for your Valentine? Check out these ten delicious Valentine’s Day-themed cookie recipes that are sure to be sinful, rich and mouthwatering! Read on for our top V-Day cookie picks—from gluten-free and vegan options to adorable heart-shaped cookies and cookie dough truffles, even the pickiest eater is sure to find a delicious option.

Chocolate hazelnut smooches

What you need

Guys’ Take On: Valentine’s Day

2/8/2014

Whether you’re in a relationship with a new guy or have been together for months, Valentine’s Day can be a fun way to show your love and appreciation for your significant other. But before you plan the elaborate V-Day gift and dinner, check out what these guys had to say about Valentine’s Day! Here’s a hint: they’re (almost) as sappy as we are!

On Valentine’s Day as a legitimate holiday

Valentine’s Day is a commercial holiday—no doubt about it. But turns out guys aren’t as cynical as you’d expect. Some actually sort of like it!

“I think that it’s just another way for greeting card companies to benefit from couples spending money on gifts on each other. However, it’s kind of cool to have a special day for couples to celebrate (as long as they don’t overdo it with all the manufactured Valentine’s Day stuff.) – Ryan, a sophomore at University of Washington

“Why not have a day to celebrate love? I think the people who decry the commercial overtones are just miserable, even if they make good points. Let someone have a day to be extra happy.” – Luca, a sophomore at SUNY Geneseo

But then there are the cynics… So, collegiettes, when it comes to V-Day, guys are as across the board as we are.

“I’ve never really celebrated it so when that day comes, I don’t really care. So I guess to me, it’s not a holiday. Just like any other day.” – Morris, a sophomore at Johns Hopkins University

“No, I think Valentine’s Day is a made-up holiday by the chocolate/flower industries and restaurant owners to sell their products.” – Daniel, a senior at Columbia University

Hypochondria: Do You Have It?

1/15/2014

Imagine the following scenario: you notice a small, ingrown hair on your leg and pop it. A day later, the pore where the ingrown hair was looks a little puffy. You notice a slight itch, too. You search the Internet for your symptoms, and in 10 seconds you’re sure you have a staph infection. You play it out in your head: maybe it will turn into a really serious staph infection. Maybe it’s the drug-resistant kind.

Or what about this: you have a slight stomachache that has persisted for a few days. It’s not too painful, but you definitely notice it. A few clicks on WebMD and suddenly you’re positive you have pancreatitis. Or toxic shock syndrome. Or stomach cancer. You start taking your temperature hourly, monitoring what you eat and telling everyone who will listen that you might have something serious and you need to see a doctor right away.

Sound familiar? You might have hypochondriasis, a mental disorder in which a person experiences excessive worry or fear about his or her health. But luckily, there are ways to calm down about your health! We talked to clinical psychologist and Psychology Today blogger Dr. Joni Johnston for the lowdown on health anxiety.

What is it?

Hypochondriasis (often referred to as hypochondria, health phobia or health anxiety) is a mental disorder. “Hypochondriasis is essentially the preoccupation with fears of having or the idea that one has a serious disease based on the person’s misinterpretation of bodily symptoms,” Dr. Johnston says.