One important part of life, not just uni life is keeping healthy.

Growing up I always went to the doctors that my parents went to, which did change over the years and I had always been registered on my parent’s health insurance and could always get money back on some of my appointments from Medicare. When I went to uni, I was put on a Youth Allowance budget, which meant I had to find alternatives to paying $50 per visit.

The first time I had to go to the doctor at uni was a few weeks into my first year. I had a persistent cough and I ended up going to the campus doctor as it was convenient and didn’t know any doctors in Wollongong. The doctor gave me a powder to breathe in to get rid of the cough and the appointment was bulk billed to Medicare.  I can’t remember the next time I had to go to the doctor after that, however I wasn’t too pleased with having to breathe in powder over taking antibiotics for a cough. My friends constantly talked about a free clinic and told me where it was.

The free clinic is in the Wollongong CBD, all appointments are bulk billed to Medicare and there are usually about 10 to 12 doctors working there on weekdays and about four or five on weekends. The only downside is that people who are like me who live on youth allowance or other pensions or don’t have private health insurance go to free clinics, which means that there is usually a long wait to see a doctor. However I’ve found a way around this by figuring out which doctors are working everyday and picking the best one. When you want to see a specific doctor and they are working that day, they will put your file in the doctor’s pile, which can cut your waiting time in half.

If you are on youth allowance or a similar pension, Centrelink should provide you with a health care card. This is particularly useful for when you need to fill prescriptions. You give your script and health care card to the pharmacy staff and the card cuts your costs in half. 

Throughout my years of uni I have had a few sinus and throat infections, tonsillitis, two colonoscopies, an endoscopy and a foot operation. Luckily with the colonoscopies and endoscopy, my mum was happy to come up, take me to the hospital and look after me. With my foot operation, I was home for the summer, which made everything a lot easier. If you need major procedures or operations its best to have a parent or sibling look after you. You can have your boyfriend or girlfriend look after you if you want, however if you have any procedure, operation or injuries and illnesses that are life threatening, it’s better to have immediate family as some hospitals won’t give out information to those who aren’t related.

To keep yourself healthy throughout the session, I recommend taking multi-vitamins. Ideally you should be able to get all your nutrients through your food, but a boost doesn’t hurt, especially during exam time. I also recommend taking fish oil as it’s good for the brain and the heart and getting heaps of sleep.

Remember your health is your most important asset, keep it up.


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