College 911

The best way to deal with an emergency is to be prepared

Chances are, you’ll never actually encounter a serious emergency in college, but those are odds you don’t want to play. By taking a few basic precautionary measures, you can get ready for the just in case, or better yet, prevent one before it starts.


Knowing what’s available and how to find it is vital in preparing for and dealing with an emergency situation. Take time to scout out your campus’s health center and nearest hospital.

Before you move out, contact a local doctor, dentist, optometrist, and gynecologist (if applicable) and have a copy of your medical records forwarded to their office. Though your local health center will probably be able to take care of any minor ailments you may get, having a specialist who’s ready with your file can’t hurt.

Mind the Paperwork

Any health care professional will tell you that the worst part of medicine is the insurance. Get ready for your big move by making sure you’re covered. Throw all insurance cards into your suitcase and make a copy of policy and group numbers to leave with the parents.

If you don’t have insurance, contact your school’s health center for information on low-cost student coverage. and offer insurance for degree-seeking students at reduced rates.

Insurance is only the beginning of the paperwork mountain. Make two copies of any prescriptions, credit cards, and passports—one to carry with you and one to leave at home. Arrange with your doctor to send out-of-state prescriptions to a pharmacy close to campus in order to prevent confusion later. Create your own survival kit with everything from aspirin to spare contacts for your dorm. Knowing your resources and having the proper necessities on hand will keep you calm, cool, and collected even in the face of disaster.


This article was written by Christina Couch

Christina Couch is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Virginia, and Chicago, Illinois. She is the author of Virginia Colleges 101: The Ultimate Guide for Students of All Ages (Palari Publishing, 2008). Her byline can also be found on,, and, and in Wired Magazine.

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