cold vs flu: a special post from Primary Care

Flu and cold are on the rise in New York and in our community, so we’ve invited Dr. Marjorie Seidenfeld, the Primary Care Health Service’s medical director, to share some info about cold and flu, and how to tell the difference:

Is this a cold or should I be worried about flu?

In winter, viruses flourish, especially those that cause both the common cold and the flu (Influenza virus). We often intermix the terms, but it actually is important to distinguish between the two, because the severity, the treatment options, and the potential complications are actually quite different.

Here are the basics on the common cold: Continue Reading


DIY Body Care



Happy lunar new year!!

About a year ago, I began changing my daily body care routine. There were several reasons – minimize the amount of unknown ingredients I use on my body, it’s good for the environment, – but mostly, I love DIYs and it’s been a surprisingly smooth sailing process!

Here is a link to one of the things I replaced in my cosmetic bag – homemade deodorant! On this site also is a link to instructions on how to replace shampoo with baking soda (I’ve started doing this and it’s been really great – except my hair gets really static-y? I am still tweaking my routine).

Angry Chicken Homemade Deodorant Recipe

Health After Graduation

Fellow soon-to-be-graduates, it’s really happening. We will soon be leaving Barnard and entering the weird, wild world of figuring out healthcare as graduates. To calm my own self down and try to spread some knowledge, I recently met with Barnard’s Executive Director for Student Health and Wellness, MJ Murphy.

She outlined four basic areas to be aware of for this transition:

  1. Health insurance
  2. Medical records
  3. Medications
  4. Following up on existing conditions

That sounds like a lot, but deep breaths! Let’s take it step by step (and not worry about dealing with these all in one day or figuring it all out right away, as my perfectionist streak would like).

Continue Reading

Why Therapy isn’t So Scary…as explained through 30 Rock gifs

A few weeks ago I was at a panel on mental health and one of the student panelists had a great line: “At college you get assigned an RA, an academic adviser, and even a personal librarian.  What they really should assign you is a therapist.”

My personal librarian was assigned to me, and I knew that she would be glad to help, and that everyone else in the class had either seen her or wished they had the time.  I never thought like I would be a burden for asking for help when it became too hard to find information, and I certainly didn’t think it made me any less of a student.  Yet when it comes to going to a therapist, there’s a lot more hesitation.   People have less of an idea of what it means to go to a therapist than they do to go to a librarian.  So to clear up some common misconceptions, I present “Why Therapy isn’t so scary… as explained through 30 Rock gifs.”

When you think of someone who goes to therapy, most people think of someone like this:


You don’t need to be “crazy” to go to therapy, and going to therapy doesn’t make you crazy.  Therapy is a place to explore your past, to figure out how to solve things differently, or to have an objective observer listen to your day.  Everyone could use a pair of trained ears, and you don’t need to have a problem to benefit from therapy.

Some people like to take pride in their struggles.


But going to therapy isn’t going to negate that.  Instead it can help you learn how to turn your experiences into the person you want to be.

Does this mean I’m suddenly going to have to confront all my deepest, darkest fears?


Maybe.  But what’s super cool about therapy is that YOU get to control what happens in it.  Want to go deep and unpack your childhood trauma from when the teacher ran out of horse stickers right when they got to you- go for it.  But you can also use the space to decompress about what is going on in your life and the best strategies for handling right now.

But doesn’t going to therapy mean I’m not the superstar everyone thinks I am?


Nope.  Going to therapy doesn’t mean you can’t still be a role model.  It doesn’t mean you can’t still be there for friends, or that you can’t talk to your friends about your personal problems.  And it doesn’t mean you need to become a therapy advocate.  It just means that you are choosing to take some to take care of yourself in a particular way.

How can I be the super-awesome, taking 10 classes and involved in 16 different clubs  and go to therapy?

That’s why the resources we have at Barnard are so wonderful!  We have so many different options, that one should fit into your schedule.  Check out the bottom on the post for the entire schedule!

I still don’t think therapy is for me.

And that’s ok!  A lot of people can benefit from seeing a therapist, and it may be right for you at a different time in your life or not at all.  You also don’t have to stick with the first therapist you see.  Just like we don’t instantly click with everyone in a class, you might not like the style of the first therapist you get assigned.  Don’t be afraid to speak up if it’s not working, or even to request one that specializes in specific issues/identities.

Regardless of how you feel about therapy and if it is right for you, remember to make self-care a priority during the semester.  Everyone’s self-care is different, and don’t force yourself to do something because that’s the “only” way to relax or care for yourself.  Do what makes YOU feel happy and healthy.

Furman Counseling Center Hours: 

Mon – Fri: 9am – 5pm

Phone: (212) 854-2092

Location: 100 Hewitt Hall, First floor

Pre-scheduled evening appointments: 

Mon-Thurs: 5pm – 7pm

After-hours Psychological Help LIne

(877) 941-1695

Listening Hours: (Walk-in sessions available in the evenings)

Plimpton Hall: Mondays, 7-9:30 pm

Elliot Hall: Thursdays, 7-9:30 pm

Fit and Feminist

Trigger Warning: Body image issues, eating disorders                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           I love to move my body.  Like many people, I’ve often struggled feeling comfortable with my body, and it brings me happiness when I’m able to find a point where I am able to embrace the strengths that my body has and not focus so much on how little it resembles the bodies of women in the media.  I love to practice yoga and work out because it makes me feel strong and happy, not because it makes me look conventionally beautiful.

This is why I feel so uncomfortable when I come across those “thinspiration” photos on the internet. It’s an extreme version of the “No pain, no gain” that many gyms seem to thrive on.  As someone who has struggled a lot with body image issues, it scares me how they glorify starving your body and conforming to a societal idea.

Yet I also feel alienated by a lot of rebuttals to “thinspiration” like the nutella memes:

Memes like this just make being skinny and enjoying food seem mutually exclusive, which isn’t the case at all.  Shaming people because their bodies are conventionally beautiful is still problematic.

And while I appreciate posts like these:

415aba82b9d499115e634a0de688240eWhile I’m happy that Kat Dennings is proud of her body, anorexia isn’t something you “try” out for an afternoon.  It is a very real mental health issue that has as much to do with control as it does with food.  Framing any mental health issue as a choice only contributes to stigmatizing treatment.  Anorexia isn’t a diet plan.  It’s a controlling force that slowly controls your whole life.

Which is all to say I was so happy when I found Fit and Feminist.  I finally found a site that approached fitness as way to be healthy, and didn’t shame anyone.  It wasn’t about pushing yourself, it was about enjoying yourself.  They even have a whole series of memes that address those thinspiration photos like this:


Do you also often have trouble finding fitness places that are body positive?  How do you deal with it?

Second Monday Message Challenge: Get a flu shot!

This week, our Monday Message was all about getting a flu shot. Getting a flu shot is an important thing to do for your health and the health of others around this time of year, and it’s especially important in college communities, where people typically live close together. I got my shot at Primary Care’s first Flu Shot Fair of the semester, but if you missed it and don’t want to wait until the next one, Primary Care at Barnard gives flu shots any time by appointment, or on a walk-in basis from 9am to 11:30am Monday through Thursday, and 9am to 4pm on Fridays. Barnard students can reach Primary Care at (212-854-2091) for more information, or to make an appointment!


Me after my flu shot – feeling fine, and I got an awesome sticker!

Third Root Community Health Center

I just heard about Third Root Community Health Center in Brooklyn from one of the recently graduated Peer Eds and figured readers here might be interested. Check out this cooperatively owned center’s inspiring intention:

At Third Root Community Health Center, social justice is at the core of healing. Among our goals are to challenge systematic health disparities, hierarchies within different modalities of healthcare, and to provide a different model of care that grows out of love. We work to provide holistic healthcare for everyone, in acknowledgement of the living realities and histories of the many communities that our clients and students come from.