All through undergrad, I may have visited the University Health Center once or twice, but only when I was really sick – I really had no idea of the quality of services that were available. This lack of familiarity with my old university’s health center translated into similar feelings of unfamiliarity with the Center for Student Health and Counseling (SHAC) at PSU. Every so often in receiving my bills for tuition I’d notice a fee for student health services, and each time I would bitterly lament the seemingly useless allocation of funds that I had no say in it’s dispersal – every student must pay these basic health center costs, and in return has access to the services they provide. Initially, during the application to the MIM program, I was faced with less than pleasant interactions with SHAC, as for some reason I (and other students) had some issues with a measles, mumps and rubella (MMR) form. While trying to sort out this mishap over the phone caused a few headaches before starting the program, once I got to campus, I found the staff incredibly helpful and pleasant to deal with.
A couple weeks ago, I started feeling under the weather. Nothing too serious, I thought, just the result of too little sleep over the term, so my body just needed to catch up. Two days into feeling ill, a friend in the program finally insisted that I go to the health center to see what I had. I figured that at 1 pm on a Friday, I would be deferred to an appointment the following week, and generally be left disappointed with the services, or lack of services made available. So, I stopped in the center, filled out an appointment request slip and took a seat at the receptionist desk. Much to my surprise, the receptionist took one look at my symptoms and had me scheduled for a 3 pm appointment… that day! I came back a couple hours later for my appointment, and unfortunately, I had a viral infection, so there was really nothing that they could do for me, but Sue (my nurse) still did all she could to make me comfortable (gave me some medicine and let me take an hour nap on one of the unoccupied sick-beds).
Overall, I was incredibly pleased with the quality of service and attention that I received at PSU’s SHAC. And, since I have to pay for it anyway, I plan on using their services much more frequently, and with less hesitation. Some of the other services that are offered at SHAC are: dental services, health services (including programs like smoking cessation), and counseling services. So, for all you new MIMers just getting ready to start pre-MIM, be aware: SHAC is definitely worth the relatively small tuition costs you have to pay, so long as you use it!
SHAC can be contacted at: 1880 SW 6th Ave. (at the corner of Hall Street). Phone: 503-725-2800.