You've made it to one of the top universities in the world, full of ambitious plans for future success. Nothing can stop you now! Well, that's what you thought until that nagging cough came along—and no matter what Nietzsche says, it just isn't making you stronger. Have no fear, concerned student, because along with a great education, your tuition also gives you access to great physical and mental health services.
Instead of letting that cough beat you, head off to the Student Care Center (SCC), your one-stop destination for basic health needs. Whether it's getting checked for strep, having a prescription written, or being tested for STDs, the SCC has got you covered. Beyond the basics, students can also pay a visit to the sports physician for a fitness-related injury, make an appointment for women's health issues, get some advice from the registered dietician, or even attend counseling for stress management. Don't worry about how to pay for all this, because thanks to the mandatory Student Health and Wellness Fee, you already have. Remember, though, that this fee doesn't count as insurance, and your own plan will foot the bill for more extensive lab work, medication costs, and emergency room visits.
As with all things, there's a catch, though with the SCC it's more like two catches. Because the facility is appointment-based (scc.uchicago.edu, (773) 702-4156), expect to wait at least a day or two to actually see someone, though it's not uncommon to suffer a few days longer before they can squeeze you in for a visit. Those with jobs may find it even more difficult to get an appointment, as the SCC is only open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.
Once your time arrives, navigating the labyrinth that is the U of C Hospitals is a daunting challenge even Theseus might abandon. After entering the medical suite at East 59th Street and South Drexel Avenue (the Goldblatt Pavilion entrance), whip out your compass and orienteering equipment and follow the myriad signs. A suggestion passed down through the years is to bring an experienced SCC-er with you on your first and even second visit. I still get hopelessly lost every time I try to leave.
The complement to the SCC for mental health resources is the Student Counseling and Resource Center (SCRC). Located at 5737 South University Avenue, the SCRC is right on campus and housed in an inviting ivy-covered building. (Some counselors say it's between heaven and hell — the Chicago Theological Seminary and the Alpha Delt frat house, respectively) The service is available for both individuals and couples, and after the intake visit, counselors decide on the appropriate next step, such as individual therapy, participation in a support group, or outside referral. Visits are completely confidential, and since counseling falls under the Wellness Fee, there is no need to worry about a huge therapy bill. Realize, though, that the center operates as a short-term therapy resource, and students will be referred to an outside therapist if long-term treatment is required.
Much like the SCC, visits to the SCRC require an appointment (counseling.uchicago.edu, (773) 702-9800), and, much like the SCC, you can expect to wait a few days after calling for an intake consultation. Students who are having a crisis should speak with the therapist on-call, either by contacting the SCRC during business hours (8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday), or calling
(773) 702-3625 when the center is closed.
College may be a fun and challenging journey, but it causes a lot of wear and tear along the way. Instead of ignoring your problems, though, take advantage of the many health services offered here at the U of C—especially because, in most cases, you've already paid for them.