A Wellness Center Tale and Other Stories

Emma Simon

Staff Reporter

Along with college, there comes homework, studying, activities, clubs, and the winner: a whole bunch of sick kids in close proximity with one another! With everyone inevitably sharing germs, the Wellness Center in Smith House can be known as either a go-to spot on campus or a notorious one, depending on who is doing the talking.

The Health Center offers a variety of different services to McDaniel students, resulting in either their contentment or dismay. Upon being asked about their experiences with the Wellness Center, students’ answers are generally diverse in reference to their satisfaction with their visit.

When freshman Lauren Handel first arrived for orientation on move-in day, she had to cope with the normal anxieties that new students face: Adjusting to a new environment, trying not to pass out in the heat while lugging their lives into dormitories, meeting new people, and getting used to an unfamiliar place. Unlike most others, Lauren also had to handle something extra: becoming extremely ill and not knowing where to go or what to do.

“As it turned out, the Wellness Center was not an option at that point in time, so I had to call Campus Safety to take me to the hospital,” said Lauren. After the fact, she was pleased with how Campus Safety dealt with the situation, but remained disappointed that the Wellness Center was not open during such a crucial time for students.

Once she was finally in the swing of things, Lauren started feeling under the weather again and sought after help from the Wellness Center. “I called them and they told me that based on my symptoms, I probably had cervical cancer.” Terrified and shocked, she went in for an appointment to be told something completely different. “When I went in they told me it was just a problem with my birth control.” Needless to say, Lauren’s view of how her situations were handled is very much below par with the exception of Campus Safety’s help.

Another student who fell victim to a less than desirable circumstance with the Wellness Center is sophomore, Kristen Houpt. During her freshman year, she came down with a bad sinus infection.

“I went to the Wellness Center to get checked out and to hopefully get some medicine. I wasn’t sure if they’d be able to offer me anything since I’m allergic to most antibiotics,” said Houpt. “They gave me an antibiotic that I had never had before and a few days later, I began breaking out in hives. When I went back to get the hives looked at, they told me that they probably shouldn’t have given that medicine to me in the first place because they had a feeling I’d have a reaction to it. They gave me some Benadryl and when I woke up the next day, the hives were worse, my lips were swelling, and my throat was closing up. Campus safety had to rush me to Carroll County Hospital and from there, they gave me better medicine and treated me for the reaction.”

The Wellness Center’s image has remained scarred in Kristen’s eyes since her experience there last year. Can you blame her?

Others have had pleasant experiences at the Wellness Center, like Kara Owens, Sophomore. “I went in because I was sleeping for days and couldn’t get up. They tested me for strep and mono, and I tested positive for mono so they sent me home. I’d say it was handled efficiently.”

Senior Jordan Hawthorne has had to make his way over to the Wellness Center quite a few times in the past four years. “For the most part I would say my visits there were good experiences,” said Hawthorne. “Even though they say they no longer take walk-ins, in certain circumstances that called for it I was able to get in. The only downside that Hawthorne mentioned was that “the hours need to be extended for sure.”

Junior Jason O’Neil has had generally good experiences as well. “Well I like that they are cheap,” said O’Neil. “The charge was minimal for the steroids they gave me when I had poison ivy so that was good.”

Personally, I have had both positive and negative experiences with the Wellness Center. I have been treated quickly and efficiently for basic illnesses such as colds, and I have also been asked the notorious question that our female students are more-than-often asked upon entering the back rooms: “Are you pregnant?” (The answer was no, especially since I went in for reasons that show no correlation with pregnancy.)

Based on the various opinions and recollections of the students, I’ll let you be the judge!

Either way, here are some affordable (and some free) options in the area: