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Frequently Asked Questions

What is wellness/well-being?

  • As defined by the Global Wellness Institute, wellness is the active pursuit of activities, choices, and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.
  • The holistic nature of health and wellness refers to the Eight Dimensions of Wellness framework we use to illustrate all the areas that make up a person’s overall well-being and the vast array of resources and support services available to foster your wellness.

I want to talk to someone about my well-being. Where can I go?

  • Begin by narrowing down what you want to focus on by exploring the Eight Dimensions of Wellness and the corresponding resources available to you. If you aren't sure, or truly want to explore all areas more broadly, contact Health Promotion and Wellness to set up an appointment for an individual wellness coaching session.

What is adequate/healthy sleep and how much do I need?

  • 7-9 hours is what most healthy adults needs to be adequately rested and avoid negative health outcomes associated with sleep deprivation. For additional information on sleep, visit the National Sleep Foundation.

How can I better manage my current financial needs and plan my future financials needs while in college?

I am concerned about my drinking. What can I do?

I am concerned about my friend’s substance use. What can I do?

  • If your concern is because of an emergency situation, call 911. If you are looking to for more information, visit the Alcohol and Other Drugs Resources website and review the warning signs and how to help sections.

Now that cannabis is legal in Illinois, can I use it while I’m at Northwestern?

  • Nobody can use or possess cannabis while on campus or at University sponsored events and activities. Answers to other common questions around cannabis use can be found on the Cannabis Policy FAQ page.

I don’t drink and struggle to find social opportunities that don’t involve alcohol or other substances. Where can I find like-minded friends?

  • It’s important to know that ~20% of college students don’t drink, and many more do not use alcohol as a primary social component, so you are far from alone. There are also numerous organized events that do not involve alcohol hosted through NU Nights.

Is vaping as harmful as smoking regular cigarettes?

  • While vaping is viewed as a less harmful form of ingesting substances like nicotine or THC, vaping products still come with their own list of harmful substances that get inhaled into the lungs. Vaping can also increase your likelihood to become addicted to nicotine and begin uses regular cigarettes. More information can be found at The Truth and Truth Initiative. We have also created a vaping awareness campaign to help educate our campus about the risks associated with vaping.

If I need help navigating health care or have questions about my medical bill, is there someone I can talk to about this?

  • For Northwestern students using the Health Service on the Evanston Campus, the Patient Advocacy Coordinator in Patient Support Services may be contacted at and provides the following services:
    • guidance on student financial support for medical expenses
    • determining eligibility for healthcare services available to students
    • coordinating referrals and pre-authorization for specialty medical care or medical diagnostic testing
    • scheduling an appointment with a specialist or for medical diagnostic testing
    • interpreting medical bills and Explanation of Benefits statement (EOB forms)
    • assistance with patient satisfaction with healthcare services

What types of fitness programs and equipment do students have access to?

  • NU Recreation offers a variety of group fitness programs as well as personal training, and has multiple facilities providing a variety of spaces and equipment to suit your fitness needs.

I used to play sports in high school. How do I get involved in athletics on campus?

How often should I go to the doctor?

  • This certainly depends on your personal healthcare needs and should always be discussed and planned with your doctor.
  • Generally, for those in good health seeking preventative care, here are some guidelines for common health check-ups:
  • Primary Care Doctor (for physical exams) should be scheduled every 1-3 years
  • Optometrist (eye doctor) every 1-2 years
  • Dentist every 6-12 months
  • Gynecologist every year