So why did he come to me? I mentioned in my first post that I’m a Health Advocate (Health Ad) for Dabney House. Each of the undergraduate houses has a few Health Ads. We get 90+ hours of training in First Aid, Emergency Response, Bloodborne Pathogens, Peer Counseling, etc. and we get a big bag of medicines and bandages that we can replenish from the Health Center supplies.
Health Ads are on the job year-round, but it becomes most interesting just before (and sometimes after) the big House parties. Theorists and tools don’t always mix well. It isn’t uncommon for some poor kid to hurt himself (more the whacking-his-thumb-with-a-hammer variety than the cutting-his-finger-off-with-the-circular-saw variety), then start calling for a “Health Ad!” in the same way that a soldier in a WWII film screams for a “Medic!”
It’s not just blood-and-guts stuff, though. If you get sick, a Health Ad will check you out to make sure nothing serious is going on, get you some over-the-counter meds, and generally make sure you’ll be okay. If there’s a mini-outbreak of something (which is common, since we live in such close quarters) some Health Ads will even make chicken noodle soup for everybody! Plus, with all the peer counseling training, Health Ads are a good resource if you’re feeling homesick, depressed, lonely, anxious, etc.
This is one of the things that I really like about Caltech. We’re a bunch of smart, interested students and the administration realizes that, so they’re willing to spend the money and resources to get us trained. We get to learn cool new things and they know that we’ll use that knowledge to help our fellow students. It’s a win-win!
Disclaimer: I have received specific permission fromKrzysztofto include his story and real name. If I had not, I would not be able to include it here, as Health Ads are strictly confidential.