Image of several student peer educators by the Ask WIT mobile cart.

Welcome to our Ask WIT questions and answers! Below you will find questions submitted by fellow GVSU students that have been answered by the Wellness Information Team (WIT) Peer Educators. We have categorized them into general wellness, sexual health and nutrition.

Have a question for WIT Peer Educators? Fill out the Ask WIT form anonymously and find your answer here in 3-5 days.

Or, you can find them out with the Ask WIT cart each week on the Allendale and Pew campuses. Follow @gvsurecwell on Instagram to see when they're out and about.

General Wellness

Thanks for reaching out! This is a great question. First off, I want you to know that you are not alone. Many students feel exhausted and burned out already as well. This is completely normal and more than likely you will experience this from time to time throughout the year. Something that can be helpful when experiencing burnout is learning to say no, and not over committing yourself. Setting boundaries is really important and crucial for physical, mental, and emotional well-being. Another skill is learning to prioritize what matters most! In other words this involves asking yourself “where do I need to focus my energy, and where can I let go for a bit.” Realize that we can’t always be on top of our game 24/7 and we sometimes can only do the bare minimum. This is completely normal and okay! We are human! Also a good habit to help with burnout is prioritizing sleep. Sleep is so important so make sure you are getting between 7-9 hours of good quality sleep. If your sleep is suffering, burnout will become worse. One of my favorite ways to help with burnout is allowing myself time to do fun things I enjoy. Whether that be going for a nice walk, spending time with a friend, baking, or doing self care; all these things can help when experiencing burnout. Take time for yourself! 

If you need extra help, our Wellness Coaches can help set goals around getting enough rest and setting boundaries!

-WIT Peer Educator


In order to be diagnosed with ADHD you will need to go see a health care provider. Grand Valley has partnered with the Western Michigan Center for Counseling and Psychological Services to offer students assessments, testing, and counseling. Their office is on Ionia Avenue and is accessible by the bus! Due to the pandemic, they are only doing telehealth appointments, so ADHD testing is on pause. They have a waitlist you can get on for testing once they start it back up, hopefully during the Winter 2022 semester. If a waitlist is not the best option for you, there are two organizations offering in person testing in Fall 2021: Brains Grand Rapids on Evergreen Drive and North Kent Guidance Services on Northland Drive. You can also go see your primary care physician or reach out to any of the facilities mentioned for next steps. Once you obtain a diagnosis, you can file it with the Grand Valley Disabilities Support Resource Center. They can provide you with support, resources, and accommodations to help you learn your best at Grand Valley!

We recommend setting some boundaries. It can help you to prioritize and to say no to things that don't fit your emotional, mental or physical space right now.

  1. Be assertive - A way to help keep boundaries? Be clear and nonnegotiable in what boundary you set. But know, when you first set boundaries (with others or yourself), you may want to lead with kindness and compassion - some people may be unaware that was a boundary you had and were not intentionally trying to harm you. Though you always have a right to react as you feel. Also, you might not be great at keeping your own boundaries yet, so be kind to yourself.
  2. Learn to say no - Know that you can say no without providing an explanation. And the best way to learn how? Practice. Practice in a mirror, practice on "easy" nos, role play with roommates or friends!
  3. Protect your space - Schedule your time and stick to it (and make sure it includes rest time, too!) And don't be afraid to use "Do Not Disturb" on your phone.
  4. Get support - If you are having a difficult time setting boundaries or if people keep violating them, you can always reach out to a trusted individual for help


As you may know, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS/PCOD) is defined as a hormonal disorder which exact cause is unknown, with a varying and extensive list of possible symptoms. Similar to other reproductive and hormone-related disorders, there is no test to definitively diagnose PCOS. A health care professional will typically want to hear about the symptoms and experiences of the patient, and then if they feel necessary they may recommend an ultrasound or pelvic exam to further investigate the issue. It is recommended that a person go to see a medical professional if they have any unusual symptoms or concerns regarding their menstrual cycle or pain levels, especially if the problem is persistent.

Hearing what you’ve told us, we would recommend that you go see a health care professional. It sounds like you have some concerns about symptoms you are experiencing and are worried about possible complications. The best thing to do at this time, if you are able, is to consult a medical professional. Let them hear what you have been going through and be open to the advice and information they may give you. GVSU has two health clinics available for students - the Campus Health Center on the Allendale campus and the Family Health Center near the downtown campuses. They will charge your insurance if you have it, and will work with you for payment if you do not have insurance.

You also marked ‘Nutrition’ as a part of your question, so here is a link for tips on food and diet for people with PCOS: Can My Diet Relieve Symptoms of PCOS. Though we would also suggest that you may consider seeing a dietitian for specific nutrition tips for PCOS symptoms. Campus dining has a dietitian that can see students for free and the Family Health Center downtown has clinical dietetics students that see students for free, too!

We hope this helps! Please let us know if you have any other questions.


The WIT Peer Educators

Sexual Health

Thank you for your question! There are a few places you can access pregnancy tests on campus. 

One is the Center for Women and Gender Equity office in Kirkhof. If you go to the CWGE office front desk and ask for a pregnancy test, they will give you a few free of cost if you show your student ID. Another place is the GV Campus Health Center. For this option you would need to set up an appointment like any other visit. They would use your insurance to cover the cost. If you are unable to use insurance or they do not accept your insurance then you would have to pay out of pocket.

If neither of these options work for you, contact your healthcare provider.

Thank you for your question.

The campus health center operates like a primary care office. You would need to become a client and would be billed for an office visit (either insurance with co-pay or out of pocket). You would then have to pay for the prescription (though there are many free prescriptions for birth control because of the affordable care act). It’s advisable to call for an appointment and to ask any clarifying questions of them.

Another option is the Ottawa County Health Department if you live in Allendale (their offices are in Holland or Hudsonville) or Planned Parenthood in Grand Rapids if you live in Kent County. They offer low cost or sometimes free services for prescribing birth control.

Thanks for your question!

The WIT cart goes out 1-2 times a week. We've just been sharing the location as WIT heads out for their shift but we will try to post the schedule ahead of time on stories at the @gvsurecwell account. We'll start a highlight section so you can see them longer than the 24 hours!

If you need something and don't see the WIT cart schedule or you can't make it when they are out - please feel free to stop in to the Recreation & Wellness office suite anytime Mon-Fri, 8-5pm and the front desk can help you get supplies!

Great question! We are going to share some common things that an alumni suggested might be important to know. Here’s the Oral Birth Control Breakdown. (We’re also working on a blog post about contraception in more depth, so be sure to check out our blog regularly!)

  • How do they work? Oral contraceptives work by stopping ovulation. The pill contains hormones (progestin and estrogen or progestin-only) that keep the egg from releasing, so the sperm has nothing to fertilize.
  • How do I get birth control pills? In order to get oral birth control, you will need a prescription from a doctor or nurse at the doctor's office, a health clinic, or Planned Parenthood.
  • How do I know which pill is right for me? There are many different brands of birth control, each one affecting the body a bit differently. It is crucial to talk to your doctor or a health care provider about what option is best for you, because everyone has a unique body, and situation.
  • When do I start them? You can start them any time - you don’t have to start on the Sunday like most of the packs do. Some pills packets even come with little stickers to help you keep track of the days. Just be sure to take the pill at the same time every day (you can take it anytime of day that fits your schedule!)
  • So what do you do when you miss a pill? We suggest reading the instructions on your prescription first, but most commonly: if you miss one dose you double up the next day and don’t have to use back-up contraception like condoms, if you miss more than one dose, you need to use back-up.
  • How do I pay for birth control pills, especially if I don’t want my parents to know and I’m on their insurance? With the Affordable Care Act (ACA), most health insurance companies have been required to cover birth control at no copay in their plans. If you are on your parent’s insurance you can call the insurance company and ask them about what happens after you make an appointment (ie. do they send an explanation of benefits that will show the service?). You can also ask your healthcare provider about billing for health insurance. They have lots of experience with this exact thing! You can also choose to not use your health insurance, it will likely cost between $15 and $50 a month.
  • Will antibiotics stop the birth control from working? In most cases, no. The only antibiotic that is currently known to interact with birth control is rifampin. You can use backup contraception (like condoms) for more protection and peace of mind.
  • What is emergency contraception and is that the same or different from birth control pills? Emergency contraception are methods of contraception that can be used to prevent pregnancy after sex. Birth control pills are taken every day to prevent pregnancy before sex. Emergency contraceptives can be taken for up to five days after sex, but are more effective the sooner you take them
  • What do I do about spotting or breakthrough bleeding? Spotting and breakthrough bleeding are common for many people who take oral birth control, especially in the first three months of use or when you switch prescriptions. The best way to stop breakthrough bleeding is to consistently take your pill at the same time each day. Though this does not work for everyone, consistency is key. If you have a fever, increased or severe bleeding, or bleeding that lasts more than 7 days in a row, contact your doctor.
  • Should I be concerned about blood clots? The rate for getting clots while on birth control is 0.3%-1% for women* on birth control.  There is no reason to worry too much, but it is important to be aware of the side effects, just in case.  Most commonly, blood clots start in the legs and cause symptoms like pain, swelling, heaviness or cramping in the leg. *For more info about birth control effects on cisgender and trans men take a look at this article.
  • Will I gain weight? Weight gain is a common and often temporary side effect of starting birth control. This is due to fluid retention, which is an accumulation of fluid in body tissues (muscle and skin) and cavities (basically, fluid filled organ holders.) Some people gain around 1-4 pounds within the first month or so of taking birth control. They also tend to lose the weight within 2-3 months, after the side effects of new birth control wear off.

First, we want to say there is nothing wrong with you! Lots of people have experienced the same thing that you are going through. There are plenty of reasons that someone might have never felt sexual pleasure before. In fact, here is a great article from Scarleteen that goes over a lot of reasons.

Here’s a few thoughts we have that you might consider exploring:

  • Communication is huge! Have you talked to your partner(s) about what you like or don’t like? What feels good or doesn’t feel good? About expectations or concerns or embarrassment? We have a great list on our website of things you should talk about! Knowing ahead of time can make it more comfortable for everyone. (And comfort level can play a big role in sexual pleasure!)
  • Knowing what you like and want is so important. Have you written down a list of things that make you feel good? Have you done any self-exploration like self-pleasure (masturbation). Often times when we are new to sexual experiences, we don’t know what we like unless we try it. It can be easier to practice on ourselves. And as we said before – it’s super important to communicate with your partner(s) about what you like and want!
  • Try lube if you’re a person with a vagina (or having sexual intercourse with a person with a vagina)! Lube can help with reducing pain or irritation and make sexual activity slicker, slipperier and sometimes safer.
  • It’s also really important to remember that sexuality is so different for everyone. Sexuality is huge and can be about our bodies, our hormones, our feelings, our gender identity, our sexual orientation, our relationships, and our culture. For example, some people are asexual and may experience little to no sexual attraction. And while they may (or may not) have sex - they may also experience, or not experience, sexual pleasure. Like we said, it’s so different for everyone!

Again – know that you are not alone! And if you have any more questions – the students are happy to answer them.

Great question!

We have several resources right on the Student Wellness website for learning more about sexual transmitted infections (STIs). The Sexual Health Facts page provides some of our favorite trusted resources on STI information.  Or you can check out the Get Yourself Tested page which shares information about what to expect from an STI test and where to get tested locally, including our monthly testing in collaboration with the Ottawa County Department of Public Health.


When talking about things like “The Freshman 15” it’s important to remember that health looks different for everyone, including people's weight. There is no “right” way to transition to the university environment. This is good! It means that there are lots of options and you can choose what works best for you personally. There are three main things you can do to prioritize your health during Freshman year:

Listen To The Experts

The recommended daily amounts for the 5 food groups are recommended for a reason, it’s an easy way to make sure your meals are balanced and that you are getting all the nutrients you need. The biggest thing is to make sure to eat three meals a day. This will already put you on the right track to eat the recommended amounts of the food groups. recommends:

1-2 cups of fruits - try to choose whole fruits

1-3 cups of vegetables - make sure there is variety in the kinds of vegetables you choose

3-8 oz of grains - at least half should be whole grains

2-6.5 oz of protein - if you are very active you will need a bit more than this

3 cups of dairy - low or fat-free is a healthier option, non-dairy options are also a good choice

Switch It Up

Variety is key. Different foods have different nutrients in them so it’s important to eat varied meals throughout your day and your week. Take this as an opportunity to branch out and explore the options available on campus. Who knows you might find a new favorite.

Stay Active

According to the CDC physical activity can lower your risk for diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Staying active helps maintain proper blood pressure which can also prevent disease later in life. This may seem pretty far down the road but it’s key to prioritize activity throughout your whole life. Physical activity can also boost your mood, help with focus, relieve stress, and improve sleep.

The CDC recommends 150 minutes per week. That’s 30 minutes a day 5 days a week. It doesn’t just have to be traditional exercise either. Anything that gets you moving and raises your heart rate will work.

Staying healthy during college doesn’t have to be daunting or difficult. Play around, figure out what works for you. You don’t have to get it right on the first try and you don’t have to figure it all out alone. There are many resources here on campus that are here to help like Laker Food Co., RecWell or University Counseling Center.

Check out a podcast by a past WIT Team member Eva!

In Eva's podcast, The Freshman 15: The Who, What, and How it Harms Us, she shares research, personal experiences and expert knowledge that busts the myth of "The Freshman 15" and reveals the truth behind this phrase.

Thanks for your question. Here are a few resources we think will be helpful:

Allergen Station Information - This site has many of the allergen resources in one convenient place.

Food Guide - This PDF outlines where on campus there are allergy accommodations.

Student Allergen Form - This form is a request for special dietary accommodations.

Laker Food Co. Dietitian - We have an on-campus dietician that can help navigate campus dining options.


Because the body can only digest a certain amount of protein at once, it is best to distribute protein consumption throughout the day. Because everyone is different and many factors come into play, the amount of protein that should be consumed varies largely between people. To help account for different factors, this DRI intake calculator could help you determine your specific needs. If you put in your body weight and your level of activity you tend to do on a daily basis it will give you an idea for how many proteins, carbohydrates, fats and vitamins/minerals your body most likely needs each day. You can divide these numbers by the number of meals you usually eat in a day to help you disperse protein and other nutrient intakes throughout the day and make sure it all is getting absorbed and your body is being able to use all that good stuff!

This Healthline article mentions that it is also important to note that eating carbohydrates is important for protein to be absorbed and used efficiently in the body. It is recommended to eat a meal consisting of carbohydrates and proteins before a workout as well as after a workout to have energy during the workout and then refill energy/nutrient stores after the workout. Additionally, it is generally a good idea to eat a meal within one to two hours of working out because that is when the body will be most “eager” to absorb and use the nutrients being consumed. By eating protein and other nutrients during this time, as well as throughout the day, the body will have the building blocks it needs to build muscle and consequently increase body weight.

To answer your question in short, it is a good idea to eat protein both before and after a workout (the amount depending on what the DRI calculator recommends and dividing that number by the amount of meals you usually eat in a day). Coupling your protein with some carbohydrates has shown to help its absorption, especially when eaten relatively soon after a workout. Overall, making sure to incorporate all nutrients throughout the day will help your body be at its prime and help you reach your goals.

If you have specific questions to your personal dietary needs , reaching out to a dietitian is our best recommendation. Alyssa Koopman is the dietitian with Laker Food Co and can meet with students for free.

*Please note that submitted questions will be reviewed by RecWell staff members and may be edited or denied if the question is defamatory or obscene, causes panic, uses fighting or threatening words, incites crime or demeans or harasses another individual or institution.

**Ask WIT is an educational service only. We do not provide health recommendations. The information provided is for general educational purposes only, and is not intended to substitute for the advice of health care professionals. If you need specific health recommendations, please consult an appropriate professional. Any third-party resources are provided as a convenience for informational purposes only. Neither Grand Valley State University or its Recreation & Wellness Department endorses or approves any of the products, services or opinions of the entities or individuals associated with these links. Grand Valley State University and Recreation & Wellness bear no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of any external site associated with the links provided or any subsequent links.

Page last modified October 18, 2023