College Nation

College life can trigger bipolar disorder


University of Florida

Bipolar disorder and college mix like matches and lighter fluid.

Kevin Stanley, a therapist at the University of Florida Counseling Center, said that although bipolar cases are rare at the center, college campuses are breeding grounds for the disease.

Bipolar disorder causes people to experience periods of mania and depression.

Irregular sleep, stress, alcohol and drug use – things common to college life – are prime triggers, he said.

The disease’s peak age of onset is between 15 and 25, experts say.

Impulsivity, dramatic mood swings, a decreased need for sleep, weight loss, rampant spending, promiscuity and suicidal thoughts are among the typical symptoms of bipolar disorder.

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People with bipolar disorder also have a greater propensity for alcohol, drug and sex addictions.

Dr. Josepha A. Cheong, a general psychiatrist at UF’s Department of Psychiatry, said an early diagnosis is critical for the well being of people with the disorder.

– Courtesy of The Daily Florida Alligator

Rebate program to aid student debt


New York University

The largest student loan company in the United States, Sallie Mae, announced that they will allow students to pay their loan balances with rebates earned through a rewards program.

Companies such as America Online and Kellogg provide rebates for purchases made when students use an account provided by Upromise, which is a corporation owned by Sallie Mae. When account holders shop, dine or purchase goods or services from the more than 500 participating companies, they get a rebate.

“Rewards are dollars accumulated based on the percentage agreed upon between the provider and Upromise. If you buy a top at Gap.com, the rewards will be 3 percent of that purchase,” Sallie Mae spokeswoman Erica Eriksdotter said. “This is free money back into your Upromise account. Who can say no to free money?”

The service, called Upromise Loan Link, will help its participants reduce their loan debt by accelerating repayment.

For example, a student with Stafford loans totaling $19,000 who earns $50 Upromise rewards annually can save $1,000, or 5 percent, of the original loan balance. This is equivalent to three full months of loan repayment.

– Courtesy of Washington Square News

College women top egg donor lists


Baylor University

In several online listings such as classified ad Web site Craigslist and California-based www.eggdonors.com, infertile couples can browse a virtual human-shopping mall for their offspring. Donors are profiled by physical characteristics like hair and eye color, and intelligence markers including SAT and IQ test scores.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, college-age women are meeting the demand for highly specific egg donations in record numbers.

The latest survey released by the center reported that 10,000 women donated eggs in 2004.

The director of the Egg Donation Center of Dallas, who requested to be identified only as Joan, advertises with numerous university newspapers and described the donation process as a “win-win situation.”

“For the recipients, it’s the only way they can expand their family,” she said. “It also helps students who are struggling with the rising cost of tuition and living expenses.”

Despite the popularity and profitability of in virto fertilization, Lariat policy prohibits advertisements for any type of sperm or ovum donation, as well as any ad for contraceptives.

Joan said the center has ongoing ads with the University of Texas and many other state schools in Texas and Oklahoma.

The ads, which offer thousands of dollars for donors with a specific grade point average, SAT and health standards, have been more successful at state schools than private institutions, she said.

Johnathan Tran, assistant professor of religion, said he believes the issue is especially sensitive for Christians because of the biblical understanding of what it means to have children.

“Infertility for Christians is associated with cursedness, and having children, especially in the Old Testament, is considered a blessing,” he said.

Tran, who teaches a class on bioethics, said Christians have a hard time remembering that the church of the New Testament is not supposed to grow chiefly from a family bloodline, but by witnessing and conversions.

“An interesting question is why as Christians we feel like we need to have our own children,” he said. “The argument is usually something like, ‘I want to have my blood continue,’ which is a completely pagan argument.”

While many egg donation organizations tout the idea of helping infertile couples realize the dream of having children, Robert Kruschwitz, director of the Center for Christian Ethics and professor of philosophy, said there is a better way to handle the situation: community and congregational support. Instead of searching for egg donors, he said, couples should turn to their community of faith for guidance and support for adoption or other options besides in vitro fertilization.

Tran explained that for Christians, honor doesn’t come from bloodline or birthright but from adoption into the family of God through Christ.

“I think adoption is the perfect metaphor for the Christian faith,” he said. “As gentiles, we’ve been adopted into the Jewish covenant.”

– Courtesy of The Lariat