The Freshman Experience: Sick at College

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So finally it is spring…well, at least the snow is sort of melting here, and the temperature is starting to average above freezing during the day. This is the time to be outside on the slushy grass or walking around campus, right?

Well, I wish. It seems like spring at college, I am realizing, is the time of the cold, the headache, the sore throat, and the contagious undergrads.

I’ve noticed everyone here is getting sick. I’m told it’s because I’ve never lived with so many people before, and that we’re all staying inside so much. Basically, germs are running wild. So drink your orange juice for Vitamin C and avoid sneezing classmates. Not that any of that really worked out well for me. And I must say, I’ve learned a very important lesson: taking care of yourself when you’re sick at college is the worst.

Despite feeling like death-slightly-warmed-over, I still have to get up and go to class, or at least go downstairs to get food. Unlike home, I don’t get chicken noodle soup and crackers (served to me in bed), but whatever is on the menu. All the way downstairs. Nope, there is no change in food or service just because I’m ill.

I have to get my own water, walk all the way down the hall to go to the bathroom, and share my room with a healthy person who is avoiding me like I have the plague. Which, thankfully, I don’t. Just a cold, and sore throat, and sinus headache and fever.

Even if I were home, with my family waiting on me hand and food, this week would’ve sucked. But at college, it’s even worse: I have to deal with it myself. I have to get myself to the health center if I think I need it, I have to walk to the pharmacy in town if I need a prescription, and I have to deal with the fact that everyone else on campus is dealing with this too, so no one is there to help me.

All that responsibility and independence I have loved at college has just become a nuisance.

Sure, I’m getting better. Somewhere between watching episodes of  House and making up fake diagnoses I began to recover. And I am grateful, because now I know that being sick is work here. It’s not a day-off or a sick day from school where you can just chill and relish in your bacteria. Life doesn’t stop when you get sick in college.

I guess that whole “college independence” isn’t so great when all you want to do is depend on getting better. There is nothing like a cold to make every college kid wish they were back home with mom.

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