It’s okay I’ll Probably Feel Better in Two Weeks
It’s pretty well understood that going off to college can be a stressful transition, and it’s one that’s amplified the farther away from home you go. While some of us felt more comfortable with the distance than others, the decision to go far is not one without its unique regrets. Most notably, and most surprisingly, is when you get sick for the first time.
In hindsight, it is to be expected. You are moving to a new environment, surrounded by new people (and their unique brand of germs), all of which you can’t get away from. However, there is nothing quite as disheartening as feeling those telltale signs of sickness. No matter how rundown, congested, or overall crappy you feel, you still have to deal with roommates, communal bathrooms and having to physically leave your bed (meaning you have to put on some sort of socially acceptable clothing) to get food.
In true Fordham nature, efforts to ease this newfound suffering have been more or less useless. I want to take a moment to say that while I find everyone working in the Health Center to be generally nice, caring people, the system itself leaves much to be desired.
The first issue is the location of Health Services itself. Now, maybe it’s just me, but the last thing I want to do when I’m sick is hike myself from no-man’s land (aka the freshman dorms), practically all the way across campus, to sit on an uncomfortable waiting room chair, only to be told that walk-ins are filled for the day and then have to hike back. This is made worse given that “cold season” tends to be accompanied by less-than-ideal weather, which discourages this trek even more.
Now, if you are one of the lucky few who snagged a walk-in spot or could see through the haze of sickness long enough to book an appointment, I can tell you almost exactly what is going to happen.
First, you will sit in the aforementioned uncomfortable waiting room, most likely surrounded by other dying students and wondering which one of you WebMD would diagnose with the plague. Finally, you get called back; the nurse practitioner asks you the standard questions and you think to yourself, “I might actually get some help here, maybe even start to feel better.” However, regardless of how you answered, you are told that they are going to do a strep test “just to make sure.”
What this entails is having a well-meaning stranger swiftly gag you with a cotton swab and then sitting for 5-10 minutes on the edge of your paper-covered seat waiting for the results. It will be negative. You might even have strep, but the initial test will be negative. Don’t worry though, because they’ll send it away for a “real” test, and let you know if you actually have strep in approximately two weeks.
At this point, reader, you’re probably thinking, “what if I go to the Health Center for something other than strep throat?”. Doesn’t matter, you get a strep test. They’re like freaking Oprah with those things. Headache? Strep test. Sore throat? Strep test. Fever? Strep test. Rash on the bottom of your left foot? Strep test.
In the end, they’ll probably recommend you go buy some generic over-the-counter meds at Walgreens and you’ll have the dawning realization that you would be better off waiting until you get the chance to stop by your personal urgent care. But hey, at least you know you don’t have strep! (Unless you do. Again, wait the two weeks to be sure).