How to Deal With Getting Sick in College

Oh, and yeah … don’t sneeze in my eye

by Angelina Zervos

Opinions Editor

The original title of this article was going to be “How to Avoid Getting Sick When Everyone Around You is Coughing and Sneezing,” but as the idea formulated in my head, I too had been infected by the Fordham Plague. So instead, I write this as a guide to 1) get better as soon as possible and 2) avoid getting everyone else around you sick as well. 

I must first address this question: how did I get like this? Call me a germaphobe, but I’m one of those people that has, and I mean has, to carry hand sanitizer or some sort of disinfectant around with me at all times. Otherwise, I start to have these bizarre visions of what sorts of gross microorganisms might be crawling around on my skin. I hardly ever touch doorknobs with my bare hands and I avoid sharing things like makeup or drinks at all costs. 

Yet here I am, lying in bed with what feels like the worst head cold I’ve had in my entire life. Unfortunately, I am led to believe that my fellow Fordham students are to blame. 

There’s a reason why we all seem to get sick around the same time; there seems to be a little disconnect between students and proper hygiene. I’m not calling anyone out, it’s bound to happen. We’re all under an enormous amount of stress, so our immune systems are already working their hardest. I get that when you’re sick you aren’t always thinking clearly, usually because you can’t stop focusing on that one clogged nostril that will NOT STOP RUNNING, but I have never in my entire life seen so many people in the same place have a total lack of regard for each other. Over the past week I’ve seen countless zombie-eyed undergrads with the unapologetic rigor of toddlers who aren’t afraid to cough and sneeze into other people’s eyeballs — no wonder everyone’s sick!

Getting sick in college is definitely different than the experience most of us have had leading up to it. You can’t just ring the administrative office and call out sick; you have to e-mail each of your professors individually, and when you return, you have to provide all but a death certificate to even think about getting an excused absence. There aren’t any colorful signs reminding us to wash our hands cover our mouths when we cough, and for the most part, no one really cares. I still haven’t figured out how exactly to do laundry, so you better believe I’m calling my mom to figure out how many times I can take Advil in a day before I accidently poison myself. I’m still trying to understand how to be sick and deal with it in the real world, and I think most of us are too. Unlike when you’re a little kid, you actually have to get out of bed and do things like an adult. This can be really overwhelming when you’re also learning about a hundred other things to do on your own for the first time, but for the love of God, please don’t sneeze into oblivion; that oblivion is actually a tiny classroom and I’m sitting right next to you. Please.  

That being said, it’s pretty well-known that college students tend to slack in the self-care department, at least where it counts (spending over a hundred dollars at Urban Outfitters to “treat yourself” doesn’t count). We eat terrible food or don’t eat all, and the last time we got a good sleep was probably back in 2013. I know it sounds silly, but we really need to sleep. I mean seriously. You can’t get better if your brain is too busy stressing over that paper you need to write or trying to decipher that text your bootycall sent you last night. You just need a break, and it wouldn’t kill you to have a piece of fruit once in a while. I’m guilty of drinking way too much coffee at all hours of the night, but, although it saddens me to admit it, caffeine won’t make you feel better. Let the cortisone level out for a bit. 

In all seriousness, I wish I was eight again and getting sick meant I could stay home from all my responsibilities without a care in the world. Getting sick in college sucks! Don’t forget to actually take time out of your busy schedule to get better instead of going through the motions as usual. And don’t turn a blind eye to basic human decency, like not coughing into people’s faces when you talk to them, just because your cold makes you want to pass out. 

Drink some water. I hope you feel better soon.

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