The dorms are hotbeds for all kinds of gross germs and infectious things. It’s kind of like a kennel that houses college animals. Maybe your roommate was the problem — do some people really still not cover their mouths when they cough? Or maybe the problem was you. But either way, odds are you’ve encountered something nasty if you live on campus. No, we aren’t talking about the common cold.
1. The vomit bug.
I was staying over at my boyfriend’s place when I was struck down with a horrible stomach bug that lasted 24 hours. Turns out it was gastroenteritis, an aggressive and highly contagious flu attacking the Boston College campus. Then, a few days later, he was staying at my dorm and abruptly got up and ran out in the middle of the night. I went back to sleep only to find out that he had thrown up over our stairwell because he didn’t have the code to the communal bathroom on my floor. Nobody cleaned up the stairwell for 7 FULL DAYS. Vile. Oh, also this was Valentine’s Day. How romantic. —Marie McGrath, Boston College
2. Is it mono?
At my campus, since it’s so small, everybody knows everybody. People would hook up all the time. Recently mono was going around campus, which can really put you out of commission. My friend hooked up with this guy and she ended up having a sore throat over the next couple of days. She was so embarrassed to tell her parents because she thought she had mono. So she went to the nurse on campus. It turned out to be strep. —Lauren Sanchez, Trinity University
3. Yeah, it’s mono.
I was going to visit a friend at James Madison University. In the middle of the car ride I suddenly got a headache and a sore throat. So when the time came to party, I kept to myself until the symptoms got so bad I called it an early night. But then it got worse. The next day I still felt terrible, and by nighttime, I felt sicker than I ever had in my life: headache, fever, upset stomach and an unbelievably sore throat were only a few of the symptoms. Around 7 p.m. I crashed on a friend’s bed…or at least I tried to crash, but drunken people from the party outside kept stumbling in and out. After the terrible weekend I was diagnosed by a doctor: mono. —Alex McGuire, University of Maryland
4. Superbad strep.
Just about everyone has had strep throat. It is so contagious that catching it isn’t really anything out of the ordinary, unfortunately. But strep can be even meaner than most people think. When strep was going around my campus, I came down with Group C Streptococcus. The whole back of my throat where my tonsils sit was just covered in white from the infection. It was pretty disgusting. Eventually I had to get my tonsils removed. —Jackie Smelter, St. Philip’s College
5. Freaky sick.
Last year I got extremely sick with a really mysterious bug that both the college nurse and the hospital couldn’t figure out. I had over 104 degree fever, lymph nodes so hugely swollen that even the nurse gasped when she saw them, a sore throat, severe aching in my joints and the freakiest part: my gums and lips started bleeding. It lasted all through finals week, and I had no one to take care of me, which was a huge bummer. But on the bright side, my French teacher felt so bad for me that I was completely excused from the final exam and given an A for the class. Maybe it’s too gross to share, but it actually happened and its probably the sickest I’ve ever been. —Victoria Spagnuolo, Florida Southern College
If you noticed a trend in these horror stories, it’s that getting sick never happens when it’s convenient. That’s why CampusMD offers students 24/7/365 access to a nationwide network of Board-certified doctors by phone or online chat. CampusMD doctors treat you as they would during an in-person visit: they ask questions, diagnose and treat what ails you. Even if it’s 2 a.m. on Saturday, you can reach a CampusMD doctor. Talk about making life easy.