CM’s Top 10 College Illnesses

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If you say you haven’t experienced the walk to class with a runny nose or the day-long hangover since starting college, then you’re lying. Whether you contract the plague from the communal bathrooms at orientation or experience a full body breakdown during finals, you’ll fall ill multiple times a semester. Bring out the cough drops and the Advil so you can find out CM’s top 10 inevitable college illnesses.

1. The Hangover

After a Saturday of frat parties and bar hopping, a hangover proves as impossible as avoiding your homework due Sunday night. Minimize your chances of falling victim to the hangover by staying hydrated throughout the night. If you don’t trust your drunk self to act responsibly, leave ibuprofen and a water bottle next to your bed to ease your morning pain. If all else fails, bananas are mother nature’s cure to the hangover.

2. The Everlasting Cold

The common cold on college campuses doesn’t work the same as anywhere else in the world. At home, you can to fight off a cold in a few days. In college, it sticks with you for the rest of the semester. On the bright side, everyone else suffers along with you because this illness spreads like wildfire. Keep yourself safe by always keeping a bottle of hand sanitizer in your backpack.

3. Caffeine Withdrawal

After a couple months of dealing with the college stress, you suddenly realize your addiction to caffeine is out of hand. The moment of clarity will come while drinking your fourth cup of coffee before leaving your 8 a.m. lecture. However, cutting back on Starbucks is much easier said than done. Be prepared for the headache and drowsiness that usually follows.

4. Homesickness

The extent of this one varies with every case. Out-of-state and exchange students can be more susceptible to this illness, but even in-state students start to miss home-cooked meals and personal showers mid-semester. The best cure is to call your family to catch up with everything going on back at home—and oh yeah, because they probably miss you too.

5. The Midterm Breakdown

Exam week is here, but never fear because you have everything under control. Then it hits you. How did you suddenly go from one exam to three on Thursday? Wait, did your professor say 20-page paper? You thought she said two pages! Behold: The midterm breakdown. Don’t worry though, no one dies from midterm week. Just remember to take deep breaths, and if you really feel like passing out, try napping for 20 minutes.

6. Sleeping Sloth Syndrome

No matter how many hours of sleep you get, you still fall asleep in class. Some days, you won’t make it out of bed to your morning class. Missing class to snooze isn’t ideal, but as long as you’re diligent with making up your work, this illness won’t hold you down. If you can’t seem to make it to your 8 a.m. lecture, make sure that your professor’s 3 p.m. office hours become part of your schedule to avoid falling behind.

7. The Classic Winter Flu

Unless you attending college where it’s warm all year round, prepare to face the harsh winter of a college campus. Walking from class to class outside in the cold everyday easily leads to the dreaded, crippling winter flu. Visit your campus health center for the annual flu shot and keep warm with extra layers on the coldest days of the year.

8. FOMO

Your friends are going out for Thirsty Thursday, but you have an exam the next day. Shutting down your inner party animal, you decide to be responsible and stay in to study. As you sit alone in your dorm room with books piled high around you, you wonder: What if I’m missing the party of the century? This is a full-blown FOMO attack. Remember, you have four years to party your heart out. One missed night won’t destroy your social standing.

9. Sick of the Dining Hall

You haven’t eaten all day and your stomach cramps in hunger. The thought of yet another chicken wrap from the dining hall makes you feel even worse. To avoid getting sick of the dining hall, change up your options every few days instead of falling into a routine.

10. The Dorm Plague

When one person in your dorm starts exhibiting symptoms, it’s only a matter of time before everyone is infected. Your friends start dropping so fast; it’s worse than the Zombie Apocalypse. First things first: Steer clear of those infected. Then, soak yourself in disinfectant. Above all else, spend minimal amounts of time in communal areas. If your roommate succumbs to the dorm plague, consider investing in a human-sized hamster bubble as a precaution.

College is where students seek a higher education—and where bacteria and viruses take down unsuspecting victims. Don’t become a casualty by keeping these tips in mind and you’ll survive the college illness war zone.

Erin is a broadcast journalism major at the University of Maryland. She enjoys acrylic painting, playing piano, and long-distance running. Erin also enjoys skiing and snowboarding in her hometown of Buffalo, New York.

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