The college cold: an illness so debilitating it needs its own classification apart from the common cold. You’d think that by senior year, I’d finally be impervious to the effects of nightly drinking. I sure thought so. Turns out that a summer of interning and overall wholesome living so damaged my tolerance to debauchery that I’ve been sick since the second week of the semester. Four weeks later, two of my three roommates have joined me. Whoops. Maybe they got sick on their own; maybe I brought the illness upon them. But before you start pointing fingers, hastily determining that I’m the culprit for spreading this disease, let’s look closer at what it’s like when you and almost all of your roommates fall sick at the same time.
At first, my roommates shunned everything in the apartment that might’ve touched my germ-spewing self. Until they didn’t know what to order at the bar and tasted my drink or wanted to try my Thai fried rice leftovers in the fridge. Plus, when I tried to quarantine my toothpaste, one of my roommates frantically asked, toothbrush in hand, “Where’s the toothpaste?!” Meaning my toothpaste. Covered in my germs. But alcohol kills bacteria and so does the heat from the microwave and toothpaste chemicals, right? I really can’t see how I’m to blame. Especially since my roommate, the one who shares a room with me, by the grace of God was the only one spared from the college cold.
This roommate had a 21st birthday coming up too. As I nailed down the details of her party, she plied me with the appropriate doses of Dayquil and Nyquil between threats of, “If you get me sick for my birthday, I’ll kill you.” All while spraying Zicam into her mouth. As if that would really stop her from poppin’ birthday bottles in her 21st sash.
I would say that sickness’s hindrance of your plans of going out beats all the other detriments of falling ill. But everyone knows nobody stays in until they’re completely healed. You might take one night off because Nyquil plus alcohol is rumored to destroy livers. How mature and adult of you. Still, that whole night you spend at home cuddling your tissues and cough drops, you scheme your bar route for the next night. And somehow you never feel sick when taking tequila shots. At least, not the kind of sick we’re talking about.
While going out screws up your sleep schedule, in combination with sickness a night out gives you bags under your eyes for the next month. How cute. Oh, you planned on going to sleep at 2 a.m. after finishing up that essay on the effects of mass media on toddlers’ self-esteem? Not if your congestion has anything to say about it. Or maybe you thought you’d sing your best drunk Britney karaoke after taking a quiz for your BS online class on gorillas? You might still make it out, but you’ll regret it in the morning. And once you drag yourself home, that postnasal drip will force you to cough all night long as you gasp for air. This formula prevents you from feeling any type of better too because sleep equals DJ Khaled’s major key to beating any cold. Alcohol and late nights are to sickness as Hummers are to global warming.
As you could imagine, being sick caused me and my sickly roommates to argue over things we never would’ve discussed. Example: trying to figure out who used all the toilet paper as tissues because we ran out of both. Another fun topic of contention was debating whether I might be the reason we all got sick…That one is plausible. Either way, I’m definitely not the reason none of us getting better. Consecutive nights of drinking, not sleeping, writing essays, standing for five hours during football games and living off of French fries and Ramen are more powerful punches to a college kid’s immune system than any germs I have.
Take some advice from me and my roommates: the next time you’re puking your brains out or identifying more with Sneezy than a healthy college student, ditch the Fireball (who actually likes Fireball anyways?) and late night bar hopping, and take shots of Nyquil and eight or more hours of sleep instead. Trust me, your immune system and roommates thank you…the way mine won’t thank me.