The summer before my freshman year of college, I remember my mom bombarding me with advice about how not to get sick. Of course, I never listened. What a joke! I wouldn’t get sick. I never got sick at home. I wasn’t one of those kids. I’d be fine.
Fast forward to the first day of school: I have a cold. Splendid.
Okay, it’s just a little cold, no big deal. This colds got nothing on me.
Fast forward to the second week of school: I’m in the dining hall at late-night with my friends. A girl walks by us about to get food for her friend. My friends ask her what’s up and she replies, “I’m getting food for my roommate because she’s sick in bed with strep and mono.”
My jaw drops. Oh. my. God.
Well, this is the end. I’d never heard of anyone having mono before. But now mono and strep. Alrighty, take me now.
Here I am, a little freshman, confused and honestly scared shitless of this mono. I’d never gotten it before. Now I’d been forewarned, meant that I would get it for sure.
Fast forward a few weeks: No mono in sight but my cough worsened. Things could get worse, I guess.
Next thing I know, my room is a danger zone. Roommate 1 has mono. Roommate 2 has mono, strep, an eye infection and an ear infection. I’m never stepping foot in my room again. Then for the first time since coming to college, I soaked just about everything I own in Lysol. Not sure how much this helped me, but I didn’t get mono, strep, or any infections.
Lesson 1: Disinfectant wipes are on your side.
Getting sick in college is way easier than maintaining a 4.0 GPA. Want to get sick? Just sit and wait.
Now the real worst thing is getting the flu during exam season. Last year, Boston College dorms went through a four-month-long flu epidemic. It was bad, to say the least. A good friend of mine actually had the flu during exams last year. Jack had it BAD.
I asked him about it recently. He said, “Two days before my final I woke up feeling extremely weak and nauseous. I decided to just keep sleeping and hope to feel better. I woke up later feeling equally shitty but I had to study because I had a final the next day. I didn’t end up being very productive and I took the test not feeling great. I didn’t end up doing too hot.”
Now… how do you not get sick in college… that is the number one question.
The pro tip consists of three words: cups, cleaning and cover.
Cups appear and disappear into thin air in college. That includes cups at parties, water bottles at practice or mugs inside your dorm. Only drink from what’s yours. Not sure if someone drank from it after you put it down? Get a new cup. And get a new drink. Don’t let anyone drink from your cup, water bottle, mug etc. And don’t drink from anyone else’s. Cups are a danger zone.
It can be such a quick thing… “Hey Carly, can I drink from your water bottle? I’m so thirsty!” Boom. Next thing you know you’re skipping all your classes and dead to the world because now you caught the plague.
Lysol wipes, dusters, vacuum machines… call me a millennial but I never used these before living without my parents. But nevertheless, cleaning products play a vital role in maintaining our health.
My mom came into my room before December break to start moving me out. She went up to my drawers and windowsill and ran the Lysol wipe along them. I’m distracted doing something else but she tells me to come over and she shows me, and I’m not exaggerating a blackened Lysol wipe. I barely recognized it. So much dust accumulated on my windowsill and drawer; I could barely believe it. No wonder I always coughed.
Lysol wipes do wonders.
And by this, I don’t mean cover your elbow. But really do that too—it’s gross if you don’t. No, I mean take cover whenever possible. Be mindful of those around you. Don’t hang out in the germ-infected side of the health center. Don’t kiss someone with mono. Don’t hang out in your friends’ room if they caught the flu. Basically, stay away from contagious stuff.
I feel like somebody somewhere out there made it through all of college without getting sick. Props to whoever you are! In the end, keep your room clean. Wash your sheets every now and then. Lead a sanitary life. Crash on your roommate’s couch if your roommate gets sick.