Last semester was a struggle, a real struggle.
I’ll save you all the gory details and just say that I had strep throat and mono, plus I got the flu the very day I got home for winter break. Super. If you’ve never had the pleasure of experiencing the flu, let me just say it’s the closest I’ve ever felt to death.
I spent the majority of fall semester feeling crappy, and the first half of my winter break feeling like death warmed over. Being so sick all the time really did a number on me. I missed out on a lot of fun opportunities because I never felt up to par. I was no longer in shape because I didn’t have the energy to work out. My G.P.A. dropped a bit because it was hard to concentrate and have motivation to get work done.
Let me say: I’m rarely sick. I’ll catch a mild cold once or twice per year, but that’s the extent of my being under the weather. Having three horrible illnesses was enough for me to realize the crucial significance of being proactive about your health, not reactive.
I wish that I had been proactive about my health. The greatest advice I can offer you collegiettes is that you not make the same mistake I did!
Get a flu shot. I know people have intense feelings about getting flu shots. I don’t remember the last time I had one, not because I’m morally opposed to it; I just never really thought I needed to get one. After I got strep, I decided I would get a flu shot, but I put off getting one because my doctor told me to wait until I was fully recovered, but then I had mono, so there wasn’t a prime time to get the flu shot. Next year I will be getting one before flu season starts. The end.
Get enough sleep. Yes, that term paper is important, but so is sleep. If I had prioritized better and not put off doing assignments, I wouldn’t have been up late every night and could have been resting. A tired body is a recipe for disaster when it comes to catching a cold or overcoming one.
Wash your hands. From opening classroom doors to holding the railing on the Appal Cart, you touch so many germy surfaces on a daily basis. I can’t even imagine where some of those hands have been. I won’t go into anymore detail on that…. But if you’re stepping off the bus and going straight to your apartment for a snack, you’re putting those very same germs directly into your mouth. So wash your hands the second you get home. Wash them any time you feel you have touched a lot of germ-filled surfaces.
Disinfect. If you’re roommates are sick, you should be wiping down the remote controller, the refrigerator handle, and other objects that are touched regularly. Who cares if they’re offended that you spray down everything they come in contact with? Would you rather hurt a few feelings or battle with the flu?
Eat well. Fruits and veggies are loaded with vitamins and minerals—many of which will build up your immune system and help fight off bad bacteria. That burger might be tempting, but if choosing a salad instead will help ward off an illness, I’d go with the salad.
Being smart about your health will make all the difference in the long run. It’s easy to overlook it in the heat of the semester when things are hectic, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to make small changes and be proactive than it is to be confined to your bed with a box of tissues.