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Students, listen up! According to a recent survey, I regretfully inform you that there is a new strain of virus spreading rapidly throughout the University of Helsinki. I have also received reports from other universities around the world, and it seems as though those of us at Helsinki Uni are not the only ones affected by this terrible bug. Despite being an annual occurrence, this new mutation is highly virulent and passed down to BA and MA students especially, by professors and other teachers and advisors. The pressure of surviving upcoming finals can also spark flair-up’s in those who are perpetual carriers of this menacing virus, causing massive casualties in lecture attendance-levels. However, students in all years, who regularly participate in various school-related extracurricular activities can also contract this virus from fellow students. Therefore, CONSTANT VIGILANCE is advised.   

The new virus ravaging campuses around the world has been named S.Train2020. Attacking the psyche, in less severe cases the S.Train2020– virus causes mental and emotional symptoms, such as mood swings, hyperventilation, profuse sweating, uncontrollable crying, binge-snacking and general listlessness. If you are exhibiting any of these symptoms, you may be in the early stages of contamination and are therefore advised to seek IMMEDIATE alternative medical attention. Luckily, for us here in Helsinki, several precautions have been established in order to effectively deal with the yearly outbreak of this viral epidemic. As it were, every bartender and mixologist on campus grounds has been briefed and has received the appropriate training in order to deal with the less severe cases, aiding in battle to quell the propagation of this nuisance of a virus.

However, if you find yourself suffering from any of the more severe symptoms, no amount of inebriates will help you, and you may need to rely on more effective methods of relief – the likes of which I’ll leave up to you to determine, ‘cause I don’t want no trouble! Severe symptoms may include loss of joy, manic depression, panic disorder, stomach cramps, loss of appetite, explosive diarrhoea, acute narcolepsy and in a few rare cases, kleptomania and the urge to shove. Anyone, and anything. IF you get the sudden urge to leave the country, you’re situation is critical.

Unfortunately, the S.Train2020virus is not repelled by OCD-like hand sanitising, but fortunately it is by no means lethal. However, I do recommend following through with the CDC’s guidelines for maintaining a safe level of personal hygiene at this moment in time, as the S.Train2020virus can leave sufferers highly susceptible to other, way more serious, viruses. As I’m sure you all know by now, the coronavirus (COVID-19) is sweeping through Europe and the precautions to contain the epidemic from completely running rampage should be taken seriously. Also, influenza A (H1N1pdm09 and H3N2) is also on the viral warpath, leaving its sufferers immobilised, bedridden and leaking from the face – and other orifices – for up to four weeks at a time. Therefore, I urge each and every student to heed the guidelines provided by the CDC, NHSTHL, and other government facilities, where experts are working tirelessly to prevent all of us from “snotting” to our deaths. 

As for the S.Train2020– virus, the most important precaution you can take is to relax. That’s right! You know you do this every year; freak out during the final stretch of the school term because the strain feels more potent than the last time you were afflicted by it. So, when you feel yourself sinking, take a step back and breathe. Final exams are not going to kill you, and there is simply no need to completely lose your marbles. Avoid fully giving into the strain of trying to survive the end of the school term by constantly reminding yourself that you will pass your exams, eventually. You will graduate to the next academic level, eventually. You will move out of your parents’ basement… eventually.  It’s all going to work out fine. You’re fine. We’re fine. I’m fiiiiiiiiiiiine.

So, here’s wishing you good luck with your final examinations. Gods be with you, and remember to wash your hands!


(Disclaimer: This is an article for Her Campus at Helsinki about a fictitious virus that is actually just study strain. NOT an actual legit public health announcement. In case that was unclear. If you want to know more about current viruses spreading in Finland, visit the THL homepage.)

Carmen Eskin

Helsinki '22

I'm a postgraduate student of English philology and English literature at the Univerisity of Helsinki. Terry Pratchett is my one true love.
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