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I have found that the fastest route to a terrible case of homesickness is getting sick away from home.

With college comes freedom and independence, but there has never been a time when independence seemed to have no value until I became ill for the first time at KU. 

On the night of the KU Jayhawks’ first football game of the season, I was enjoying the game with my friends and reveling in the new-found independence of my first full week at KU. It was a fantastic night until the cough came, then the sore throat, and then the chills. By the end of the night, I wanted nothing more than to go home; unfortunately, that wasn’t an option for me and isn’t an option for many students. 

After spending Labor Day weekend sick in my dorm room bed, I have learned a few tricks to survive sickness in college and avoid it at all costs in the future.

  1. Stay away from your sick friends. 

As the designated “mom friend,” I am usually the one to take care of my sick friends; this got me in trouble. I took care of a sick friend and became infected a week later. So if you know your friend is sick, keep your distance. 

  1. Stock up on medicine BEFORE you get sick. 

When you are sick, the last thing you want to do is walk half a mile to your car, drive to and from CVS, and walk back to your dorm in a zombie-like state. On your next grocery trip, stock up on the basics: cough drops, NyQuil, ibuprofen, nose spray and anything else you know you like to have around when you’re sick. 

  1. Take preventative measures

I have never been one to take immunity supplements, but I am now. Stock up on Vitamin C and elderberry supplements and take them daily if you can. 

  1. Use campus resources

If/when you get sick, make an appointment at Watkins Health services to get to feeling better as soon as possible. If you can’t make an appointment, the Nurse Helpline is another excellent resource to see what you can do at home to get to feeling better. 

  1. Give yourself time to rest. 

It’s nerve-wracking to take time off from class or extracurriculars, especially when you’re a freshman, but if you communicate with your professors and advisors that you will be taking some time off to rest and recover, they will understand. Giving yourself time to rest will help you get healthy faster and avoid being the person in class that has a coughing fit every 5 minutes. 

Being sick in college is objectively awful and briefly makes independence lose all of its charms, but there are ways to make it bearable. Part of maturing is learning how to take care of yourself. Being sick on your own for the first time is not a glamorous learning experience but an important one. 

Hi! I'm Brynna Burnett. I'm a freshman at KU majoring in Journalism with minors in Spanish and music. I am a writer for Her Campus KU and the Daily Kansan. I love to write about social issues, lifestyle, and travel.
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