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5 Ways to Avoid and Survive the Freshman Plague


Imagine: sitting in your dorm room and over the sounds of Netflix playing from your computer you hear…. a cough. There is nothing worse than people in your dorm getting sick, the looming echoes of coughing and sneezing ringing out to signal the beginning of the freshman plague. When everyone around you is getting sick odds are, your next. The best way to make it through this plague is prepare. This comes in many forms: It could mean catching up on your school work so that when you’re throat feels like a Texas Chainsaw Massacre, you’re not attempting to write a subpar paper that you procrastinated. Or it could mean taking important vitamins like B12- which will help energy production in your body- and Vitamin C – which will help your body start building up your immune system.


2. Wash your hands. 

Coming into college there are a lot of news. New friends. New experiences. And although we don’t like to say it: New Germs. Coming into this new environment everything is a whole lot more accessible and, honestly, grosser. It’s important to remember to wash your hands as frequently as possible because odds are whatever you’ve been touching so have other students. On that same note: Purell is your best friend. Keep hand sanitizer in your backpack in your dorm, EVERYWHERE! A great way to avoid getting sick is by not letting the germs from your hands take a free ride into your body.


3. Take Care of Yourself

One of the worst things about the Freshman Plague is you are now on your own. Coming into college you no longer have your mom to make you soup when you’re sick or to pick up your growing mountain of tissues. This independence is a curse and a blessing but it means when you’re sick you’re responsible for yourself. Some simple ways to stay on top of your health and prevent getting sick is through simply eating healthy and drinking lots of water. A healthy diet and water will help make your body stronger for anything the plague throws your way.


4. Pack Medicine and Tissues


Throw away that ignorant confidence in your immune system and pick up some tissues cause no matter how healthy you were in high school, college is a whole new game. When the freshman plague hits and that flu is keeping you tethered to your bed, the last thing you’re going to want to do is go buy tissues and medicine because you didn’t bring it with you. The best way to avoid being caught sick and unprepared is to pack a mini first aid kit and buy tissues in advance. Before leaving for college – or even when first getting there – make sure to buy the necessities of ibuprofen, cold medicine, a thermometer, etc. to break out when the plague does hit, trust me you and your friends will all be thankful you did.


5. Know When to Surrender


You know your body better than anyone else. When you get sick – and yes, I mean that it happens to all of us – you should pace yourself. Sleep if you feel that’s what your body needs. Napping is everyone’s best friend so indulge. Let yourself sleep through that 9 am Italian class if you know you’re going to spend the whole class trying not to vomit. One of the best ways to start feeling better is to catch up on some well-needed zzz’s. Forget that party all your friends are going to and take some personal time to ensure your health and prevent yourself from getting even more sick.

Caroline Zaelke

Wake Forest '22

Caroline is a current student at Wake Forest University where she plans on double majoring in Business Administration and English. When she is not writing and reading, you can find Caroline on the sidelines cheering on the Demon Deacons as a member of the Wake Forest Dance Team. She also enjoys hiking, snowboarding, and most importantly blasting Kesha and tearing up the dance floor with her friends.
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