This winter I called my dad bragging that my normally weak immune system had beaten off whatever seasonal sickness was going around. I was convinced that I had miraculously improved my ability to fight off colds and the flu without changing anything about my lifestyle. Almost a week later I was in the Coffee Closet, doing homework with my friend Mark, when my head started feeling really groggy. So naturally, I bought three different teas and poured in significant amounts of honey and lemon to try to stop my impending sickness. The next day, I woke up with a fever, feeling like I had been smacked in the face. One of my friends took me to Student Health Services on campus. The nurses there told me I had the flu and prescribed me some medicine.
One of the rules with having the flu on campus is that you have to quarantine yourself until your fever subsides, meaning no trips to the places I go every day, like the Coffee Closet, Harris Dining Hall or the smaller dining halls, or the library. When I was little, my parents used to take amazing care of me. They would buy me Gatorade, make me soup with crackers, get me tea with honey or popsicles to cure a sore throat. Being sick while living far from your family is tough. However, in the small and tight-knit community that is Conn it’s easy to get help. My friends have been amazing caretakers whenever I get sick. They’ve brought me medicine, my favorite food — Panera Bread’s chicken noodle soup — and kept me company.
As with any new experience you learn how to best operate in your space over time from tips from your friends and the community. Like learning where buildings are, which buildings are for what, and what stuff to bring to school. I’m going to save you some time by giving you a few tips for surviving being sick away from home:
- Go to Student Health Services (SHS) as soon as you feel sick/as soon as possible. They are able to diagnose your ailment and give you medicine. They also have tips on how to get better quickly, inform your professors of class absences, and can get medicines ordered to the mailroom, saving a trip to a pharmacy.
- Pro Tip: During times when I have been very sick, I have asked for some supplies from SHS and they have been super helpful with goodie bags full of: cough drops, canned soups, Gatorade and crackers.
- Don't be afraid to ask your friends for some help grabbing food from the dining halls. If you lend your friends your Camel Card, they can inform staff at the dining halls that you are contagious and they will provide containers to transport meals to keep you fed and happy.
- Don't spread your sickness. Wear a facemask and wash your hands when going around campus so you don't inevitably get your friends sick.
- Reach out to professors. Most of them will be very sympathetic and, if you're like me and get sick for over a week, it’s important to make sure you don't fall behind.