Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

A free and responsible press serving the UMass community since 1890

Massachusetts Daily Collegian

Prioritize your health at UMass

How to cope with sickness on campus
(Collegian File Photo)

College is a cesspool. Within a month of being at school everyone I came into contact with had expressed that they had a sore throat, a terrible cough, a runny nose or even a fever. Nonetheless, except for the ones with fevers, students continue to go to class and into the outdoors where they come into contact with other people. Even in the comfort of our rooms we aren’t entirely safe, especially if our roommates get sick. We all mindlessly participate in spreading our sick germs around campus by sneezing, coughing, touching communal touching points and then absent-mindedly touching our faces. Or even worse, we will drink out of the same water bottle as someone else without thinking twice. Illnesses can spread like wildfire on campus and it starts to seem like no amount of hand sanitizer, Purell wipes, Emergen-C or immune-boosting vitamins can stop it. Nonetheless, these products of our good judgement are really our only barriers from sickness.

I was sick for about a week and a half and to say I was struggling is an understatement. I was obsessed with getting better and more importantly, I was obsessed with finding ways to boost my immune system and keep myself from getting sick again. This meant research, so I started with figuring out why college students always seem to be sick. An article from the Washington Post, called “Getting sick in college: How to teach your child to cope on their own” was the holy grail of reassurance that I would be okay if I just slowed down and prioritized my health. Many college students are consumed by how busy they are. College students are notorious for not getting enough sleep. We don’t realize that this is tormenting our bodies and leading us straight into illness. Furthermore, we need to be eating well, not skipping meals or rationalizing not eating because of a lack of time. It’s okay to slow down, call out of work or take a nap instead of going to the library. It’s okay to say, “my health is more important than this assignment right now.”

Yet even getting enough sleep and eating well doesn’t seem to be enough. An article from The Odyssey Online addresses one of the biggest reasons that students are always sick: the “Go Hard or Go Home” mentality. Nightlife at school can cause the healthiest students to become sick. We are encouraged to go hard or go home and we forget that our health is more important than our friends wanting us to go out. On one hand, if we are sick, we shouldn’t drink or smoke at all. It is indeed possible to spend time with our friends without being wasted. Furthermore, it’s important to take pre-emptive measures during nights out to keep from getting sick. Sharing drinks is a big no! Even if your friend doesn’t exhibit symptoms of a cold they might still be contagious. Even though it’s fun to smoke something when you’re drunk, asking to hit your friend’s Juul may lead to two weeks of hacking cough and a runny nose. If you are sharing your Juul, sanitize that pod before you hit it: Purell wipes are only $4.59 on Amazon. These Purell wipes can also be used for wiping things down like bongs. Let’s not try and pretend like some of us don’t smoke weed now and then; we’re in college. Just be smart about it —  sanitize something before you smoke it. It’s okay to be a germaphobe when you live in a cesspool.

When you do become sick, because it’s going to happen at least once whether or not you take all pre-emptive actions, make sure to slow down! It’s okay to call out of work if it means getting better faster. It’s scary to miss class, especially if you think you’ll start falling behind, but your professors will understand as long as you communicate what’s going on. They get sick too. If you do decide to go to class, keep some tea, tissues and hand sanitizer with you. Be smart about what you touch, what you put in your mouth, and especially about the things you share. You have the right to say no when someone who is sick asks to hit your Juul or have a sip of your drink, and you should tell people you’re around to steer clear of you if you are contagious.

Finally, we need to all be more understanding of how college is wearing us down. We are young and able, but we shouldn’t tire ourselves out. Whether it’s communicating with a teacher, going to University Health Services to get a goody bag or investing in some hand sanitizer, don’t forget to put your health first. If you feel that you don’t have the means to buy products to help you while you’re sick, utilize UHS. Get your absent notes from them, use their hand sanitizer and get your money’s worth. Ultimately we are paying to attend this institution, so we should use every resource available to us.


Sonali Chigurupati is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected].

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    AmyOct 17, 2018 at 6:19 pm

    UHS is subpar, it’s dirty and old and the doctors/nurses there are low quality. I go to a local community health organization and it’s actually better, which is sad. Also the student health insurance is a joke, on paper it sounds good but in reality I went to a routine doctor visit and they tried to not pay for it and asked me to justify it.

    Umass doesn’t care about the health of it’s students. Also you shouldn’t be so dull you have to resort to the news and for something so simple as ‘getting sick in college’.