Sick in college

Catt Minster is a magna cum laude Muhlenberg College graduate, class of 2014. She studied Theater (acting concentration) and Media & Communications, as a double major. In college, Catt was actively involved in the Muhlenberg Theater Association as an actor and stage manager, was a member of the Delta Zeta Sorority, and was part of the Muhlenberg Fashion Society. Catt had several internships in marketing and public relations, including positions at ArtsQuest, Larry Singer Studios, International Fidelity Insurance Company, and SWB&R. These internships honed and enhanced her passion for writing. As a graduate, Catt still writes on a freelance basis, and is a full-time film, TV, and commercial actor based out of New York City. On the side, Catt models and is a server. In her spare time, she loves to binge-watch her favorite television shows, laugh with friends, ice skate, and paint.

Contacted new roommate? Check. Class schedule? Check. Mini-fridge complete with assortment of all the best soft drinks? Check. Clearly, you are ready to go to college, live away from mom and dad, and begin your life as a real adult.
That’s what I thought too, until I woke up one morning feeling hot, stuffy, and in need of a little TLC. But, where were mommy and daddy, when I needed homemade chicken noodle soup and cough syrup the most?
I thought I could handle my first case of campus-plague. But, I didn’t know how to take care of myself. My roommates were just as dumbfounded as I was, and my significant other didn’t want to be anywhere near me, fearing that he would get sick too.
When you’re sick in college, it’s a little different than being sick in high school. Sure, you can miss class. You won’t get detention for forgetting a doctor’s note. But, you might miss some key information that will be on your final exam, even if your crush in Shakespeare class lets you borrow his or her notes.
So what do you do? All those new friends and experiences also bring lots of new germs. When you’re sick in college, it’s harder than being sick at home. Yes, there is an on-campus doctor, but it’s not the same as your lifelong pediatrician who has smiling jungle animal wallpaper that you’ve seen since you were four. Not to mention, the doctor’s office can be on the other side of campus, with horrible wait times. College will teach you to be your own mommy and daddy, and your own nurse. This is one of those lessons you learn outside the classroom.
Therefore, try to prevent the inevitable as best you can. Make your own doctor bag, complete with all the necessities mom and dad usually provide for you. Have some ibuprofen, cough syrup, cough drops, a thermometer, tissues, and some fun stuff too, like DVDs to watch in bed, and ingredients to make your favorite snack mom used to make when you were sick at home. Don’t forget to share your doctor bag with your roomie if they get sick, because then maybe he or she can be your bedside nurse next time, too. But, if roomie-dearest uses up all your decongestant, make sure you get a fresh supply. Nobody wants to get caught off guard when germs knock on your door.
To avoid getting sick in the first place, don’t munch on all the junk food your BFF down the hall shares with you at four AM. Eat fruits and veggies to give your body nutrients to fight off the germs the kid next to you in Sociology 101 sneezed on your desk. And no matter how “cool” you want to be, avoid drugs and alcohol. Aside from the obvious dangers of these substances, being under the influence may decrease your body’s ability to fight off infection. So, even if you do make the choice to reach for a beer, try to reach for a bottle of water as frequently as possible. And even if you’re partying with a bottle of water instead of a bottle of vodka, don’t stay out too late. Getting adequate sleep, no matter how hard it is between friends, clubs, sports, and studies, is vital to preventing illness.
College is a lot of fun, and you finally get to experience the thrill of freedom and independence. But, with great freedom, comes great responsibility. You have to be responsible for you and your health. It’s hard. It’s no fun. But eventually, everyone gets sick in college, especially freshman year. Be prepared and take care of yourself, so you don’t miss those classes, parties, and fun campus events. Nobody wants four of the best years of their lives to be spent sick in bed!

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