Freshman life from Baltimore, Maryland’s Goucher College
If you expect to meet lots of people in college, then also expect to encounter (if not inhale and embrace) lots of germs. Not that the other students are dirty (although some certainly are), but we are all coming from and being exposed to (inhaling and embracing) different people and places. The first time I got sick, I put off going to the nurse. I mean I’m 18, I’m on my own, and I can handle a sniffle, right? Unfortunately, when the sniffle turned into a full-blown cold, pink eye and an ear infection, I wasn’t quite as strong as I thought.
The nurse was pretty friendly; she gave me ten days of antibiotics, a little speech about taking care of myself in this new environment and sent me on my way. Within a week I was back to my old self and quite healthy (so I thought). Several weeks later, however, I got sick again, but this time I didn’t procrastinate. I headed back to the sweet lady who wasn’t so sweet this time around. I suppose she’d had a long day, and wasn’t in the mood for visitors. This time she gave me some sample allergy pills and blamed my sniffles on “the dusty construction sites around campus.” Never being prone to allergies, I dismissed the nurse’s opinion (and degree) and diagnosed myself with a small head cold. A pack or so of cough drops later I felt better and was able to continue on with my studies.
Last week I went home for Thanksgiving break. As I had not seen my Miami friends since August, I was thrilled at the thought of catching up, exchanging stories and reveling in memories. My prospects were shattered, however, when shortly after the turkey meal, my throat started bothering me. Soon a full-blown sinus infection overwhelmed my body. My parents have always been involved and interested in my life, but I don’t know if I’ve ever seen them this concerned. Sure I was under the weather, but I’m not sure how necessary it was to take a family trip to the doctor that Saturday morning.
Each parent held a little notepad in which they had jotted down questions and concerns for the physician. As the nurse asked the routine questions, my dad piped in, making sure to emphasize that this was the third time in several months that I had gotten sick, and that in the past I have always been quite healthy. Apparently the nurse at school had only given me enough antibiotics to “take the edge off” the infection, but that in order to be cured completely, I needed to take medicine for a longer period of time. Have no fear; my parents had everything under control. Let’s just say they certainly made up for lost parenting time (since I’ve left for school, that is). I don’t mean to complain; it was kind of nice to be cared for, and I’m sure my sister appreciated the break from their glares. I stayed in Miami an extra week, recovering. It has been pretty stressful keeping up with my work, but as my parents say, “health comes first.” I ought to try that line when I get a bad grade.
I have really come to enjoy and appreciate Goucher, but never so much as I have the week that I was forced to stay home. I felt like I was missing out on what had become a part of me. I didn’t like being away from the college bubble, so exposed to the real world. Having plenty of time to recover in the warm Miami weather, I decided to visit my old high school. I loved Miami Killian and would certainly recommend it to anyone. Yet something about going back after I graduated just didn’t seem right. Everyone was really friendly and inviting, but I felt like an intruder in what was once so comfortable.
Although a little sad, it really was the perfect ending to my extended vacation. I realized that it was time to move forward, embrace change, and, use lots of anti-bacterial hand-gel, of course!