Oh, The Places You’ll Blow Your Nose!
If you’re like me, you have a cold pretty much all winter long. If you’re also like me, it’s never quite bad enough to justify skipping class, but you’ll get a mono test anyway at the Health Center just for peace of mind. Being sick at college can be hard, but it can also be a reason to utilize some great resources here on campus. Here are my tried and true do’s and don’t’s for coping with the Kenyon Krud:
— Go to the Health Center. Even if your cold is manageable on its own, the Cox Health and Counseling Center is still worth a visit, and you can walk away feeling better with some industrial-strength cough drops on the house (they make your whole mouth go numb, but sometimes that’s what you need).
— Find a listening ear. While staving off illness last fall, I found it comforting to talk to my mom on the phone. She would tell me whether or not my voice sounded croakier than last week, and gave me advice that I already knew but was nice to hear. There’s something reassuring about someone 700 miles away reminding you to drink tea and get enough sleep.
— Nap when you can, where you can. Although I’m normally not a napper in the slightest, when I get sick, resting during the day is necessary for me to function. There’s nothing like your own bed, but I live in the New Apartments, and walking to the northernmost part of campus just to catch a few Zs before dinner often isn’t feasible. My go-tos on South Campus are third-floor Ascension (because of the quiet and the comfy couches, duh) and the bean bags on the first floor of the library.
— Isolate yourself at home. It can be tempting to spend the whole weekend curled up in bed, but getting out of your room or apartment can be a much-needed change of scenery, even if it’s just for an hour or so. When I was battling a particularly brutal cold during my first year, I remember getting up at 10 a.m. on Saturday, after a Friday night consisting of me, Netflix and my trusty box of tissues, and needing to get out of my room (pictured above). I wasn’t quite up to a full meal at Peirce Dining Hall, so I wandered over to Wiggin Street Coffee from my room in Norton Hall, stopping to pick up my mail at the post office. I bought a bagel and latte to go, and brought them back to my room. Even though it was just a short trip, it gave me the energy and small amount of socialization that I needed, and it ended up giving me the boost that I needed to have a calm but productive weekend.
— Avoid Peirce. While I’ll be the first to admit that eating in a public dining hall packed full of people can be nerve-wracking, regularly going to Peirce for meals makes me feel like more of a human when my throat is scratchy and sore and my nose is dripping non-stop. Even if it’s just a stop through the servery to grab a cup of tea and an apple to go, it usually makes me feel better. Eating healthy is always a struggle for me when I’m sick, and as I don’t normally buy fruits and vegetables on my infrequent trips to Mount Vernon’s Kroger, it’s my only consistent source of fresh produce. (Ed.: Please don't go to Peirce if you're contagious.)
Overall, my biggest advice is to remember that Kenyon is a community, and that it’s okay to ask for help when you need it. It’s okay to text your friend asking for them to bring you a paper cup full of cereal because getting out of bed doesn’t seem like an option. It’s okay to go to bed at 8 p.m. sometimes, or to sleep in until 11 a.m. College is important, but so is your health. It’s all about finding the right balance.