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A [Sick] Day in the Life

Fátima walks us through her first sick day at Carleton.

Fátima walks us through her first sick day at Carleton.

Zombie-like students drag their feet. Sudden sharp noises keep me alert. I avoid possibly contaminated surfaces at all costs. This is the scariest time of the year, and no, it is not Halloween. Something worse–way worse. Brace yourselves: cold and flu season is here!

In fact, Carleton requires every community member to get the flu vaccine (I got my first one ever just a couple of weeks ago!). Still, the lowering temperatures and a (mostly) lifted mask mandate make the dreaded common cold an inevitable occurrence. I am not usually the type to get sick, so when the first symptoms showed up, I was in blatant denial. My “it’s just allergies” and “nothing Vicks VapoRub won’t solve” attitude eventually evolved into “Mom, how much Tylenol is too much Tylenol?” midnight texts and “I am definitely going to need more tissues” thoughts as I hoarded even more toilet paper in my room.

As was bound to happen, the cold caught up to me and I woke up on a Friday morning with the unfortunate realization that I was sick. A night of definite fever and chills left me no choice but to email my professors, letting them know that I had to miss class. In a place as hectic as Carleton, where classes are “blink and you miss it” style, that can be quite terrifying. Thankfully, my professors were very supportive and ensured that I wouldn’t miss any of the important class topics covered that day.

My SHAC survival kit

Instructions on how to treat a sore throat!
Then, it was time to make a SHAC appointment. Since I was not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 until recently, I had been getting tested at least twice a week. Still, I figured the experts would know better than me. Regardless of the dozens of “mild cold” appointments they must get every week, they treated me with the utmost kindest and compassion. After diagnosing me with the cold (shocking, I know), they gave me a survival kit that included everything from the most needed tissues, to cough drops and tea.

My SHAC survival kit
Everything from hand sanitizer to tea bags!
The rest of my recovery process was up to me. I tried to get some well-deserved rest in my wonderful bed. I have also been drinking more water than usual (stay hydrated, kids!) and enjoying some of Sayles’ fine tea selection (I would highly recommend the hot chai). Finally, I have accepted that my tropically-raised body can no longer survive on light jackets, so I have started to wear layers and more layers.Surviving a college illness can be tough, but it is not impossible. Getting through it feels like a little adulting victory, just one of the many little joys you’ll experience during your first weeks of college.

Fátima strives to learn everything about everything, but is especially interested in Sociology/AnthropologyPsychology, and Disney! As a freshman, she can’t wait to introduce her peers to her native Guatemalan culture, put in practice her newly acquired ASL skills, and play in the snow for the first time. In her free time, Fátima can be found watching cartoons, poorly playing the ukulele, or desperately missing her dog, Cosmo. Meet the other bloggers!