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Kelleen Cullison

Help Me, I'm Dying - My First Cold In College

by Kelleen Cullison | Nov 07, 2016

I'm getting sick, I think. It happens every year. It's never anything serious like the flu (my mom drags me to Walgreens for the shot the first day the temperature dips below 60), but annually I'll get a cold, and then inevitably, an upper respiratory infection. Gross, right? The only difference is that this year, my mom isn't around to get me over the counter antibiotics, or tell me when (and when I'm not) too sick to go to school. She's not here to make sure I'm stocked up on tissues and I most definitely don't have a heating pad in my dorm room. Mom isn't here to take care of me, and it feels like the biggest "Welcome to Adulthood" kick ever. So the key to beating the cold, the aches, the strep throat, and the overall crud in general? Beat it to the door.

  1. Drugstore Run. NOW.

    I don't care if you aren't sick yet, because you could feel crappy at any moment, and I can guarantee you aren't going to feel up for a tissue and sleep medicine run when your head is pounding and you have to figure out how to steer the car with one hand because you have to blow your nose every 10 seconds (and with bathroom paper towel, because you didn't buy tissues beforehand). Grab the essentials, Nyquil, cough drops, tissues, and Tylenol. And call mom too, so she can lead you through the aisles via cell phone.

  2. Prevention

    I know it's a long shot, but buy some vitamins. Take some Airborne-C. Start drinking a glass of orange juice at breakfast every day. Trust me when I tell you that the day you wake up with a running nose is not the day to start taking vitamins. It’s too late for that. And if you take this stuff, and still get the cold, it's going to soften the blow—I promise.

  3. Probably go to class.

    It seems like the hardest thing you'll ever do. You've got a headache and a runny nose, and your whole body hurts. But can you focus? Are you actually watching the Netflix as you lay "dying" or is it just background noise? What's going on in class today? Weigh your options. If you can't get yourself out of bed, or if you tried going to a class earlier and you were so sick you didn't hear a thing the professor said, then okay, stay in your dorm for today. Email your professors (and get the notes from someone else, don't ask the prof for a recap), and take the day off. But if you can still get something out of class (and aren't contagious!), go. That way when you really are sick, your professor will most likely be much more understanding.

  4. Go to Health Services
    It's not just an office. They actually want you to come in—it’s their job. If you're feeling sick after a few days, and it only seems to be getting worse, go. They're located on the first floor of Calvin Ulrey, and really nice. They accept walk-ins, but if everyone else is feeling as sick as you, they might ask you to make a later appointment. Also, every time I go in there, one of the service dogs has been in there. And nothing makes you feel better than a dog.

It seems like the end of the world (trust me, I'm the biggest baby when it comes to getting sick) but be proactive. The more you stay on top of your immune system, the less severe the illness will feel, and it'll be less likely your grades will take a hit. Plus, it'll impress your mom.

Until next time!


Kelleen Cullison ’20 is pursuing an English major and minors in Journalism and Peace Studies. She hopes to work as an editor for a publishing company, and hopes to help current and prospective Manchester students avoid the mistakes she is currently making.