When Lergy Strikes!
As any first year student will know, the importance of your ‘Fresher Bubble’ is key to your overall university experience. The wild nights, the groggy mornings and freedom to survive off a diet of Smart Price noodles and Frijj, should your desires so wish. Your little university bubble, where you live independently and form important bonds with newly acquired friends and acquaintances becomes your home away from home and let’s be honest, we all relish the opportunity to escape the keen eyes of our parents, feeling that actually, yes we have finally grown up and are ‘doing it for ourselves’. Add to this the fact that amongst all the partying and drinking (in my case, possibly keeping Brother’s Strawberry Cider in production alone) you are expected to manage workloads greater than ever before, your first year can be a whirlwind of excitement, nerves, and in some cases, pressure. And the last thing that you want is for something to whip all that away and send you back from whence you came…..
And so it happened. The runny nose, dizziness, the fuzzy head and the throat that felt like a cheese grater had been surgically implanted somewhere deep within my gullet….. This was no ordinary fresher’s flu. Just weeks into second semester, we had started working hard on subjects for our end of year exams. Although it’s commonplace for people to say ‘Oh, first year doesn’t count for anything’, to me it did. Having finished my A levels with results I always felt under my own admission could have been better, I had embarked on my course (Law, should you care) determined to throw myself into it and achieve the best I could. A trip to Leeds General Infirmary (an absolute warren of a place, particularly for someone who regularly loses her car in a car park) confirmed the inevitable – Glandular Fever. A now contaminated student, I was not only unable to attend class, but was also avoided like the plague by many fellow students, unsure whether my swollen throat and unsightly white tonsils were infectious. More importantly for me, I was left panicking about my university work, more so as I had been advised to return home. For those of you who have had the wonderful, almost psychedelic experience of Co-Codamol plus medical drugs, you will understand only too well the difficulty of even speaking comprehensibly, never mind completing essays on the subject of Britain’s Constitutional Law. For those that haven’t, imagine yourself as a 60’s raver, exploring further Einstein’s Mass-Energy Equivalence formulae, whilst under the influence of various things now thankfully illegal. You’re won’t get very far in your endeavours.
But, all factors aside, I did succeed in keeping on top of things and did well, even achieving a cheeky first class in one module. For students thinking that this all sounds familiar or those who may encounter such difficulty in future, I’ve some top tips just to keep you positive when plague strikes!
1) YOUR UNIVERSITY IS THERE FOR YOU – They want you to succeed as much as you do. Keep in touch with tutors, check online boards. Many universities post lecture notes online so this is a great key way to keep up, wherever you may find yourself.
2) USE PEOPLE – not in a derogatory way, but flatmates and coursemates make wonderful nursemaids. Ask them to bring back work and undertake small tasks such as shopping.
3) KNOW YOUR LIMITS – you know when you’ve had enough. Overdoing it won’t aid your recovery, so take a break.
4) ASK! – When you’re struggling ask for help – you’ll be amazed how many people will be at your side.
5) AND FINALLY – when a doctor says don’t drink, don’t. Your medication can play havoc with your level of tolerance. Speaking from experience, the last thing you want to do is explain to a bemused Police Officer, why you needed that traffic cone that you were caught on CCTV stealing.