Ask Dr. Jenna*: Tips for Flu Season Away from Home

I think I suffer from a perpetual cold. Maybe it’s spending time outside walking to class, or maybe my immune system is just wimpy, but I swear my nose is drippy from October to March (too much info? maybe).

Sometimes that cold turns into something worse, and you’re stuck in bed, missing class, and wanting your mom to take care of you. Trust me, I’ve been there. Whether you’re already hacking up a lung or desperately trying to avoid it, here are some quick tips for beating (and avoiding) the flu.

Take Preventive Action

Get your flu shot.

ASAP. The Wilce Student Health Center has walk-in hours for flu shots, which cost $30. Depending on your insurance, though, part or all of this cost may be covered. Additionally, places like the CVS Minute Clinic also provide flu shots. As a clarification, you cannot get the flu from the shot. The shot contains dead virus of the most prevalent strains predicted for this year. If you do get sick around the same time, it’s possible you could have picked another variant close to when you were vaccinated.

Wash your hands frequently.

This may seem like a no-brainer, but take a minute to think about all the public things you touch on a regular basis: door knobs, hand rails, even your BuckID can harbor bacteria. If you don’t have time to run to the bathroom constantly (who does?), Bath and Body Works has mini hand-sanitizers in scents that scream fall and are $1 a piece. I know I like to smell like a PSL at all times. If you’re looking for something more traditional, check out CVS or take a CABS ride to Target at Lennox.

Get plenty of sleep and stay hydrated. 

Getting more than 6 or 7 hours a night may seem impossible during midterm season, but make sure you are getting your rest. Your body needs that time to recharge and fight off infection, so if you feel illness coming on, hop into bed an hour or so earlier than you usually do. You’ll be happy you did. Also, be sure you are drinking plenty of water. Sipping from a reusable bottle during lecture will help you pay attention and help drown out virus in your body. If you have a sore throat, there are tons of varieties of tea available on campus (my personal favorite is orange chai)! And if you bring your reusable mug, you can refill for the price of a small, SCORE.


If you are sick, stay home!

Don’t spread your germs to your friends and peers.

It can be nerve-wracking to miss class, especially if attendance is mandatory, but if you’re sick, you’re sick. If you are able, go to the Wilce Center and see a doctor to get an excuse from class. If you are not that ill, just email your professor and/or TA to let them know you won’t be in class. Taking the responsibility to find out what you missed is a good way to earn good graces with them. Most are understanding and offer one or two freebie absences for illness. Also, be sure to grab the lecture notes from a friend or online if they upload them to Carmen.

Again, get plenty of rest and stay hydrated.

At this point in the semester, you probably have a few extra blocks piling up. Kindly ask your roommate to grab you some soup and Powerade from the C-Store. This way, you won’t be missing out on all your nutrients just because you are bedridden.

I hope these tips are helpful for you as cold and flu season pick up.

*I am not a doctor, I just thought the title was clever. If you think something is wrong, definitely seek out medical advice from your primary care provider.

Stay healthy!

The Next Step: Leading in College

February and March are usually an exciting/hectic time for me. Almost everything is due the week before spring break, and you better be studying for that exam you have the week after!

If you’re like I was in my first year, you’ve probably gotten involved in a few student organizations that you are passionate about. You like going to the meetings, but you want to contribute more to the group. As the end of the school year comes around, this might be your chance to take the next step and run for a position! Whether it be a the head of a committee or president of the entire organization, if you’re passionate about the club you are in, don’t be afraid to run! It might be a little intimidating at first, but once you get your foot in the door, you will be glad you did!

After my experience serving as president of an academic honorary this past year, I’ve learned a lot about how leading in college is different from being on prom committee in high school (not that prom wasn’t important; it totally was). Here are my top three tips from my first year as president of a student organization…but these tips can also apply to anyone involved in a student organization (no matter the position)!

1. Get to know people!

In high school, many of us had been with the same kids since at least junior high. In college, you could be leading a group of people you’ve never met before. In the academic honorary system for example, a new class is inducted every year. This can be a tough one right off the bat, but if you don’t know everyone in the organization at least by name, introduce yourself! Friend everyone on Facebook, and be sure you know their face so you can remember their name. The better acquainted you are with the members or committee, the easier communication will be, and more things will get done. 

2. Delegate, delegate, DELEGATE!

Did I say delegate? There can be a steep learning curve when it comes to breaking things up and giving people responsibilities. There isn’t a teacher there to tell you how to run things (like on prom committee). You can’t do everything yourself, and once you try, you will be extremely overwhelmed. Learning to depend on others is one of the most important skills you can take away from being a leader. Collaborate to break up tasks based on convenience, ask for volunteers, and suggest a deadline.

3. Utilize your adviser!

Your student organization adviser will only be as active as you need them to be, but they’ve had experiences with the club in the past and are a wealth of knowledge! When we were planning our annual benefit dance this past February, I started asking my adviser all kinds of questions and wondered why I hadn’t done so before. In the honorary system too, they provide a nice link to past officers and the information they have as well. If anything, they’re a great listening ear as well!

Don’t be afraid to run for a position in a club you’re passionate about! If you want to start small, begin with a committee head and work your way up to the exec board. You’ll be glad you did 🙂