A sordid tale of a sickly first year. May you not fall ill like the rest of the class of 2023.

You tap your pencil against your forehead as you squint at the exam before you. You carefully read the first few words and then noise fills the room. Loud, whooping coughs one after another overtake the auditorium. Sneezes interrupt this symphony of sickness. Metal clangs on the floor as people set their water bottles down–another failed attempt in nursing their sore throat.  

While such a day might have been an anomaly back in high school, this situation is a normal day for a Columbia Freshman. 

Take it from an expert; I have been coughing every other minute, blowing my nose at every possible opportunity, and overcome with fatigue every day since NSOP. On the bright side, I’m not alone. It seems as though the entire Freshman Class endures this pain with me. If you inquire a fellow freshman in the elevator with a polite, “How are you?” the response is bound to be something along the lines of “I’m sick and tired and dying.” I guess we’re all in this together, right? 

You’ve heard about the Freshman 15, but let me introduce you to the Freshmen Flu. There are several ways sick Columbia students grapple with their health:

Student A: What’s Sickness?

  • Believes partying is the cure to everything
  • Often seen blowing their nose at EC
  • Wears a tank top to avoid overheating at Frats
    • Later freezes when walking back home
  • Spreads their sickness by sharing their drinks 
  • Dances on tables to forget their poor health conditions 

Student B: The Mom Friend

  • Bought advil, Vitamin C packets, and cough syrup the moment they got sick
  • Takes gummy bear supplements every day 
  • Religiously drinks water and refills their bottle on the hour 
  • Reminds others to sleep early and drink orange juice

Student C: Ignore Everything

  • Complains about the freezing cold in their room
    • Refuses to bundle in blankets
    • Continues to wear shorts
  • Has access to vitamins but doesn’t take any 
  • Lies in bed for hours and constantly talks about their headaches


Which type of student are you? No matter who you are, stay healthy! Take care of yourself, and hopefully, get well soon. 

sneezing via Wikimedia Commons