He Said, She Said
My roommates are constatly sick!
Published: Sunday, January 26, 2014
Updated: Sunday, January 26, 2014 23:01
Dealing with sick roommates is my least favorite aspect of college life. The nauseating sounds of their sniffles, their trembling coughs, and their overall messiness contribute to a disastrous experience for all. Although your roommates may be your best friends, it is not your responsibility to take care of them—if you are infected, you risk your physical, academic, and social well-being. When I am sick, I make an effort to isolate myself. I cancel dinner plans, do not attend class, and abandon extracurricular duties. College illnesses not only bring about physical incapacities, but also cause a backup of work—making up two days of classwork, homework, housework, and other responsibilities is nearly impossible.
Despite the fact that you do not want to get sick, do whatever you can to improve the healing process—without getting too close to your roommates, of course. It is necessary to approach the issue of their sickness while you are in the midst of assisting them with something, whether that be picking up medicine from the pharmacy or making them a bowl of soup. If they perceive that you are not just interested in eliminating their annoying presence from the dorm, but are truly concerned with their well-being, they will be much more receptive to seeking medical attention. It’s all about perception.
Throughout your roommate’s sickness, you must also take care of yourself and your immune system. Frequently wash your hands, spray the dorm with Lysol, spray your roommates with Lysol, and do not share anything with each other. College is not meant to be a 5-star hotel experience—it is a test of your endurance, tolerance, and maturity to deal with every kind of issue.
First and foremost, let me assure you that the behavior of your roommates is unacceptable—your dorm (be it a double, a quad, an 8-man, or whatever configuration of a room ResLife stuck you in) is just as much yours as it is anyone else’s. If you don’t feel like the space promotes your overall health, it’s time to change the space. That being said, the space also belongs to the sick ones currently filling your trashcan with tissues.
My first inclination? Find a new space for a while. If you’re not a homebody, don’t be in your room more than you have to be. Do homework in the library, camp out in Lower, grab a coffee with a friend who isn’t constantly coughing in your face. The more you can stay out of the room, the less likely you are to get sick.
If you don’t want to be exiled due to illness, then it’s time to say something. When it comes to roommates, communication is key. If you aren’t comfortable, you have every right to speak up—and you should. It might be time to get an RA involved. It is also in no way your responsibility to take care of sick friends—you are not yet a parent. (A call to Mom in this situation probably wouldn’t hurt, though.)
Whether you decide to take a stand and stay home or avoid that sickness like the plague (pun intended), make your health a priority. Carry hand sanitizer, wear that cold weather gear you have that’s currently stuffed under your bed, buy your own box of tissues. A tip from a roommate of my own? Leave some Clorox wipes in some prominent places—maybe they’ll take the hint.