With new students joining the mix this fall and a sense of renewed hope for a normal year, the campus is brimming with excitement. Yet in the midst of all the shiny new experiences — the giggling between roommates and the wind in your hair as you bike across campus — there comes a time when the smallest reminders make you long for home. Nothing, truly nothing, compares to the first time you get sick in this new, germy kindergarten-like environment, and you feel lost without a mother to take care of you or your usual “sick spot” at home to snuggle into. The idea of dragging yourself out of bed and down the hall just to use the communal bathroom really does not bring the same sense of comfort. We long for care away from home.
My freshman year I was living in Roble, back when there were four people in the now-three-room doubles — yes, they used to have four people in there. Because there were four people, that also meant quadruple the risk of getting sick and then passing it around faster than a round of Rage Cage. There was never not someone sick in my room all of fall quarter, and we all took turns whining and groaning about our sorry states. To our credit, we did all evade the Norovirus plague that swept through East campus.
We missed our homes and the perfect bowls of chicken noodle soup we would receive. We wanted someone to place their hands on our foreheads and tuck the blanket under our feet, even if we grumbled a bit when it was done for us before at home.
Now, as a senior, I have friends who will tuck me in and bring me food if I’m sick. I know more about what meds to take if I am feeling particularly congested, and I can make my own steaming cup of tea. I just wish that when I felt like I was on death’s doorstep battling whatever primordial sickness and two midterms I had, I didn’t have to actually drag myself to death’s doorstep — in other words, Vaden. How difficult can it be to provide a little bit of care while my head is still on my pillow… the answer? Not that difficult.
I now use a virtual healthcare service called Caraway when I don’t want to make that trek, and I can’t help but reflect on how this app would have made the last four years, or at least my freshman year, so much easier. I truly do not get sick as often since my immune system has acclimated — we’ve now made it from “kindergarten” to “third grade” — but it is the little things like laying in bed, that contribute to feeling at home on this campus. Comfort how you want it and where it is best received is truly a lovely experience.
I know my last year will be littered with reflections of what was and what could have been and since my bones feel a little creakier, and I do miss the golden days of my 18-year-old health. Take care of yourselves kids… you never know when cracking your back against a nice lecture chair will stop causing relief and betray you with a shooting pain instead. And take care of your friends too — we all need soup brought to our bedside and a blanket to be tucked in from time to time.