Tag Archives: college life

Get a flu shot and beat the second Radford Plague

Ah, dorm life. The first couple weeks of Freshman year are debatably the most hypersocial time of your college career. You may binge on your newfound freedom and spend every waking moment with your new group of friends or partying until you can’t remember them. Or you might have been the type that stayed inside all day, despite several knocks on the door by the RA to leave your door open to socialize. Either way, you’re heavily encouraged to get out there and meet new people.

Then someone in your group of friends gets sick, but they don’t want to miss a moment of hanging out, so they decided to socialize anyway. Next thing you know, everyone in your group is sick, and everyone brings that sickness back to their roommates, and they, in turn, make their friends sick. So begins the annual event known as the Radford Plague.

getting a shot
“Then someone in your group of friends gets sick, but they don’t want to miss a moment of hanging out, so they decided to hang out anyway. Next thing you know, everyone in your group is sick, and everyone brings that sickness back to their roommates, and they, in turn, make their friends sick.”

You’re almost never alone in a dorm. You may wash your hands on the hour, or take a cocktail of immune boosters to keep you healthy, but your roommate might not be, and that makes you just as vulnerable.

With flu season coming up, you can protect yourself from the second Radford Plague by getting vaccinated and encouraging your friends to do the same.

Flu shots are the subject of some controversy, with critics questioning its effectiveness, as well as any number of government conspiracy theories to control the population. Such absurdities won’t be gratified here, but it’s important to understand how the vaccine works before judging whether it’s right for you.

When you get vaccinated, you’re injected with dead influenza particles, which your body then learns to make antibodies to protect against. So when you actually do come in contact with the virus, you’re already prepared to beat it. The reason some may not find it effective is because the CDC provides a flu shot for what it believes will be the most common strain of the flu, but this may not be the strain you contract. As such, the flu vaccine can never be 100% effective.

For those afraid of needles, the flu vaccine is also available in nasal spray form. Initial studies also seem to suggest that this form may actually be more effective than the shots.

Remember also that getting vaccinated is not only about protecting yourself. There is a small population that cannot be vaccinated. The elderly, and those with HIV and AIDS can have immune problems that prevent them from creating the antibodies to fight disease. Imagine being the one who brings a common cold to your group of friends and then finding out that a friend was immunocompromised and you inadvertently put them in the hospital. You have a responsibility to keep those around you safe, and you can do so by getting vaccinated.

This flu season, take care of yourself and your friends.

It’s perfectly okay to be selfish

We’re told from the time we’re in preschool that caring for other people should be a top priority. Girls especially feel the pressure to be nurturing, because of the expectation that we will someday be mothers.  However, I reject this premise.

I have the motherly instincts of a female great white shark. I’ve never been very motherly. The idea of squeezing a human out of my body creeps me out, and the idea of raising that human seems like a huge inconvenience. Many older women tell me that someday the instincts will settle in and my ovaries will send me on a mission to get pregnant. However, I don’t sense that side of me ever coming out.

As a newly single person, I’ve realized how important it is to take care of my own needs before anyone else’s. Taking care of yourself is so important in order to be happy in any relationship. As young, unmarried adults, we’re afforded a privilege that we must give up once we become parents: the right to be selfish.

Once you have a child, it can be much more difficult to go on trips or buy nice things for yourself. Raising a child is a huge expense. I know from experience that there have been times that my parents have made huge sacrifices just so I can have something nicer than what they have.

Our society is obsessed with procreation. Many couples feel the pressure to pop out babies the moment they exchange vows. I hope that when I’m married, we don’t feel that pressure and can enjoy each other while also doing the things we want to do.

Being selfish while you’re in college is also very important. You have to realize that your needs and future are the most important thing to focus on while you’re young. You can’t risk that in order to care for a significant other or a friend. It’s extremely important that we make our priorities our top priority.

Many people argue that caring for others is noble — something we need to practice daily. I believe that putting your needs before anyone else’s is vital to surviving college and life as a young adult. It’s okay to care for others, but we can’t neglect our own needs to serve someone else.

Our own selves are the only thing we’re born with and take to the grave. Our own accomplishments, passions, and desires need to always be at the forefront of our daily activities. It’s easy to get lost in a relationship as a young adult and feel the need to care for someone else. However, we should all take a step back and look at ourselves, make a decision to be selfish and go after the things we want most — without letting others convince us that their needs and problems have become ours.

Don’t have time for a pet? Think again

Many people argue that college kids shouldn’t have pets because they take up time, effort, and resources. While I agree that many college kids are much too busy or don’t have the resources to properly care for an animal, I don’t believe that is the case for most college kids.

Having a dog does take some extra time, but not everyone can have the perfect home for a dog where he or she will be spoiled and given a perfect environment. Most people have many other obligations that they would have to balance with a pet, but that’s okay.

Thousands of animals are put to death every year because they couldn’t find a home. Animal shelters are extremely over-crowded and no-kill shelters can be very hard to come by. Because of this, I don’t think you have to fit a tight list of criteria to be a pet parent. Sometimes I see billboards encouraging adults to adopt children. These boards often say that “you don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.” I think this saying should also apply to pet parents.

It takes love and care to be a good pet owner. Graphic by Katie Gibson
It takes love and care to be a good pet owner. Graphic by Katie Gibson

Having a dog or a cat is like having a child in some ways–but for the most part, dogs and cats are much less high-maintenance. Dogs can easily be left to roam the house while you’re at work. It’s not only illegal but obviously unethical to leave a baby free to “roam” the house while you’re in class or at work.

College kids may not have the most ideal situations for a pet, but who does? College students are much more flexible in their schedules than other adults are. I get to spend quite a bit of time at home with my dog, even though I have a full class schedule and a part-time job. With training, dogs learn that their owners aren’t going to be gone all day and find ways to entertain themselves with toys or naps.

Whether you have a full-time job or a full-time class schedule, chances are you may not think you have time for a pet. However, I believe you can make it work if you want to. There are so many wonderful pets out there waiting for homes, and in my opinion having to wait for their owner to get off work is a much better situation than being in a shelter with little human contact. It’s also most certainly better than being put to sleep just because someone was told they won’t be a good enough pet owner.

Treat yo’self

Many of us have already failed to make our New Year’s resolutions come true, especially about diets or exercising. Diets and exercise are particularly hard when it’s well below freezing outside and all you want to do is enjoy your electric blanket. Even if you have been snacking on Doritos while binge-watching “Bates Motel” on Netflix, it’s important to remember that it’s still the beginning of the year,.You have quite a while to make yourself proud this year.

Personally, I think New Year’s resolutions are just destined to fail. It seems like every time I try to set goals for the new year, I’m so hard on myself that I just get discouraged and give up. It’s important that we all remember that we need to be patient with ourselves and to not punish ourselves with painful diets or going too hard at the gym.

My mantra when I’m trying to eat healthier is, “one good meal won’t make you lose weight, and one bad meal won’t make you fat.” It’s important to find a good balance. The last thing you want to do when trying to diet is to take away all of the foods that you most enjoy.

I have never–and will never–consider salad a meal unless there’s a chicken breast involved in it. It makes me cringe when I see girls Many of us have already failed to make our New Year’s resolutions come true, especially about diets or exercising. Diets and exercise are particularly hard when it’s well below freezing outside and all you want to do is enjoy your electric blanket. Even if you have been snacking on Doritos while binge-watching “Bates Motel” on Netflix, it’s important to remember that it’s still the beginning of the year,.You have quite a while to make yourself proud this year.

picking at salads they clearly don’t like as they sigh about their diet. Dieting shouldn’t feel like a prison sentence. You should still eat foods that you like and treat yourself every now and then.

I’m no nutritionist, but I believe the best way to make yourself feel good and to treat your body right is to limit your alcohol intake. I’ve never woken up hungover and thought, “wow, I’m really glad I did that.” Drinking not only causes a lot of shame and confusion, it’s incredibly bad for your body. I like to get tipsy from time to-time and have fun, but that shouldn’t be a weekly thing. It’s easy in college to lose track of just how much you’re drinking in a week. Last semester I limited myself to one night of heavy drinking every two weeks. Not surprisingly, I lost a bit of weight. On top of that, I felt better and more positive.

Finally, the most important thing to keep in mind when pursuing your health-related New Year’s resolutions, is a goal . It’s easy to set marks such as, “I want to lose ten pounds by spring break.” However, a more graceful solution is to not focus on the numbers on the scale, but to focus on the way you feel. If you feel weak or displeased with yourself, find ways to create positive feelings. I’ve found that doing yoga and eating something that tastes good and is good for me always makes me feel more at ease.

If going to the gym or eating a nutritious meal will make you feel better, do that. If you’ve had a bad day and all you want to do is eat a big bowl of ice cream, do it. One bad meal and one bad day won’t completely ruin your goals, so long as those goals are centered around your happiness.

 

 

In defense of failure

I firmly believe that every student should fail at least one class during his or her academic career. Attention has too long been focused on excellence, achievement and realizing one’s full potential. This obsession is not only exhausting, but unnecessarily exclusive. Failure’s noble tradition has been ignored and due to the peculiar qualifications of the smart person, every member of this distinguished group must immediately rise to this unique challenge. Continue reading In defense of failure

The case for early experience

This is one of my favorite times of year, and not just because the Christmas cups are back at Starbucks and Thanksgiving break is all but here. No, I love mid-to-late fall because I get a huge kick out of listening to my high school friends’ college application updates and other upperclassmen adventures. Not only is it exciting to find out what schools everyone’s aiming for, but their tales of senior homecoming and graduation applications are something of a nostalgia trip for me. It’s funny how the same thrills (and the same problems) show up for class after class, year after year. Continue reading The case for early experience

Costume confidential

This upcoming Halloween day, students around campus are preparing to light their jack-o’-lanterns, scare their roommates and consume metric tons of candy — even if it’s the middle of the week and classes are still in session. There’s no shame in enjoying the autumnal festivities, even if we are (allegedly) mature young adults who ought to have grown out of such things. After all, part of the fun of Halloween lies in embracing a different side of yourself; you can be anything you want to be when you put on your Halloween costume. Continue reading Costume confidential

The head or no head debate

Of course only students over the age of 21 consume alcohol, and those who do drink in moderation. Many 21-year olds have their own favorite beers, and when they fill their cups there is a debate going on. A debate on how much, if any, head (foam) on the top of your beer leads to the best flavor.

Despite the debate of whether or not to leave a layer of head on the top of your beer, one would have to understand the different beer styles and flavors in order to appreciate the drink they drink. Continue reading The head or no head debate

Finals week: Is there a simpler solution?

It’s the end of the year and finals are around the corner. For those classes that have projects, there is less stress since most projects are due during the last weeks of class, rather than finals week. Finals week, in general, is very stressful. It’s the last way we can control what grade we will get in the class. However, finding out what time your final will be held only serves to add to the stress of studying. Continue reading Finals week: Is there a simpler solution?

Snob U? Not our RU

For anyone following the Republican presidential race, this year has already been a long and interesting struggle for supremacy. With the field narrowed down to former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, former Sen. Rick Santorum, and (technically, still) former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich and former Rep. Ron Paul, the months leading up to the August convention promise to provide an abundance of facts, opinions, promises and more than a few outrageous sound bites. Continue reading Snob U? Not our RU