Campus Spotlight, Student Life

A symphony of sneezes and a chorus of coughs

As summer comes to a close and courses, syllabi, and three-hour lectures slap us all in the face, McGill first years are hit with yet another challenge: The “Frosh flu.Frosh, four days of constant socializing, drinking, and partying, often leaves students mentally and physically burnt out. The Frosh flu presents the same symptoms as the common cold—coughs, sneezes, and congestion—coupled with a general aura of hangover. Here are some tips on how to navigate the pesky and hard-to-shake Frosh flu in your first year on campus.

Lean into the illness

Sit in your lecture hall and let the sounds of phlegm-filled coughing engulf you. Become one with the undercurrent of illness that lingers in the air. Let your body be transported into a state of feverish exhaustion and let the mysterious illness run its course. 

Did you know that COVID-19 is no longer a public health emergency? So, whenever someone coughs near you, you can actually sit a little closer to them. If you still haven’t gotten sick, shame on you; you clearly didn’t spend the first night of classes getting trampled at Muzique. If you still haven’t gotten sick, you clearly value your health over the ever-present FOMO… If you’re not hacking up a storm, are you even having a good time? If you aren’t fighting off a headache every day, can you even call yourself a McGill student? Like all good things, colds do come to an end at some point. 

In interviews with The Tribune, joyful and triumphant froshies shared their experiences overcoming the illness.

“I loved feeling like I was on the precipice of death,” Rachel Mattingly, U0 Arts, said. “Personally I think other people should have thanked me for being so open and vulnerable about my cold.” 

Mia Urban, U0 Arts, similarly expressed her thoughts on recent campus ailments. 

“Nothing warms my heart more than the sweet sounds of nose blowing,” Urban said. 

Go back in time and do Outdoor Frosh 

What better way to avoid getting sick is there than spending three days in the woods with an eclectic group of stoners, Europeans, and overly-intense backpackers? Take it from me—my Outdoor Frosh experience was everything I had hoped and dreamed of. Outdoor Frosh gives you the opportunity to get to know people on a more intimate level—and you do really get to know a group of people when you spend two nights sleeping like sardines, sharing campfire stories, telling jokes, and smelling each other’s farts. It may not be some people’s cup of tea, but to me and many other students, Outdoor Frosh presents a great opportunity for those less interested in a four-day bender. 

On the hike, we filed along the trail one after another, conversing with those in front and behind us. Be strategic about who you decide to walk behind on the hour-long hikes because you could get stuck talking about the prerequisites for mechanical engineering for three kilometres. Luckily, I navigated my way out of those conversations with my typical grace and charm. I eventually found my way to the front and had an invigorating conversation with two Vermonters about skiing and mountain biking. 

Outdoor Frosh was a breath of fresh air compared to the hustle and bustle of Montreal life. Even though we all got close during nights huddled by the fire, we thoroughly avoided the infamous Frosh flu. Unfortunately, we missed out on the opportunity to walk around the city drunk at 8 a.m. wearing matching t-shirts, but you win some, you lose some. 

Do everything you can to recover 

In all seriousness, getting sick is no fun, dampens the mood of pretty much everything, and can set you behind in school. Make sure to eat all of the dining hall oranges you can and stay hydrated. In your free time, maybe pick up a calming hobby like yoga or poetry. Stay sane and power through; you can do it! I am a credible source because I’m taking a class on the archaeology of health and disease next semester. I wish all froshies a speedy recovery and I will see you all in class. 

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