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Why Everyone in College Keeps Getting Sick

Why Everyone in College Keeps Getting Sick

In college, students have the opportunity to explore new places, new subjects, and new lifestyles. Unfortunately, they also have the opportunity to experience new diseases.

Because so many people are crammed into such a small area, universities tend to be crawling with different diseases that can keep students (and professors) out of class. In some cases, these diseases can pose extreme health risks ― which means staying healthy and disease-free should be of paramount importance.

The Disease Factories that are College Campuses

Before students can set foot on college campuses, many universities require them to receive immunizations for several illnesses that the greater population should never encounter. Vaccines for meningococcal meningitis, pertussis, and human papillomavirus aren’t mandatory for any other life event, so why must college students receive them?

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The answer is simple: university campuses are disgusting. The primary problem, to almost no one’s surprise, lies with the students. The vast majority of campus populations are composed of brand-new adults, recently removed from their parents’ houses and experiencing dramatic lifestyle changes in short periods of time. Though these young people are supposed to assume adult-level responsibility, few practice standard levels of hygiene: throwing out rotting food, regularly cleaning dishes, clothing, and linens, washing hands properly, etc.

Worse, most college students develop bad habits such as neglecting sleep, eating poorly, socializing wildly, and experiencing untenable amounts of stress, which weaken their immune systems and make them more susceptible to contagious disease. The result is a mass of dirty, vulnerable bodies speaking, coughing, and kissing all in the same space, spreading germs back and forth, and creating a haven for disease.

Best Strategies for Avoiding Disease

Perhaps the best way to avoid succumbing to sickness throughout one’s college career is to stay far away from campuses and choose online courses, instead.

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However, for the millions of students who opt to go away to college, there are other solutions. The first was already mentioned above: vaccination. Despite anti-vaxers’ claims, vaccines are quite possibly the primary reason the mortality rates in developed countries are so low. Becoming immunized from certain diseases before attending college is as important as becoming immunized before traveling to certain countries. At the very least, students should obtain the following vaccines on their necessary schedules:

  • Meningococcal conjugate vaccine
  • TDAP (tetanus, diphtheria, and acellular pertussis) vaccine
  • HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine
  • Seasonal influenza

Additionally, students should practice good hygiene. All hygiene-related rules from parents’ houses apply in college, which means students should avoid sharing food, drink, and linens, have a laundry schedule, shower regularly, and brush their teeth well. Pursuing a degree in public health will equip students with the knowledge of how to stay healthy and keep others safe as well. However, there are a few additional rules students should follow while living in cramped university housing:

Don’t wash dishes in the bathroom. Only slobs eat where they, you-know, so it doesn’t make sense to bring eating utensils in there, either. Most dorms have community kitchens with more sanitary sinks for washing up after meals.

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Always dry off completely. Whether the moistness comes from sweat, rain, or a hot, sanitizing shower, students should try to get dry as soon as possible. Damp conditions are ideal for all sorts of bacteria and fungus, especially when coupled with the warmth of a classroom.

Sanitize the places that touch hands. Doorknobs, mini-fridge handles, bed ladders, keyboards, book covers ― they all could use a regular wipe-down with a disinfecting cloth.

Finally, it should go without saying ― then again, all hygiene rules should ― but everyone in college must be sexually cautious. According to the CDC, half of all sexually transmitted diseases diagnosed in the U.S. are among young people between ages 15 and 24, and plenty of disastrous STDs produce few or no outward symptoms. Because the obvious way to avoid STDs usually isn’t tenable, students should always have latex condoms on hand and get tested for STDs on a yearly schedule.

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No college student can entirely avoid getting sick, but by adopting some minor responsibilities in regards to hygiene, most students can dodge the deadliest diseases. Then, everyone can happily and healthfully explore the new opportunities available only on college campuses.

Featured photo credit: Savannah River Site – CCBY2.0License via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 13, 2019

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

How to Get out of a Rut: 12 Useful Ways to Get Unstuck

Have you gotten into a rut before? Or are you in a rut right now?

You know you’re in a rut when you run out of ideas and inspiration. I personally see a rut as a productivity vacuum. It might very well be a reason why you aren’t getting results. Even as you spend more time on your work, you can’t seem to get anything constructive done. While I’m normally productive, I get into occasional ruts (especially when I’ve been working back-to-back without rest). During those times, I can spend an entire day in front of the computer and get nothing done. It can be quite frustrating.

Over time, I have tried and found several methods that are helpful to pull me out of a rut. If you experience ruts too, whether as a working professional, a writer, a blogger, a student or other work, you will find these useful. Here are 12 of my personal tips to get out of ruts:

1. Work on the small tasks.

When you are in a rut, tackle it by starting small. Clear away your smaller tasks which have been piling up. Reply to your emails, organize your documents, declutter your work space, and reply to private messages.

Whenever I finish doing that, I generate a positive momentum which I bring forward to my work.

2. Take a break from your work desk.

Get yourself away from your desk and go take a walk. Go to the washroom, walk around the office, go out and get a snack.

Your mind is too bogged down and needs some airing. Sometimes I get new ideas right after I walk away from my computer.

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3. Upgrade yourself

Take the down time to upgrade yourself. Go to a seminar. Read up on new materials (#7). Pick up a new language. Or any of the 42 ways here to improve yourself.

The modern computer uses different typefaces because Steve Jobs dropped in on a calligraphy class back in college. How’s that for inspiration?

4. Talk to a friend.

Talk to someone and get your mind off work for a while.

Talk about anything, from casual chatting to a deep conversation about something you really care about. You will be surprised at how the short encounter can be rejuvenating in its own way.

5. Forget about trying to be perfect.

If you are in a rut, the last thing you want to do is step on your own toes with perfectionist tendencies.

Just start small. Do what you can, at your own pace. Let yourself make mistakes.

Soon, a little trickle of inspiration will come. And then it’ll build up with more trickles. Before you know it, you have a whole stream of ideas.

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6. Paint a vision to work towards.

If you are continuously getting in a rut with your work, maybe there’s no vision inspiring you to move forward.

Think about why you are doing this, and what you are doing it for. What is the end vision in mind?

Make it as vivid as possible. Make sure it’s a vision that inspires you and use that to trigger you to action.

7. Read a book (or blog).

The things we read are like food to our brain. If you are out of ideas, it’s time to feed your brain with great materials.

Here’s a list of 40 books you can start off with. Stock your browser with only the feeds of high quality blogs, such as Lifehack.org, DumbLittleMan, Seth Godin’s Blog, Tim Ferris’ Blog, Zen Habits or The Personal Excellence Blog.

Check out the best selling books; those are generally packed with great wisdom.

8. Have a quick nap.

If you are at home, take a quick nap for about 20-30 minutes. This clears up your mind and gives you a quick boost. Nothing quite like starting off on a fresh start after catching up on sleep.

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9. Remember why you are doing this.

Sometimes we lose sight of why we do what we do, and after a while we become jaded. A quick refresher on why you even started on this project will help.

What were you thinking when you thought of doing this? Retrace your thoughts back to that moment. Recall why you are doing this. Then reconnect with your muse.

10. Find some competition.

Nothing quite like healthy competition to spur us forward. If you are out of ideas, then check up on what people are doing in your space.

Colleagues at work, competitors in the industry, competitors’ products and websites, networking conventions.. you get the drill.

11. Go exercise.

Since you are not making headway at work, might as well spend the time shaping yourself up.

Sometimes we work so much that we neglect our health and fitness. Go jog, swim, cycle, whichever exercise you prefer.

As you improve your physical health, your mental health will improve, too. The different facets of ourselves are all interlinked.

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Here’re 15 Tips to Restart the Exercise Habit (and How to Keep It).

12. Take a good break.

Ruts are usually signs that you have been working too long and too hard. It’s time to get a break.

Beyond the quick tips above, arrange for a 1-day or 2-days of break from your work. Don’t check your (work) emails or do anything work-related. Relax and do your favorite activities. You will return to your work recharged and ready to start.

Contrary to popular belief, the world will not end from taking a break from your work. In fact, you will be much more ready to make an impact after proper rest. My best ideas and inspiration always hit me whenever I’m away from my work.

Take a look at this to learn the importance of rest: The Importance of Scheduling Downtime

More Resources About Getting out of a Rut

Featured photo credit: Joshua Earle via unsplash.com

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