I didn’t go to class last week. A disclaimer: I’m not one of those people — the kind who view lectures and seminars as obstacles to “experiencing college.” I love my classes. I love my professors. I think my major is just about the greatest gift I’ve ever given myself. I didn’t go to class last week because I physically could not leave my apartment... not even for my midterm that Tuesday. Four days before the vaccine was distributed to all on campus, I came down with the swine flu. I could go into detail about how it all felt (like having a sweaty elephant sit on you, if you must know) but the truth is, the physical symptoms of the flu were hardly the worst part of the experience. During my spell of swine, I have never felt lonelier in my entire life. For four days I lived in utter isolation; my closest friend was Michael Bluth from Arrested Development. My roommates ceased to exist, somehow. When one of them returned from buying me Gatorade and chicken broth, she tapped on the door to my bedroom. “Your stuff is on the kitchen counter,” she said. “I don’t want to come in there.” I also became unbearably timid during the illness, finding it painfully difficult to call up a friend to ask for a box of tissues or a bottle of ginger ale. Instead I sat alone in my little room, talking to my mother, mourning the loss of my social life. When Friday rolled around, I was thrilled to have finally regained enough strength to leave the apartment. Granted, I turned in early after a meek attempt at a night out (try ordering hot water with lemon and whiskey at a bar — the reaction is priceless), but the healthy dose of human contact proved just the medicine I needed. Saturday I went to CVS on my own and even managed a 30-minute stint at the gym. My midterm was successfully rescheduled and my friends started to feel comfortable hugging me again. Small victories, yes, but I can’t stress enough the appreciation I now have for those humdrum activities I’ve always taken for granted. Maybe the swine flu was just what I needed to gain a little perspective. Having recovered, I finally understand what my mother is always telling me: “I know you’re stressed, honey, but at least you have your health.”


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