The Gustavian Weekly

Prevent the spread of sickness! | The Gustavian Weekly

By Emily Pratt - Opinion Columnist | December 8, 2017 | Opinion

We have reached the home stretch of the first semester, and with the impending rigor of finals, sometimes our bodies decide to give up early.

The combination of daily stress and several overworked late-nighters (or in some cases, all-nighters) can too easily lead to illness, which certainly isn’t helped by the chilly weather outside.

Once a bug begins, it’s only a matter of time before others catch it, especially when sharing a living space.

There is no foolproof way to stay healthy, but there are some tips I recommend to at least lessen your chances of catching something.

Everyone knows the handwashing speech, but when you’re living in such close proximity with other people it’s important to take that idea several steps further.

Let’s start with what can often become the ‘elephant in the room’:


It’s quite a simple concept.

When the garbage is full, take it out.

Don’t let it pile into a mountain because you don’t know what smells or bacteria will develop from it.

Even if you’re only throwing away plastic wrap from candy and snacks, letting it drift off the top of the pile onto the floor is not a promising start for the state of the rest of your room.

With the amount of schoolwork and extracurriculars to worry about, it’s not surprising the number of students that ignore such a small corner of the room.

If you’re not careful, that corner can become substantially less small as the weeks go by.

I personally don’t have a roommate anymore, but I do live in a suite and share a bathroom with two other girls, and it never ceases to annoy me how they both avoid taking out the trash no matter how full it is.

All it requires is a short study break to rush down to the dumpster and your room is saved.

Rooms don’t have to be spotless, and as college students we shouldn’t expect them to be.

We’re always on the move with something to do.

The more stuff you throw about, the more it looks lived in.

If there’s one thing besides trash that you should avoid accumulating at all costs, it’s dirty dishes.

Some may even argue dishes should be the priority.

Sometimes you’ve got to down your cereal and run, but the dishes themselves should not be left out, unwashed for any more than twelve hours.

Nothing compares to how gross food residue can become or the unwanted visitors it attracts.

Save your roommate some sanity and clean up those dishes as quickly as you can.

Whether you share an apartment style bathroom or a large communal bathroom found in most of the other dorms, most people will agree they are the quickest places to become dirty.

I have lost count of the amount of times I have entered the bathroom to find the sink occupied by unwashed make-up brushes and q-tips.

This was the case last week, and I happened to know the girl using them was sick recently.

It really didn’t come as a surprise when, the next day, I had come down with sniffles and a cough.

It’s quite a simple concept; when the garbage is full, take it out.

Obviously, sickness can’t just be attributed to unclean makeup brushes.

Several other members in the house had also been sick so I didn’t have a high chance of escaping it.

It should be common sense to not leave anything you used when ill lying around without at least washing it first.

I personally feel much better when lying in freshly washed sheets.

It’s your choice to keep your side of the room clean or not, but be courteous of other people’s space.

Taking care of your body is the first step to achieving a high academic profile.

It is so much harder to fully concentrate when you have to get up and blow your nose every ten seconds.

People focus so much on keeping themselves clean to prevent sickness that it’s not always obvious to keep the area you live in clean too, or at least relatively so.

Even if you do catch a cold, I guarantee you’ll feel a lot less gross sitting in a semi-clean room than surrounded by dirty dishes and overflowing garbage.

Spread some holiday cheer by taking the initiative to keep your room up to par and making the lives of those you live with that much easier.