Having a strong immune system in college is about as rare as receiving an 'A' on a test you didn't study for. Washing your hands and taking Emergen-C tablets can definitely help, but sadly that is not all it takes to fight the germs of a university. Eating right and getting enough sleep are key factors to living a healthy lifestyle but in college that turns into more wishful thinking than realistic goals. Although, none of the above are impossible, even if you're like me and need a couple extra tasks to keep the body functioning properly.
I have been living with Crohn's disease for 6 years. When I sat down with my doctor before going into freshman year, she handed me a paper with accommodations for somebody with my type of autoimmune disease. I politely declined all of the special privileges and decided to live the life of a normal college student and discover my own accommodations. After being in college for a year and a half, I have had more than enough quick trips to med-express. Don't worry, I survived the dorm lifestyle and created some helpful lifestyle tips that I'm sure my doctor would be happy to hear about... maybe.
Having an autoimmune disease is a daily struggle, especially when it is one that solely affects your small and large intestine as well as your colon. If I eat the wrong thing it can cause some serious issues and uncomfortable pain. When living in a dorm I tended to stick to basic snacks. I had boxes of fig bars, jars of peanut butter, and ALWAYS kept Ritz crackers for me and my roommates whenever somebody got sick. When I ate at the dining halls, I tried my hardest to stick to the healthy salad and vegetable choices, but I occasionally wound up the Italian station (sorry, Doc.)
When winter rolls around, it seems as if everybody on campus begins to get the same sickness. A bad cough, high fever, and the sweats and shakes. I had bronchitis roughly four times my freshman year. Because of my weak immune system, a simple cold would turn into an infection within days. I decided to go full mom mode and created a cleaning checklist for myself. A weekly dusting of the furniture in our room, disinfecting our doorknobs every night, and drinking hot lemon water with honey saved my poor body from the harsh environment I lived in.
I tend to take a nap... every day. My sleep schedule is still the main thing I need to fix. Procrastination or studying late is not the reason for me going to sleep at one in the morning, but I am 100% the girl that says, "Just one more episode." Acclimating to a sleep schedule in college is a tough goal to achieve, but it is not as far fetched as it seems it just takes practice.
There are days when I wish I could binge on the late-night pizza with my roommates after we come home from a party or even be able to drink coffee on days when I can't seem to wake up. I struggle every day trying to discover things to make my experience easier, but there are good and bad days. I cave occasionally and break my rules, but I am still a college student, so I think I deserve the cheat days. People with a health condition including myself may need to take a couple more steps than others, but at the end of the day, It's just another thing that makes life interesting.