What Is The 'JMU Plague' And How To Avoid It

The Student Rule Book On How To Avoid The Dreaded JMU Plague

It's cold, sickness, virus, allergy, and anything else you can think of season.


Well, you have probably noticed in the last few days that the temperature dropped by about 40 degrees. FORTY DEGREES. That's right. Going from 80 degrees to 40 degrees is quite the adjustment. Put away the shorts and pull out the fleece jackets. Just a little over a week ago, I was sitting on the hot metal bleachers in the blazing hot sun, sweating my butt off with my family as I cheered on our Dukes. Within the last week, we basically leaped into winter and with the cold temperatures on the rise, comes the rapid spread of the JMU plague.

Our fellow dukes know all about the plague that spreads like rapid fire across campus. It's nearly impossible to not get sick at least once during the fall and winter months. If you're one of the lucky few that hasn't been a victim of the plague, don't worry, your time will come soon.

For now, here are 10 ways to avoid the dreaded JMU plague.

1. Wash your hands.

It's one of the most basic things you learn as a kid that everyone suddenly forgets about in college. Wash your hands, people! You might think it won't do anything to blow your nose and then go touch a doorknob, but fear not; your germs will spread to someone who doesn't want them. So sacrifice the extra 30 seconds while you sing happy birthday to yourself (or whatever song you were told to sing while washing your hands) and do us all a favor.

2. Cover your mouth!

And stay clear of those who don't. This goes along with the hand washing. No one wants your germs spreading through the air because you're too lazy to bring your elbow up to your face.

3. Please stay home.

If you have a fever, stomach, bug, virus, or anything of that nature, please do us healthy students a favor. You have an excuse to sit at home and watch Netflix all day. When you were a kid, you couldn't try any harder to convince your parents to let you stay home from school. In college, your parents aren't around to make that decision for you. With such a fast-paced curriculum, no one wants to miss class and fall behind. It's understandable. But if you're contagious, keep it contained to yourself. Save your class skips for when you're actually sick, not just because you "don't feel like going."

4. Avoid rubbing your eyes.

We all do it subconsciously without even thinking about when the last time we washed our hands was. But what we don't know is what bacteria we're putting into our eyes.

5. Keep your living space clean.

In trying to avoid getting sick, all that dust that's built up in your living space definitely isn't helping. Keeping your living space clean and sanitized can help to get rid of germs that are in the air.

6. Don’t share drinks or food.

This can definitely get tricky to stay clear of on the weekends, but sharing things is the easiest way to get sick and also the most preventable way too. If you have a slight cold, don't share anything. If you're friend or partner is starting to get sick, don't share anything with them. Plain and simple.

7. Sleep.

You're only hurting yourself by staying up until 3 a.m. when you're not feeling your best. It's the perfect time to have a valid excuse for going to bed at 9 p.m. if that's even an option. I know, 9 p.m. is a time when we never thought we would have the luxury of going to bed. Not sleeping enough is one way you can become sick.

8. Take Vitamin C.

Build up that immune system. Emergen-C and Airborne are your best friends and will help in the long run.

9. Bundle up.

Once it starts to get cold outside, you have to properly dress for the weather. That means don't be walking around campus in a tank top when it's 40 degrees. Even if you think you'll be fine, chances are you'll catch a small cold that will probably turn into an even worse cold.

10. Stay away from the sicklings.

The worst thing you can do is be around people that are really suffering from the JMU plague. It's really hard but the last thing you want to do is catch their germs. Try to keep somewhat of a distance or be aware of the need to wash your hands after being around someone who is sick.

Good luck and stay clear of the JMU plague, Dukes!

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Everything You Will Miss If You Commit Suicide

The world needs you.

You won't see the sunrise or have your favorite breakfast in the morning.

Instead, your family will mourn the sunrise because it means another day without you.

You will never stay up late talking to your friends or have a bonfire on a summer night.

You won't laugh until you cry again, or dance around and be silly.

You won't go on another adventure. You won't drive around under the moonlight and stars.

They'll miss you. They'll cry.

You won't fight with your siblings only to make up minutes later and laugh about it.

You won't get to interrogate your sister's fiancé when the time comes.

You won't be there to wipe away your mother's tears when she finds out that you're gone.

You won't be able to hug the ones that love you while they're waiting to wake up from the nightmare that had become their reality.

You won't be at your grandparents funeral, speaking about the good things they did in their life.

Instead, they will be at yours.

You won't find your purpose in life, the love of your life, get married or raise a family.

You won't celebrate another Christmas, Easter or birthday.

You won't turn another year older.

You will never see the places you've always dreamed of seeing.

You will not allow yourself the opportunity to get help.

This will be the last sunset you see.

You'll never see the sky change from a bright blue to purples, pinks, oranges, and yellows meshing together over the landscape again.

If the light has left your eyes and all you see is the darkness, know that it can get better. Let yourself get better.

This is what you will miss if you leave the world today.

This is who will care about you when you are gone.

You can change lives. But I hope it's not at the expense of yours.

We care. People care.

Don't let today be the end.

You don't have to live forever sad. You can be happy. It's not wrong to ask for help.

Thank you for staying. Thank you for fighting.

Suicide is a real problem that no one wants to talk about. I'm sure you're no different. But we need to talk about it. There is no difference between being suicidal and committing suicide. If someone tells you they want to kill themselves, do not think they won't do it. Do not just tell them, “Oh you'll be fine." Because when they aren't, you will wonder what you could have done to help. Sit with them however long you need to and tell them it will get better. Talk to them about their problems and tell them there is help. Be the help. Get them assistance. Remind them of all the things they will miss in life.

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

Cover Image Credit: Brittani Norman

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How To Avoid Getting Sick Your  Freshman Year

It's going to take a little more than an apple a day.


College is the prime time and place to catch a cold... or worse. Although, somehow I managed to crack the code to health and not get sick my whole first year of college. This is surprising considering I was living in the close (and very unsanitary) quarters of a dorm room.

1. Keep your diet somewhat healthy


I know how hard it is to eat healthy in college, especially on a low budget. But with the dining hall foods, you can at least include some vegetables and fruits into your everyday consumption. The vitamins in these foods will help keep your immune system up and it will be worth the effort.

2. Try to exercise a few times per week


Even if you're just getting out of the dorm for a thirty minute walk, it will benefit your body. If you decide to up your routine from that, even better! The more endorphins, the more you will feel better inside and out.

3. Cut back on the drinking if you feel a cold coming on


Surprisingly, many college students don't seem to know that alcohol lowers your immune system. Of course, for some people theres no way of avoiding drinking. But if you can at least give your body rest days, it will be extremely beneficial.

4. Invest in a dehumidifier for your dorm room


I believe this was a very big player in helping me not get sick. The dehumidifier helps reduce dust and other particles in the air. This will help not agitate your allergies and you will feel more clear headed.

5. Try not to share personal products


Sharing things like towels, makeup, unwashed cups, etc. can all be causes of a sickness being passed around you and your friends. Of course sharing is caring, just make sure it's sanitary.

6. Be conscientious of who you kiss!


Make sure that your girlfriend, boyfriend, or "its complicated" person is not sick before you're getting cozy with them.

7. Drink lots of green tea!


Personally, I credit green tea and its anti-oxidants for keeping the flu away and even getting rid of bugs that might be forming in your system. So if you feel like you might be developing a cold, chug that tea!

I know how annoying these tips may be. But I promise, if you implement at least a few it could reduce your chances of feeling horrible during midterms in the winter, and sneezing all over your finals in the fall.

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