The fresher’s week of university is an incredibly daunting prospect; from the awkwardness of meeting new people en masse to the impossible task of struggling to locate lectures in Coates building. Nevertheless, you will “survive” your fresher’s week in a blur of UV paint and Dominoes vouchers. But no one warns you about the real problem.

It begins around Thursday; you start sniffing, you greet your flatmates with a hacking cough, you can literally feel your liver quietly crying inside. It’s happened. You have caught fresher’s flu.

But exactly what is fresher’s flu (downitfresherenza)? A hybrid of the common cold, Fresher’s flu is created by mingling students from up and down the UK, each carrying their neighborhood germs that your body is unaccustomed to. Symptoms of Fresher’s flu are intensified by poor diet, the stress of leaving home and lack of sleep. Oh, and that brutal attack on your immune system in the form of large quantities of alcohol. Socialising in general feels like no go area. All you want is your bed. Tough. Fresher’s week, much like fresher’s flu, is completely unavoidable.

The situation is catch-22; you could quarantine yourself, be perfectly healthy and forever alone. Or you cry ‘YOLO’ to the world and suffer through weeks of ‘was-it-worth-it?’ phlegm. Yet miraculously there is that one person who breezes through Fresher’s Week without even a single Strepsil. They claim their success is down to ‘good genes.’ This is a lie. By following these steps, you will know all their survival tricks so that you can do it too.

Step 1: Denial – As soon as you sneeze, just tell yourself ‘I’m absolutely fine.’ Maybe take some paracetamol though. Just in case.

Step 2: Vitamin C – I don’t care if you don’t like oranges, you do now.

Step 3: Avoid the infected – If they start your conversation with, ‘I think I’m coming down with something…’ run away. You can find other more immune-system friendly members of society.

Step 4: Make layers cool – wearing your balaclava, knitted scarf and thermal vest to predrinks may feel ridiculous at the time but who will be laughing tomorrow?! You will my friend.

Step 5: NEVER say you won’t get Fresher’s Flu – one mistake of Fresher’s Flu is underestimation. Fresher’s flu preys upon the strong and obliterates the weak. Have respect for the disease and never belittle its power.

Step 6: Have one night off if you have to – it won’t be the end of the world. Throw an ‘I’m Infected’ Sleepover Party with your flat. Your body (and bank account) will thank you for it.

And if you follow all these steps and still feel awful – admit defeat, it’s too late. Just go to bed. It’s safer there.

Louisa Clack

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2 Comments

  1. Nancy
    October 4, 2012 at 09:11 — Reply

    Well if I ever become a mature student your advice has been duly noted!! xx

  2. Valerie H
    October 4, 2012 at 17:40 — Reply

    Asking a student to stay in bed is a very strange concept!!!

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