By the time you read this, I’ll probably feel right as rain or some other tired cliché that means “healthy,” but as I’m putting metaphorical pen to metaphorical paper, I am the sickest I’ve been in the last five years or so. School and work don’t really brake for exhausted grad students, however, and I have spent the last 36 hours juggling responsibilities, emailing my professors and my students to let them know that I’m not doing too well and likely won’t be as insightful and talkative in class as I usually am.
As I am managing all of this, I thought it might be helpful to make a list of “survival kit” items for any of you coming to Chicago alone and who might not have the support network built up to have people drop soups or teas or juices off for you.
- Stock an assortment of teas, particularly herbal ones (caffeine dehydrates)
- Bring a filtered pitcher if you are picky about water (some people notice a strange taste in Chicago water).
- Stock up on generic cold medicine, like DayQuil and NyQuil. Generic because it’s generally just as good and much more affordable.
- Discover the nearest convenience store to your apartment and be ready to pay extra for the convenience instead of trekking half a mile to a Walgreens or CVS.
- Be willing to be honest with your instructors. Even if their syllabi have a no-nonsense absence policy, let them know how you feel as a heads up. They may or may not bend their rule, but they’ll probably understand to expect a bit less of you when your immune system is being assaulted.
- If you teach, be honest with your students as well. Consider making class a work day to give you a break and give them a chance to catch up.
- Be willing to actually go to a doctor or an urgent care location; there are plenty all over the city and Columbia has medical help on campus as well.
These are just a few pointers. Also be sure to make friends (you should be doing that anyway) who can update you on classes you miss or have a tough time focusing in. Remember, at the end of the day, your health is more important than everything else.