Few students on campus desire to contract swine flu - or as the powers-that-be demand we call it, H1N1. But every year, in fall and winter, we have a flu season. Students get sick, get better and the world continues to turn.
University administration did not need to send multiple swine flu e-mails offering duplicated information in far too many words. The majority of the student body undoubtedly ignored the e-mails. And this is where problems arise, as one of the keys to getting through this as a campus is communication.
College-aged students are in fact more susceptible to H1N1 than typical flu strands. It is smart for the university and health organizations to prepare for the possible descent of a virus that can rapidly spread through the student populace. But it is also possible to overreact and cause hysteria over an illness we prepare for annually. One aspect where the university has gone too far is housing's practice of telling students to leave for their hometown should they contract the disease. Not only does this spread the disease further around the state and country, but this is an impossible task for many students and their families. It is important to keep this situation in perspective for a disease that will most likely leave a student stuck in bed for a couple days.
However, we also need to take into account that H1N1 has the capacity to do some serious damage, if not physically, academically. Some seniors looking to graduate at semester's end simply cannot afford to miss a week's worth of classes, and any student faces the possibility of a GPA-killing bad grade. It is reasons like this that make the more practical precautions worthwhile: wash your hands, eat healthy and stay away from class if you are sick.
So above all else, relax, this is not the Influenza Epidemic of 1918. One of the best ways to wear down your immune system is to stress yourself out. But at the same time, stay aware, and don't be shy to use the resources available to you at University Health Services. This doesn't have to turn into the swine flu apocalypse, and it won't so long as the university and its students both keep their heads.