Thursday, May 23Royal Holloway's offical student publication, est. 1986

Freshers’ Flu: Myth or Reality?

With Freshers’ week only a few weeks away, Ellie Darwood remembers facing the dreaded Freshers’ flu.

“I’ll be fine. I don’t get ill” – A statement that I found myself repeatedly saying throughout the duration of my first year at university. And was I right? Well, not exactly.

All Freshers’ (and returning students) are aware of the omnipotence of the dreaded Freshers’ flu and the possibility of being bed-bound for the most jam-packed, fun-filled first weeks of university. The constant hubbub surrounding the inevitability of catching the most horrific illness known to party goers consumed my thoughts for not only the first weeks of university but also the week leading to its commencement.

I arrived at university equipped with stashes of tissues, gallons of hand sanitiser and enough multivitamins to supply a family of four for a decade. I could not help but wonder about thousands of new germs I was encountering and the probability of being sent to the infirmary by them. And I was not the only one who had Freshers’ flu on their mind. It seemed to be the topic of choice in many conversations, with several individuals expressing their approaches to avoid contracting any sort of illness. While the majority of these suggestions remained in the sensible realm, one individual’s claim that “tall people don’t get ill because they soar above bacteria” continues to baffle me. And as a tall woman, I can confirm is completely untrue.

But when it comes to it, there is only a certain amount of precautionary measures that you can take before looking like: an idiot, a hypochondriac or both. Therefore, I banished any fear I had of getting ill into the deepest depths of my mind. I began to listen less to the irrational fears of my parents and started to enjoy the best week of the year.

Was this the right decision? Absolutely! But more importantly, did I get ill? Well, if you count a few sniffles as ill then, yes. However, at no point was I bed-bound, sent to the infirmary or restricted from participating in everything I wished to do. So, I would say I pretty successful avoided Freshers’ flu.

But, is Freshers’ flu a myth or reality? Well, it certainly isn’t a myth but it doesn’t have to be a reality either! Just be prepared and take care of yourself, and you will be absolutely fine.