The Gavel's Diatribe acts as the satirical medium for short rants over topics ranging from complete triviality to utmost importance.
The BC Cough, Throat Tickle, Chestnut Hill Cold, Foster Flu—what's going around campus has many names but don't call it COVID. We know where it's coming from and a negative test can confirm it's not COVID, but having cold-like symptoms at the moment requires a full explanation. The "new normal" party greeting is a cough, followed by a hoarse voice insisting, "I know I have a cough but I just tested negative this morning. I promise I don't have COVID!"
After a year and a half without parties, we seem to have forgotten just how gross basements can be. They're mold-infested cesspools we haven't exposed ourselves to since the pandemic began; of course we're getting sick from them. Our immune systems have been so well cared for with masks, hand washing, and sanitizing, but now our fledgling antibodies have been thrust into the deep end of the germ pool. This sink or swim baptism has, at present, proved overwhelming.
I have reached newfound strengths in my ability to hold back a cough in class. It doesn't matter that the just sipped water is the clear cause of my cough, I cannot arouse suspicions. So I sit there, throat burning, eyes watering, and silent. Sniffling is out of the question and blowing your nose would require a full exit from the room. You can't just tell your professor that it was definitely the Rage Cage cups that passed this around. They may have been a college student once, but they were never a college student in a pandemic.
Getting sick isn't what it used to be. It's no longer just dragging yourself to class, tissues and cough drops in hand before you return to your bed to binge the latest show. Coming down with anything spirals into anxieties of, "What if this is COVID? What if I become a super spreader?" When your nose starts running—brain says COVID. When your throat starts to hurt—COVID. When you throw up Friday morning after a night out—may not be COVID, but you get the point. Until the pandemic is at controllable levels, this is our reality.
It sucks that we can't be "normal" sick anymore, but if we want to keep normal school a reality, please go get tested when you need to. What works to protect against COVID hasn't changed. Even if it is just a cold, wearing a mask still protects the spread of those germs. Our lives are a current experiment in vaccine efficacy, so try to be a safe participant.