Healthy habits: Staying well without mom’s magic

Seth Culp-Ressler | Features Editor
Seth Culp-Ressler | Features Editor
Seth Culp-Ressler | Features Editor

By Seth Culp-Ressler | Features Editor

Welcome to the Continuing Misadventures of a Displaced Duquesne Student, a series in which Features Editor Seth Culp-Ressler grapples with his newfound life off campus. For the veterans of apartment life, feel free to laugh at his incompetence. For non-veterans, perhaps the mistakes he chronicles are valuable lessons.

Chapter Four: The Health

I’m not sure if there’s anything quite as miserable as trudging up the South Side Steps with a full-blown cold. You think those things are bad enough on a normal day? Man, I’ve got some news for you.

Such are the joys of commuting while sick, all part of that ever-difficult proposition of staying in good health. When you move off-campus for the first time, that task becomes a decidedly harder habit to keep up with.

Some of the reasons for that are readily apparent. Life off-campus is, most of all, a life devoid of easy and quick access to Duquesne’s Health Services. Sure, you can still schedule an appointment for when you are on-campus for classes, but should you need some immediate help at an inopportune time, you’re out of luck.

Unfortunately, you aren’t living with mom anymore, either, so the road to recovery from any malady is one constructed solely from your own abilities. In my case, let’s just say those skills aren’t as honed as they could be.

As with every fall semester, I’ve gotten a few colds — one of which is still kicking around. The change in weather never fails to send my body into haywire. Apparently, I hadn’t learned from past experiences, because the first time my throat turned to sandpaper and my nose to a fountain, my medicine stock was dry as a bone.

Well, aside from some old and mildly-effective cough drops.

For some reason, however, the South Side is not rife with CVS locations like downtown is. It’s practically impossible to find a spot in the center of the city from which you can’t see those three big red letters staring back at you. Inexplicably, that wealth of drugstores has not spread down to my neck of the woods, where, you know, people actually live.

So, with my medicine cabinet dry and my head feeling like it was about to burst, I was left with the realization that the nearest place to stock up on DayQuil and some non-expired cough drops was half a mile away. As pathetic as it sounds, I wasn’t exactly feeling up to that trek.

Instead, I just kind of… sucked it up.

That’s the strategy you quickly come to use for most illnesses, unless they’re some oddly serious condition. Wallow in your self-pity for a while, and things will pass.

Now, it should be said, living off-campus does provide some opportunities to be healthier than on-campus life allows. Dorms are notorious for being gigantic petri dishes, good for nothing other than fostering the growth and spread of infectious diseases. I, on the other hand, have a room all to my own germs, and I only need to worry about sharing a space with a single roommate.

Additionally, being somebody not exactly prone to exercise, the need to get myself across the river to school is certainly going to be good for me in the long run, even if it is unpleasant right now.

That said, any additional exercise you get from commuting can just as easily be canceled out in the kitchen. For as much as Duquesne students like to rag on Towers food, you can’t deny that it is a huge convenience to have constant access to healthy food if you want it.

When you’re cooking for yourself, it’s far too easy to fall into a spiral of boxed mac n’ cheese and pizza, and not even the South Side Steps can balance out that damage. It takes effort to actually make healthy food — not to mention money for those groceries — and sometimes, I wish I could just go to a dining hall and have all the work done for me.

Overall, though, I’ve been lucky. Apart from a few scattered colds, I’ve been able to stay in good health. That’s a privilege that I think is easy to take for granted. Still, it would probably be a good idea to buy some cold medicine, wouldn’t it?

Eh. Maybe tomorrow.