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Sick in College

What Happens When I Get Sick?

It is bound to happen at some point in your time at college – you wake up with a runny nose and a sore throat and by the end of the day you can barely keep yourself upright and you are running a fever. Or you are doing your usual workout in the weight room and you hear a pop in your knee as you squat at the weight rack and shooting pain goes up your leg. What do you do when you no longer live at home with a parent who makes you soup or schedules your doctor appointment?

Both of the above have happened to me since being at college, including several other health concerns, and I have gotten through each of them relatively unscathed. Grove City College’s Zerbe Health Center is a great resource when you are sick or injured and do not know where to turn. At home when you are running a fever you schedule an appointment with your family doctor and get prescribed some antibiotics that your parent then brings home for you on their way home from work, but when you are sick at school you probably do not have a local doctor, you may not have a car on campus, and you probably do not have the energy to trek to a pharmacy. Zerbe can help alleviate all of these issues.

Zerbe Health Center has nurses available during all business hours, and a doctor or physicians assistant comes in every weekday afternoon to see students. This makes getting treatment easy and efficient. I have always been able to see the doctor on the day that I contact Zerbe about making an appointment – the staff is great at making sure that students’ needs are met in as timely a fashion as possible.

Zerbe also has several prescription medications on hand, so that if the doctor prescribes something you can easily get it from the nurses on the way out, as opposed to having to go to Rite Aid or Walmart to pick it up. I am allergic to several antibiotics, too, and they have different ones available, so it has never been an issue. In addition to prescription medications, Zerbe has over-the-counter medications and treatments available to students for viral diseases that cannot be treated with antibiotics and to treat symptoms of any illness. I have received ibuprofen, decongestant, cough drops, numbing throat drops, salt (for gargling with a sore throat), and an ice pack from Zerbe at different points in my time here. I have had friends who have had stomach bugs and have been given bags with sports drinks, crackers, and other stomach remedies from Zerbe.

Twice in the last four years I have injured myself during workouts, and both times I was afraid that Zerbe would not be able to treat an injury as well as they can treat an illness, but have been pleasantly surprised to find that they have. The doctors are well-informed and have taken the time to explain my injury to me, as well as to tell me my limitations and lay out a plan for getting back to normal activity.

In addition to Zerbe the environment at Grove City College is just so caring that I have never felt hopeless when sick. I have gotten two very bad colds while at college, one in the winter of my sophomore year and one during finals in the spring semester of my junior year. Both times I could barely leave my bed to go to classes and/or finals, but I had very understanding professors who were willing to make accommodations for me to succeed. I also was constantly surrounded by friends who took care of me, offering throat coat tea, bringing smoothies to my room, and even doing my laundry. The College promotes a caring environment and people support those around them to the best of their abilities.

Getting sick in college can be frustrating and scary, but you will make it through it (though I definitely recommend investing in some Emergen-C packets or Zicam tablet before leaving home).

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