Staph should not be ignored
November 2, 2007
“It’s kind of scary to know that Methicillin-Resistant Staphyloccoccus Aureus has been diagnosed here, but I don’t really think about it very much,” Cameron Glenn ’11 told me last Tuesday.
p. It struck me as odd that nobody really cares about MRSA, a disease that has attained relative celebrity status over the past few weeks. This ever-evolving biological agent has assaulted schools and campuses nationwide, claiming the lives of children, and was so bold as to hospitalize one of our own. So why don’t we care?
p. I asked this question of myself. Well, I don’t care because I’m not personally invested. With MRSA there’s no academic risk — it will neither boost my current GPA nor translate well on any future possible applications. What I care about at this point in the semester includes annotated bibliographies, research papers, potential honors proposals, work schedules, bedtime curfews, groceries, hair care, Gmail and jump! magazine.
p. But I don’t think Cameron and I are alone. The way I see it, students have no time to worry about MRSA. Most students stand unimpressed by this accomplished biological affliction, this unvanquished bacterial champion, and I don’t see why they should be.
p. What the staph virus doesn’t realize is that there’s only so much self-concern to go around. If you’re like me, you’ve already invested most of your mental, physical and circadian strengths into your current semester, indefinitely exhausting all immunities through mid-December. Obviously there are concessions to be made, as there is no time or energy given to our immune systems. I think there’s a way around this, though.
p. Perhaps, if students took care of themselves first, they would better approach their impending course loads. These are just “maybes,” but maybe we should take a second and consider the benefits of a healthy, well-rested immune system, and the general violence we inflict upon ourselves pulling all-nighters. Maybe we should sit down to a square meal every once in a while, rather than subsisting off benzedrine bars and twilight caffeine fixes. A shower here and there won’t hurt you or those around you. Don’t worry, you’ll be back to your books in no time.
p. Of course, there are also ways of working with the virus. If you find yourself in over your head this semester, a staph virus may just be your ticket out. Desperate times call for desperate measures, and rather than face the consequences of a semester spent in indolence, a student may hope to suddenly contract meningitis, or deliberately introduce Ebola to his or her systems, resulting in academic immunity. Ask around for people who have mono — it’s pretty popular, so you shouldn’t have to go far — and hang out with them. I don’t know if the Nora virus lasts long enough to be excused from finals, but a quick dip in the Crim Dell should do the trick.
p. These are just suggestions. If you’re seriously devoted to academic excellence, I’m sure you’ll think of something that’ll successfully get you sick.
p. My personal advice is to avoid getting sick. Since this is the season of flus and colds, I recommend in the highest degree that you avoid all forms of human contact until the semester closes. Remove yourself from all classrooms and communicate through Blackboard. Avoid eye contact with strangers. Only wear a given article of clothing once, then burn it. Also, douse hands, feet and general body in rubbing alcohol.
p. For impeccably immune innards, remember to also wash the inner lining of your esophagus and stomach region with said rubbing alcohol. Get plenty of fiber in your diet, and always drink green tea. Finally, avoid the contagions to be found within on-campus foods, public restrooms and Facebook.
p. __Sherif Abdelkarim is a junior at the College.__