The Fate of Fresher Flu

Illustration by Julia Hammer

‘The fluff is falling!’

Many students will be familiar with the feeling of stomach-churning horror associated with this phrase – signalling the realisation of one’s impending doom when it comes to exam preparation. The same sentiments can be applied to the start of semester one. Here, while we are busily stocking up on free market day pens and scouring the crowds for potential networking opportunities – or what most would call ‘friends’ – the campus environment bookends the university calendar with another bizarre, yet equally frightening horror.

You see, at the start of every year, thousands of little germs descend upon the ANU. They cling to you like leeches and then, when you least expect it, they strike – sucking every last ounce of post-O-Week energy from your cold, hungover body. No, I’m not talking about the newest batch of wide-eyed first years – though you could be forgiven for such a thought, given their vampiric enthusiasm.

What I am talking about, rather, are two words which strike fear into the hearts of any student. Two words that ignite the same kind of fear brought about when you’re asked to introduce yourself in week one totes, or when it gets to week twelve and you realise you’re thirty hours behind in lectures.

Fresher flu.

I wish I could tell you that there was a way to avoid it, but I’m afraid that there isn’t.

This fourth year is very salty. You see, after three years on campus, I’ve finally moved into a share house. Here, in my beautiful tree-lined suburb replete with neighbourhood cats and retired public servants, I thought I would be immune. At least that I would be safer than when only feeble asbestos-filled walls would separate me from my sickly neighbours. I was wrong.

I thought that by limiting the events I attended, and the people I saw, then I would be safe. I even thought that if I were to sing to Ball Park Music’s ‘It’s Nice to Be Alive’ as loud as I could, then maybe, just maybe, the lyrics would transcend into reality. But, no, I was wrong again. Instead, I was devastated to find out my O-Week weekend headache was not actually a hangover but something far more sinister.

So rather than preparing for our impending classes, my housemates and I wasted our days wrapped in blankets, delirious on Codral, drowning our sorrows in BuzzFeed quizzes. I suppose that while I may not be proud that we nearly went through two tissue boxes, I am proud to announce that the ‘Disney Prince I’m Most Likely to Marry’ is, in fact, Aladdin. If only he could have swept me away on our tissue-literred carpet and taken me to a whole new world, rather than leave me to suffer.

But, alas, after trying so hard to avoid it, the fresher flu finally got me. Maybe I’m mad that even though I no longer live at college it still got me, or that I didn’t even get to hook up with any first years to at least make it worth it.

Although, admittedly, I did spend four of seven nights at Moosies, so maybe it is my fault after all.