Following Thanksgiving break, the for
students with roommates will change. After
students return to campus November 29, if they are instructed
by a health professional to isolate, they may stay in their
own rooms whether or not they have a roommate. This change
allows the ill student—the individual who is
most in need of rest—to stay put. If her roommate wishes
to relocate during her recuperation, the well roommate will
be able to get a room at Smith’s residence at 44 Green Street
and maintain her regular schedule from the temporary location.
For students without a roommate,
this is not a change. Meanwhile, students may
purchase a thermometer from health services for $3.
the student writer in College Relations, relates her recent
experience in isolation with the flu.
By Julie Colatrella ’12
Isolation. It’s a word that makes
students shiver. The idea of being yanked away from society
and thrown into a germ-ridden swine jail does not exactly
have students lining up outside 44 Green Street begging to
However, a collection of students
wearing face masks—their
badges of solidarity—can loudly declare they survived “The
Swine of ’09.” After a recent week in isolation at 44 Green
Street, I am proud to say I am among them.
Maybe it wasn’t
the best idea for me to continue hanging around my friends
after they had gotten the notorious cough. But I figured,
hey, I had hand sanitizer and enough orange juice to power
a basketball team—I was covered.
Needless to say, I wasn’t.
When I woke up Saturday morning leaking from every opening
on my face, I regretted my logic.
I dialed health services
in a haze, prepared to do anything they ordered. They asked
what my fever was. Having not obeyed the warnings to buy
a thermometer before getting sick, I couldn’t answer them,
so they told me I would have to “go into self-isolation” (what
a nice euphemism)— call Public Safety for a ride to the dreaded
Too sick to care, I did as I
was told. I packed a bag full of clean underwear and DVDs,
grabbed my laptop and every painkiller in sight, and donned
my face mask as I ducked into the back of the Public Safety
car, my concerned housemates watching from a safe distance.
The house itself was a little
intimidating. I expected to find Narnia behind each labyrinth-like
turn. My room was separated from the other rooms, locked
away behind a door, which was hidden behind a door, which
was many feet from the bathrooms. It took a few tries before
I learned my way around, but by the second day I had claimed
it as my own.
Roommate-free for the first
time in months, I appreciated the freedom to go about my
laptop activities sans headphones, leave my dirty clothing
scattered, and cough and sniffle as obnoxiously as I pleased.
Having a single bathroom with a door instead of a stall wasn’t too shabby either, and I was grateful for
waking in the mornings without a blaring alarm clock.
as any “swiney” will tell you—and as Kathleen Zieja, director
of dining services, confirms—the best part of 44 Green Street
is the food.
For the first few hours, it’s not food you’re
particularly interested in; individually wrapped cheese products,
dry cookies and meat from the dining hall, none of which
is considered palatable to the deadened taste buds of the
swine victim. But toward the end of my stay at 44 Green,
I came to recognize the kitchen as a beacon of heaven: Haagen
Dasz ice cream and Easy Mac, oatmeal cookies and those cute
little cereal boxes that function as their own bowls, packaged
meals from the dining staff that appear as if delivered by
elves in the night.
I appreciate Smith dining as
much as the next student, but if I had to stuff my face without
reservation, this was certainly the way to do it. I was glad
when I finally broke out of my isolation, but whenever I
find a fellow 44 Greener, it is always the food we reminisce
Still, even with the comfort
food and appreciated alone time, Green Street was no vacation
resort. Yes, it functioned as the ultimate excuse not to
do my work, but only because I was too delirious to comprehend
anything other than old reruns of Kenan and Kel via YouTube.
A week later, I am still not
completely caught up on what I now refer to with a wave of
my hand as “all that work I can’t even think about right
now.” But my professors have been more than supportive.
in all, isolation at 44 Green isn’t the worst thing that
could happen to a sick Smithie. True, you can’t hang around
your friends, and Mom isn’t there with her famous matzoh
ball soup, but if the school didn’t force us to stay in bed
by locking us into one, we, as notorious over-achievers,
probably wouldn’t know how to take a break from our work
and focus on healing ourselves.
My only advice to the healthy
ones out there: Buy a thermometer before you get sick. That
Kraft Mac may be good, but it is certainly not worth the
hours spent trying to catch up on work afterwards.