Fresher’s Flu

For the first couple of years that I was teaching, I used to get a lousy cold/flu around the end of September.  It was only after talking to colleagues that this was confirmed as being ‘Fresher’s Flu’ and frequently occurs when hundreds of students including international students come back together and start breathing over each other.

Normally this is just inconvenient.  I remember one seminar session where the students themselves suggested that I go home because I ‘looked like death’.  The then Head of Department took me to one side when I was back at work (I think a couple of weeks later – I was pretty crock), and reminded me that I had a duty of care not to infect other staff and students.

But this year is different.  I’ve got a good friend in hospital, and we have to be even more obsessed about hygeine and germs transmission than usual.  When I visit I now have to wear plastic aprons, and use the ubiquitous hand rubs wherever I can.

Being realistic, I may need to take some time off visiting, as the risk of transmission is too great.  This is a real shame, but can’t be helped.  Luckily with text messaging, mobile broadband modems and even phone calls we can still keep in touch, but it’s not the same.

This aside, it’s good to see the students starting back.  International students are around now, all tightly clutching their ‘bags for life’ provided by student services.  Next week the main cohort of students arrive.  In an ideal world I would have been simply doing my talk on plagiarism and the essential guide, as I’m no longer course director of the ITMB scheme.  But I know I’ll end up doing more than this due to unforseen circumstances.

Let’s hope that everyone I know who is receiving treatment in hospital, recovering in hospital, or has recently been discharged from hospital is soon back to their usual selves, not least of which because I look bloody daft in a plastic apron!

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