Freshmanitis is an extremely contagious and potentially lethal condition if left untreated. However, as someone who has personally experienced this crippling disease, I have a few remedies that may ease some of the symptoms.

Notice how I didn’t mention that the disease is curable. It has been the consensus of many scientists that  freshmanitis generally lasts about a year. After that period, the symptoms will wear away until you are no longer afflicted by the illness. However, that being said, the condition can last much longer depending on what measures you take to prevent it from metastasizing to other parts of your body. The symptoms that many people experience can be broken down to three distinct phases.

Phase one, freshmanitis affects your cognitive functioning. Some common cognitive problems that people will experience are excessive naps, a desperate urge to binge Netflix and feeling hungry even if you are eating frequently. These symptoms then lead to the second phase.

Phase two, physical symptoms start to set in. In other words, the Freshmen 15 begins. You will start to gain weight, which you really hope would go to your test grades. It is still rather unclear where this phenomenon of Freshman 15 comes from, but there are two prevalent theories  that seek provide some answers.

The first theory for Freshman 15 is that dining halls are unlimited and that students have the ability to eat as much or as little as they want. Since one of the common psychological symptoms of freshmanitis is increased appetite, it is believed that giving students the option to eat as much as they want will often lead to Freshman 15. The second theory is a bit more controversial and remains second banana to the aforementioned theory.

It is common that those with freshmanitis lack the motivation to exercise. Physical exercise is replaced by mental  exercise as you find yourself swamped with homework assignments, papers, quizzes and tests. Among the many risks that this transition poses to your body, perhaps the most notable is severe weight gain. These two theories for Freshmen 15 are unconfirmed, but I believe that they do hold up to academic scrutiny. Without deviating too much from the purpose of this article, which is giving all of those afflicted  with Freshmanitis some methods to treat it, let me fill you in on some tips:

1. LANYARDS, LANYARDS LANYARDS! You’ve probably been given this advice, but it is worth hearing again. Although many people will tell you that lanyards with a college’s name are an easy way to distinguish freshmen from upperclassmen (and is one of the obvious ways to identify freshmanitis), I feel like that isn’t the biggest problem with wearing lanyards.

Think about what can happen with anything hanging around your neck. If you’re not careful you can suffocate. This is far more lethal than freshmanitis since there have been no reported cases of death from freshmanitis.

2. Get some exercise. Go for  a run, a walk, a crawl or anything for that matter. Do something instead of barricading yourself in your dorm watching Netflix and eating pints of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. I suggest that during the winter you get outside and shovel the snow off the sidewalks near the Riverview Apartments.

I only suggest this because that is where I will be walking from to campus everyday and it would help to cut down my commuting time. Another popular winter activity that involves exercise is walking around Rochester with a t-shirt and shorts on. Even though I am an Economics major, I know that homeostasis is the bodily function to keep the internal body temperature stable.

Assuming that this is  true, it seems like it would be a great idea to walk around in cold, wintery Rochester without a jacket to keep you warm. Your body sensing that you are cold will use energy to keep your body warm. This seems to have its set of drawbacks, but it is worth a try.

3. Nap only when it is necessary.  This may be a difficult treatment method. After coming back from class, you usually have a window of time to take a snooze. I know of a past freshman who would take ten minute naps in my suite’s  lounge and then would head to class upon waking up. I know of others who take really lengthy naps during the day of up to six hours. I think they are nocturnal.

I suggest getting at least a minimum of five hours of sleep each night. However, finals week is a different story. I’ve come up with a formula that accurately converts your average hours slept per night to the average hours slept per night during finals week. What you do is take the average hours slept per night, which should be —as I said—at a minimum of five hours, and multiply that by zero. So if you on average sleep seven hours per night, you would sleep zero hours on average during finals week. So my advice is to not take too many naps: save it for the evening.

4. Try to travel in smaller groups. Orientation is a great way to meet new people, especially those that are in your hall. I was once in your position, so I understand that traveling in packs comes with the title. However, it is common for freshmen to continue to travel in these packs well into the academic year. Usually, the packs will start to disband once the temperatures start to dip into the negative figures. You’ll ask everyone in your lounge if they want to walk to the pit for dinner. This will start a large debate where those who would’ve eagerily joined you a few months ago will turn down the offer. The deciding factor is almost always the temperature.  It is something of a double-edged sword.

One day, you may find the cold refreshing. Other days, you will want to post up in your room and watch Netflix while binging on Ben & Jerry’s ice cream. Getting back to the point, I would say  that traveling packs are a notable symptom to look out for.

Now that you have this knowledge at your diposal, make sure to use it. It’s ultimately up to you whether or not you choose to heed my advice. There is a distinct difference between a freshman and someone who has freshmanitis. All of you will be freshmen until you make it to sophomore year, but freshmanitis is avoidable; and, if left untreated, can be extremely devastating. With this in mind, have a great freshman year and make sure to make the most of it! Meliora.

Chiodo is a member of the class of 2017.

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