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MIT student blogger Karen F. '11

The Infected by Karen F. '11

It's not a zombie outbreak...yet

When it comes to immune systems, I’m the most arrogant person you’ll ever meet.

No, seriously, if you ever tell me you’re coughing, or your nose is running, or your leg’s going to fall off, don’t expect any sympathy. I’ll probably just be a jerk and say something like “I never get colds” or “the last time I was sick was 1918” or “MY leg would never fall off because my immune system is better than yours.”

Can you see where this is going?

Pride goeth before the fall.

Last week, I…I…I have a lot trouble admitting it. Even after several days of waking up with razorblades in my throat (that’s how it felt, anyway), constantly having to blow my nose and general unattractiveness, I still insisted to my rather skeptical hallmates that I don’t get “sick.”

Then I dragged my sorry ego over to MIT Medical, where they tested me for strep (negative. First test ever I willingly failed =P) and told me to sleep “a lot” and come back if it gets any “worse.”


So I guess I’m not used to being in this condition, because I really felt at that point that the only way to get worse would be to get better because there wasn’t any possible way I could feel MORE sick. I went to the doctor willingly, which is a rare thing for me, because I was seriously concerned about my LIFE (aka getting psets done)…and he tells me to sleep “a lot.” Which I did, over the three day weekend, but today during class I was still concerned I would infect my arabic partner. I’m sure they weren’t too pleased to be placed with me. Oh well. It’snot like I have a choice (wow, that was the worst joke ever. I should be fired…).

So it turns out I’m not the only one suffering. It seems like everyone has what I have, or more likely the other way around….Today when meeting my group for my **CI-H class, one girl showed up without a voice! (Come on, how unprepared can you get?) It turns out that three of us missed the class last week because we were all THAT sick. And one of the dean’s from S^3 went home sick today, and today another girl in my arabic class walked in with asthmatic pneumonia after missing over a weeks worth of lectures! This is pretty bad, guys. They should just shut down the world a couple days and let everyone recover.

Incidentally, yesterday I saw these two posters on the wall of a bathroom:

(And then a girl walked in, and I left really fast, because I probably looked like a weirdo taking a picture of a poster on a bathroom wall, which is exactly what I was.)

But it got me thinking. How did I get…you know……si-…ACHOO (oh, sorry, I sneezed, but I said the word. Really.)….anyway? It must take a lot to knock out an immune system like this.

And then it all came together, like that moment in a Hollywood movie when the main character has an epiphany with mini-flashbacks as if the audience isn’t smart enough to figure it out. Keyboards, petri dishes, epidemic, poor ventilation…

*Athena clusters!

I never used to spend time in Athena clusters before this semester because Senior House’s printer, Pulp-fiction (Yeah, we name our printers at MIT), actually used to work. But it’s been broken for awhile, and now, in the midst of flu season, I’ve been going to Athena clusters pretty often to print off…everything.

This is the cluster found on the fifth floor of the student center:

Note that there is poor ventilation, keyboards that probably have been home to every flu season’s worst killers for decades and a lack of hand sanitizer available, even though they have hand santizer dispensers next to the buttons of elevators on the first floor, because it’s sooo hard to press one button with the sleeve of your jacket or something.

Not even the door is left open, ever, because you need a code to get in. (Or maybe it’s really just to contain the diseases found there…)

So that’s it, then. It’s Pulp-fiction’s fault.

Dear Pulp-fiction,

You may be named after one of the coolest movies ever, but I still hate you for getting me sick.


*Athena clusters are MIT’s computer labs, they can be found around campus. You can print free from them, and they’re open 24 hours a day.

**Communication-intensive class required once a year for the first two years. Don’t ask me to explain anymore about humanities requirements because no one really understands them. If someone tells you they do, they’re lying.

22 responses to “The Infected”

  1. Libin Daniel says:

    Your blog made it to the between of the new ones and the old( ahem, I don’t mean old..just that its not new) ones. How?

  2. Davorama says:

    Darn that Pulp-fiction!
    I’m afraid to say I’ve never seen that movie. :X
    I’m so deprived.

    I got sick last weekend. ouch.

  3. Keri says:

    Pulp-fiction is fixed!

    And if it isn’t, then wood-chipper is.

    So there.

  4. Steph says:

    Computer labs are vile. I’ll be sitting at a computer and everyone will be touching their face with their grubby hands. Bleh.

  5. Libin Daniel says:

    Ohh, It’s fine now. So, are you fine now? Take Care..IHTFP??Lol.

  6. Anonymous says:

    It seems like it’s the season. I’m here in CA and I’m sick. Thankfully we’re on break now.

  7. Paul says:

    Simmons has a printer named waffle. (Get it?)

  8. Rick says:

    I know someone who knows someone who knows someone whose printer is called “La poderosa”. Jajaja it sounds like an urban legend.
    But really it happened, I swear wink.

  9. Hawkins says:

    Karen is SICK!!!

    That is all.

  10. jonas says:

    my name’s jonas i’m 19 years old and i’d you to help
    for an admission at MIT PLEASE

  11. Sam R. '12 says:

    Your blog is so funny Karen. Those beaver posters are soo cool but I would look at you weird if I randomly found u in the restroom taking pictures of them too. Oh, and the first thing I’m gonna do when I get to MIT is to ask a student if they understand the humanaties requirements and then just laugh at them. lol. Hope u get better.
    -sam r.

  12. Aditi says:

    Awwww…get better soon!

    I name ipods and calculators too =P

  13. Erick '11 says:

    I don’t get sick…

  14. Melis says:

    I’ve been sick for >1 week, and so has almost everyone that I know. Something is definitely going around…and I can’t wait until it’s gone!

  15. Hank R. says:

    Hah! I still don’t get sick.

  16. Hyun Jin says:

    I used to think I never got ‘sick’ either… until I got some twisted form of food poisoning and threw up at school (in the bathroom, mind you)

    Looks like no one’s really immune raspberry

    Oh, and the beaver poster is very informative xD

  17. Zaira '11 says:

    Sam, I know you are going to ask me that question, so: No, I don’t get them either. I am just tagging along through them. I mean, I can’t make a mistake during my freshman year.

  18. Anonymous says:

    I’m sick too. The MIT Medical people first said it was strep throat, so I took antibiotics. Then it turned out it wasn’t strep throat… it’s a virus… it’s….MONO! I don’t know if I should believe them anymore. It’s probably just a cold.

  19. bunny says:

    o_O Everyone doesn’t name their printer? My favorite printer name so far is Bileduct wink

  20. Snively says:

    I woke up this morning and felt like death. You know what’s worse than being sick? Being sick at MIT where you have to be productive. I feel for ya…not fun

  21. Anonymous says:

    That was a wonderfull post!
    Could you please tell me the tentative dates by which the RA’s can hear from the MIT admissions office?
    Thank you!

  22. E. Rosser says:

    Lol, Pulp Fiction looks mean… I love the name, though. If my ancient printer/fax machine would have a name, it would be….
    Okay, I’m off to fetch the christening champagne! Mastodon might yet get its revenge with a mid-naming-ceremony love zap of high voltage, however…