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Everyone is ALWAYS ill at Cambridge! Why?

Can’t walk 10 feet without bumping into a virus. Nightmare.

It feels like when I matriculated, the Dean might as well have coughed on each student in a rather thoughtful and purposeful manner, ensuring that each and everyone one of us contracted the plague*. Everyone is ill in Cambridge, and never recovers.

It is mandatory to be ill in Cambridge. When I got my offer they asked me for A*AA and a cold. So weird? Seriously though, everyone is always ill in some capacity; if that’s just a cold, a sniff, chest infection, to tonsillitis, to just sleep deprivation and exhaustion, which I now consider a grave illness.

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literally me every morning trying to get out of bed. This is an actual photo me. Genuinely.

A fun little, quirky aspect of university is the renowned ‘Fresher’s Flu’. It goes something like this:

It's week 1, everyone is joking around saying ‘ooo I’ve got fresher’s flu from that drinking and going to Fez, god I am sick (clever little homonym for you).’

Week 3 you’re thinking, ‘this is odd, thought I’d feel a bit better by now but hey ho, I’m a fresher , I’m young, wild, and living my best life’.

Fast forward to your third year. You're coughing up your lungs thinking ‘surely I haven’t still got Fresher’s Flu, I’m practically filing for my first divorce’. Then it dawns on you that fresher’s flu is just part of university across the three years. Some things stay the same: you always have supervisions, exams, a place to sleep, and an illness. We’re all just disgusting human beings who don’t look after ourselves at uni, creating disease which spreads across and incubates within any facility that provides eduroam.

week 0 feels 🙁

On the second day of Fresher’s week, we were all called in to meet the school nurse who told us that at 2pm we must return to register with the local GP. I wasn’t going to do it. Sorry if I’ve been misinformed, but I was under the impression that registering with a Cambridge GP meant that you were no longer registered at home, which just seem a bit of a faff and to be honest in the last 8 years I reckon I’ve been to the doctor / GP 3 times – once being the week before uni, where they gave me antibiotics which I decided to stop taking (yet, I’m so confused as to why I’m ill).

So, I wasn’t going to register, but then someone lectured me about insurance, or something in that vein, and the multitudinous reasons why it is imperative I register. I was very confused, slightly pissed off, and probably hung over, so I thought, alas I’ll do it, I will conform! 4 days later, I’m sat in the GP’s office gasping for air whilst my fucking monstrous tonsils blocked my airways; they were alive with the intention to kill me. The moral here is that it's actually quite important that you register because at university you become increasingly bed-bound and flu-ridden, but you are still expected to write 2,380 essays by next Monday.

A poorly champagne socialist – can't turn a corner without them appearing

So, with everyone undeniably ill, what are the causes and treatments of the perpetual freshers' flu?

New people

When you come to university, you come into contact with strains of bacteria/ virus you’re not immune to, as you meet people from different parts of the country/world. The things we do to make friends.

Sleep deprivation

Shockingly 5 hours sleep isn’t quite enough.

Eating shit

A balanced diet is not, as one might think, baked beans and a jacket potato. Being a vegetarian, after a night out, one can find me at Van of Life getting a veggie burger, asking for all the salad to be kept in it, before shovelling it down my throat, and forcibly insisting, I’m Jamie fucking Oliver, I’m a health guru: I LIKE QUINOAAAA (which I am, of course, pronouncing incorrectly).


Everyone says ‘drink lots of fluids’. See, I feel I may misconstrue this, as when I’m ill, instead of taking care of myself, putting my doctor’s coat on, I decide to drink lots of alcoholic fluids (legend, I know).

Being a naive, ignorant prick (me)

Being ill has been, for the best part, self-inflicted.

I hope my findings provide a basis for further research.

Signed, Dr JW Bispeng



CatastrophE of a person.

*Story: At my matriculation we were invited to go up and drink sacred wine from an ancient horn of sorts (NB: everyone could see the senior tutor desperately shovelling Tesco’s £5 red into this horn). I opted out simply because that’s just fucking weird (call me an anarchist) but also because 170 18-20 year olds were all drinking from the same horn. I could literally see the bacteria doing cartwheels and randolph-flips around the rim of this container.