Editorial Notebook

Editor laments Health Center

Why does a cold or other malady always seem to hit at the worst possible time? It seems every time I have an exam coming up, I end up with some sort of cold or fever that impairs my everyday actions just enough to make studying worthless. Last week, I was feeling under the weather, but as normal, I attempted to power through it. However, after waking up with the shivers, I thought it might be time to go to the health center. I’ve spent enough time at RPI to know the general opinion students have about the Student Health Center. The majority finds it useless and a waste of time. Although the staff is known to be kind and attempts to be helpful, the policies it employs make it useless.

In previous visits to the health center, I’ve always been told to make appointments, so at 9 am I registered for an appointment at 1:50 pm. However, this time, I thought it would be a good idea to wait in the health center from the time they opened until my appointment. This turned out to be a great move, because, for the first time at RPI, I was helped before my appointment, which was nice. It was at this point that I found out I had a fever of 102 and the flu.

My experience with the flu has been that no one wants to catch it, and most professors will excuse you from lab or work due to it. However, neither the fever nor the confirmed flu is something that the health center deems class-exemption-worthy. I can respect this, due to how common the flu is, but to say that a fever of 102 and the flu isn’t a good enough reason to not have to walk about in the rain and snow to and from class is just asking for a worse sickness to come about.

By the time I got home after exams on Thursday, I slept for hours until I finally woke up and started coughing to the point of vomiting. I never had that happen before, so I attempted to schedule an appointment for the next day at the health center, but nothing was available. So I left them a message and the staff kindly responded early before they opened the next day. However, at this point, I realized, “What’s the point?” Unless I am to the point of vomiting on their carpet or have fallen down some stairs due to exhaustion and broken something, the policies at the health center will prevent me from helping my symptoms any more than the nasal spray I was prescribed.

I don’t blame the staff or the health center for the policies in effect; there is sure to be some reason. But I don’t see a reason for them to exist in their current state on campus, as they provide little more benefit to the majority of the campus than the Rite Aid on Burdett Ave. and Congress St.