By Izzy Mendiola, Regular Contributor
The BC Plague: a stomach virus epidemic that hit the Boston College community the first few weeks of fall semester. Unfortunately, I was not immune to this so-called plague and found myself crouched on the floor of the communal bathroom of my dorm during my third week of school. As my new friends offered their condolences as they rushed to their classes, I became keenly aware that I was more than 2,000 miles away from my parents, sister, or anybody else I felt comfortable enough to call upon to help me in my compromised, and honestly, a little smelly state. So, I texted my R.A. who arranged a ride for me to the infirmary where I was served all of the blue Gatorade and oyster crackers a queasy patient could handle.
This experience taught me a few valuable lessons. I learned to always wash the apples from the dining hall before I eat them, especially in the midst of a plague. I learned how to fill a prescription for myself in a new, intimidating city. I learned to ask people for help when I needed it, without feeling guilty (okay, I may have gotten a little carried away with the help button at the infirmary). Most importantly, though, surviving the BC Plague taught me how to be alone.
Being alone is difficult in the beginning--I have never experienced such intense homesickness as I did those forty-eight hours that my insides were assaulted by this heinous stomach virus. However, once I became comfortable with being alone, I felt empowered in a way I had never been before.
One reason being alone is so difficult is that it is not a choice. I didn’t choose to become ill when my main support system was thousands of miles away with the foresight that I would be lonely and in turn come out stronger in the end. However, it was my choice to learn from my experience of loneliness rather than become bitter about it.
I remember lying on the plastic infirmary mattress, munching on what must have been my seventh pack of oyster crackers that day, and making the decision to not let my loneliness consume me. I knew that if I could get through being sick alone, I would have the confidence to do practically anything alone.
I can thank my experience with the BC Plague for indirectly leading me to many of my most treasured experiences at Boston College. The student involvement fair was one week after my recovery, and as I walked up to the tables of certain clubs and organizations alone, I felt confident. Many of the organizations that have had the most impact on my life, I joined on my own. I was scared, but I had the confidence to function alone without being lonely. I know that this new skill will benefit me throughout the rest of my life; instead of waiting for someone to do something with me, I am now able to do what I want to do, even if that means doing it alone.
Let's talk! How do you handle being alone? Have you ever had to overcome an obstacle alone? How did that empower you? Share it with us here!
Izzy calls Austin, Texas her home, and is currently studying psychology at Boston College. She is a froyo enthusiast, a shameless lover of country music, and enjoys long runs way more than is normal. She loves the mission of I AM THAT GIRL and is so excited to be part of the IATG community!
image via the thebucketlist.com