What is the “Freshman Funk”?

What Causes Freshman Sickness in College?


Freshman Aiden Pearson and Family on the Campus at University of Miami Oxford Ohio

             As high school students, we at Faith Lutheran are used to having our family waiting for us when we get back home. We have them to depend on to drive us to school, help us with laundry and dishes, and feed us. We rely on our parents to help us survive the everyday life of being a high school student, but what happens when that is all taken away?

Millions of students experience this every year when they first move into their colleges and start their new pre-adult life. They have to survive on their own, living off in a dorm with unknown students that come from around the nation just like them. Freshmen in college are adapting to their new lives the first few months of college, and sometimes it can be too much. Being called the freshman sickness or “Freshman Funk”, most students when they enter college for the first time end up becoming sick in their first few months upon arriving due to several factors: stress, anxiety, new surroundings, lack of sleep, to name a few.

           So why is this “Freshman Sickness” so common in students around the world? Several factors contribute to the sickness, but two major ones include new surroundings with new people and the current COVID-19 pandemic. When students enter college, they are introduced to a new environment mostly unknown to them. They have to discover the new surrounding areas, such as where to get food, where their new classes are, and what the city nearby is like. Along with figuring out new areas, students also have to get around the idea that there are several new, unknown students attending the same classes. As students grow up in their home area, they develop antibodies as well as immunities to certain illnesses that pertain to their area. When in college, several students from around the globe have the possibility of carrying an unknown sickness, one that the student may not be immune to. “ I believe, as with anything, when you get people from different areas, different backgrounds together in one place, they’ve built up certain immunities based on their location, so when they come together they’re suddenly faced with potential airborne, touch-related viruses they are not used to in their home areas,” said Calum Pearson, father of Aiden Pearson, a freshman in college. “ I agree that the sickness is coming from different areas all coming together with different symptoms and diseases that you weren’t around before,” said Cory Pearson, mother of Aiden Pearson, a freshmen in college. 

           The “Freshman Funk” can also be connected with the current COVID-19 epidemic surging throughout the world. As it is now, many colleges are not requiring masks in their classrooms. As expected, many students are getting sick as a result of the easily spreadable, airborne disease, not being not kept within one’s area. States like Ohio, where the University of Miami Oxford is located, is an example of one of these colleges that have not yet required a mask mandate. Aiden Pearson, a freshman student at Miami Oxford, believes that the absence of the mask mandate is the main force to blame for many of the sick freshmen. “The past year or so being mostly indoors probably hurt a lot of our immune systems, and people largely not wearing masks is allowing things like colds and strep throat to get around much easier,” Aiden Pearson.

          In turn, due to the amounts of anxiety, stress, and diseases currently surrounding the new freshman, many have been getting sick as a result. As the Covid pandemic will slow down in the future years, hopefully, high school students moving to college will be able to have a better time in their experience.