Learning While Learning – What Being Injured at College Has Taught Me

By Laura Wilmes, YOUniversityTV Student Contributing Writer from Southern Illinois Edwardsville – Having a flag football injury that prevents walking while attending classes on the largest college campus – acreage-wise – in the nation is not for the faint of heart (me). After tearing a ligament in my foot during the first semester of my sophomore year, I learned a few things. Enjoy.

  1. Only going an hour away to college was one of my smarter moves.Listen up, kids. They won’t tell you this at your high school’s college fair. I cannot even fathom how difficult it would have been to go to so many doctor appointments if I had to travel far to get to the nearest orthopedic or worse, if my mom wasn’t able to be there. So far, I have had visits to an urgent care, an orthopedic, a second orthopedic, surgery, a follow up surgery visit to get my cast on, and another to get my cast off. It’s been a blast.
  2. I should be calling my mom Saint JoAnn.From the original urgent care visit to my post-surgery check up, she’s been there every step of the way. I can’t thank her enough for the constant reminders to ice and elevate, letting me send her gross pictures of my swollen and bruised foot, and listening to me whine about how much life sucked. Seriously, if you’re feeling neglected, just tear a ligament. Breakfast in bed almost made it all worth it. Also, shout out to both my parents for footing the bill (pun not intended). Medical expenses are scary.
  3. Having a good roommate and/or best friend is essential.This one is super important if you decide to injure your right foot. Chauffeuring me around is their newest hobby, and I don’t know how I’ll ever be able to thank them. My roommate deserves an award for listening to me hop around our house on one foot sounding like the Pixar lamp. Or, as she pointed out, my crutches sounding like a wooden peg leg as I’d go up the wooden steps outside our house. #blessed.
  1. “If I paid for my friends, I surely didn’t pay enough.”I picked the best weekend to get hurt. My mom was out of town, my roommate was home, and my best friend was out of town as well. Thankfully, I joined a sorority this semester.

    Alpha Xi Delta gave me the best big I could have ever asked for, coming in clutch by taking me to urgent care. Since then, my sisters have given me countless rides and held open tons of doors.

    However, I’m most thankful for their love and support. Being skeptical when I first considered joining, Alpha Xi Delta has shown me what sisterhood really means through their unconditional encouragement and support.

  2. Second opinions, although an inconvenience, are worth it.Sorry for rolling my eyes at the suggestion, Mom. When I first went to urgent care the day I injured it, they told my foot was simply bruised. A few days passed, and it was feeling any better. My mom and I went to an orthopedic, where they told me I would need surgery because of a torn ligament. I laughed in disbelief then, but it actually got worse.

    My mom, a physical therapist, understandably wanted to get a second opinion. There, we were told that I had also fractured and dislocated some anatomical thing-a-ma-jigs.

    HA, everyone that told me I just got cleated, and I’d be fine. (Being right isn’t as fun when it means you’re legitimately hurt.)

  3. People like to talk about their injuries.Not necessarily a bad thing, no one asked if I had a boyfriend or how my grades were at Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’ll sacrifice hearing stories about that ankle injury you’ve had since before I was born for that. Worth it.
  4. Maintaining positive relationships with professors and employers comes in handy.I’ve missed a lot of class and work, and thankfully, my higher ups have been flexible with me. Also, it was nice when I didn’t receive weird looks when I elevated my foot on random desks and trash cans to help with the swelling. Much love, everyone.
  5. Crutching is hard.SIUE has a beautiful campus, especially in the fall. The leaves on the brick quad is a sight. A tall girl on crutches wiping out from wet leaves on those bricks is even better.

    Seriously though, I have so much respect for anyone on crutches. Goodbye bingo wings, my arms are beautifully toned now, and my lung capacity is nice. When people say time management is key, they mean it. Gotta make time for breathing breaks.

  6. Optimism is important.Having to quit my internship because I was unable to drive to it was hard. It was odd to not have closure in leaving it. However, I was very lucky and my employer, The Hauser Group worked with me to make sure I had everything I needed credit-wise. I even got to attend their Christmas party a month later.

    Not being able to run was also a big blow. I used to go to the gym religiously, and while I wasn’t exactly bench-pressing, running has always been a way for me to relieve stress. I invested way too much time into Netflix, and an entire series of Mad Men later, I can say I’m ready to get back to the gym in a month.

  7. ..so is a sense of humor.Being able to laugh at the situation has been so important. My sorority’s informal was a week after my injury, and while my boot was not the cutest shoe there, it did give me an excuse to just wear Converse on my other foot. Thankfully, I had a date who was okay with sitting out with Gimpy too.

    Having songs stuck in my head slowly turned into me making up song parodies as I was crutching across campus. It’s the little things.

    Also, it’s really easy to think of funny tweets when you’re on one foot and I definitely took advantage of that.

  8. Time heals all wounds.And so do stitches. January 15, please hurry up.

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