Handling Irksome Illness

Oct 13, 2017

Words by Kellie Nock


With the heat finally breaking and autumn making her much-welcome appearance, she brings with her a nasty slew of illnesses. From the flu to your common cold, fall is full of sickness, especially given many of us live in close quarters to our fellow students. It’s easy to catch someone’s bug when you have to share a 15-by-15 foot room with them.

Getting sick at school is much worse than getting sick at home. The comforts of home are gone; you’re all alone and missing class feels much more dire than it did before college. No amount of microwave chicken noodle soup or NyQuil feels like enough. Then, of course, comes the stress of consequence. Which assignments did I miss? What was in the lecture for today? Do I know someone in the class that can send me notes?

On top of being sick, you get stressed out from feeling like you’re falling behind. It can start to feel like you’ve slipped and you’re falling down a slope. The thing you need to keep in mind is that your physical health is most important. Missing class when you’re too sick to go is nothing to be afraid of. Let your professors know ahead of time you won’t be able to make it. If you email them, sometimes they’ll even let you know what they’re going to be doing that day. In big lectures, professors will sometimes post the notes online. When you get a chance that day or sometime that week, check out the notes and if it helps, write them down for yourself. It’ll be like you never missed the class.

Many professors give you a few unexcused absences, but it’s best to save these for family emergencies and other things you may not be able to get a note for. A quick trip to CVS’ MinuteClinic can get you a note to give to your professor. If you don’t want to go that far, the DeWeese Health Center on campus can provide notes (though not official excused absences) as well. If you really feel like you can’t get up and go, then it’s not a big deal if you use one of your emergency unexcused absences.

When you feel yourself getting overwhelmed by sickness, the best thing you can do for both your physical and mental health is to stay calm. Your body is asking you to rest, and overworking it will only cause your sickness to get worse. I know it can be overwhelming when you feel like you’ve been missing a lot in your classes. If you can, or if you don’t know anyone in your class already, it would be a good idea to just ask for someone in the class to give you their email. This way if you miss something, they can send you any notes or assignments you need to keep track of. There’s also an option on Blackboard for you to email the entire class, if you want to cover all your bases.  

Being sick is a terrible and annoying thing, so there’s no need for you to make it any worse for yourself if you don’t have to. Remember to take care of yourself, and that the sooner you can get better, the sooner you can enjoy the fall season.

If you have any suggestions or you’d like to reach out to me, find me on Twitter: @kellnock.