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The Blue & Gray Press | August 18, 2019

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The 10 commandments for being sick on your own in college

The 10 commandments for being sick on your own in college


Flu season has just begun and with the weather being 40 degrees one day and 80 the next, our bodies and immune systems are simply freaking out. I am sick, and I know a lot of people who have been complaining of a sore throat and runny nose.

If you are waiting for your roommate to make you a bowl of soup or dote on you like your mom or dad did at home, stop waiting. Getting sick in college is like getting sick at home, only worse because no one is going to take care of you.

I know that in high school, teachers preached, “if you’re sick stay home.” In college, however, we know that is not the case. If you miss classes, even for being sick, professors are inclined to take percentage points off of final participation grades.

Therefore there is only one option: going to class sick. However, there are few ground rules for getting by in college for us sickies.

1. Thou shalt recognize when sick.

Denial is not the first step to recovery. If your nose is running harder than the leaky faucet on your floor and your cough is louder than the dub-step downstairs it is time to admit it to yourself.

2. Thou shalt email professors.

Your professors are pretty understanding when you are sick, especially at the University of Mary Washington. Just email them, and let them know what’s going on. Even if you come to class, maybe just give them a heads up, so they know that you won’t be speaking as much or may need to excuse yourself from the class to cough or blow your nose.

3. Thou shalt not sneeze nor cough upon thy neighbor.

I’ve had this happen to me more times than I can count. Come on, guys. We are all smart enough to get into college, so you would think we would already know to cover our mouths when we are sick. Apparently, this is not the case. I sit across from a guy who hacks all through class and does not bother to cover up his mouth, honestly probably how I got sick. Please learn from his past mistakes, and my own misfortune, and just cover your mouth.

4. Thou shalt visit student health center.

No one likes to go to the doctor, but your tuition is paying for the health center, so you should utilize that resource if you are feeling sick. It is a really easy process. All you do is go into the office, which is in the basement of Lee Hall, and you sign up for an appointment. Then you go to said appointment.

5. Thou shalt bring a sick kit.

If you have a bad cough, try sucking on one of your cough drops you put in your backpack or excuse yourself to the hallway and take a trip to the water fountain. Bring your own mini drug store arsenal: tissues, cough drops, tea, water and Pepto Bismol tablets. Unfortunately, we are not in high school anymore, and most class rooms are severely lacking in the tissue department. It is better to expect the worst.

6. Thou shalt not complain.

Listen. Being sick sucks. We have all been there. But no one needs to hear about how sick you are. Once or twice is fine, but if you are just going to complain about how sick you are in class, you should not be there.

7. Thou shalt do all thy work.

If you are sick and still show up to class, you need to have it together. Unless you have emailed or talked to the professor and they have given you an extension, you need to have your work done before class. You may not do that great of a job on it, but trying your best and getting a C on your assignment is better than not turning anything in and getting a 0.

8. Thou shalt keep all thy possessions to thyself.

This goes hand in hand about not coughing or sneezing on others. Do not share anything that could potentially be germ and snot covered to anyone. I cannot tell you how many times my friends have let me use their pencil or take a sip of their water only to tell me afterwards that they have bronchitis or something. This is so not funny. If you are sick, be conscious of the fact that you might still be contagious.

9. Thou shalt deem nap time holy.

When you are sick, your body needs time to rest and regroup. Napping is my all-time favorite thing in the world. It especially feels good to get some z’s when you’re sick. Turn off your phone, put away your laptop, draw the blinds closed and peace out from the world for a few hours. Trust me. Your body will thank you.

10. Thou shalt not go to class if thou is puking.

No one wants that. Again, email your professors.