It’s barely fall, but everyone on campus seems to be sick. I have yet to attend a lecture that wasn’t interrupted by an echo of coughing, sniffling, or sneezing. Because we cohabit in close quarters like stuffy dorm rooms and crowded lecture halls, we are more susceptible to the germs around us than we were growing up at home. Not only are our immune systems extra weak in college, but we also face more severe consequences with less than sympathetic professors. Here are just a few ways that being sick in college differs from being sick in high school:
The First Sniffle
High School: You declare yourself sick and neglect to finish homework. How could you possibly move on with your day knowing that you could be ill? You collapse into bed for a power nap before your inevitable Netflix-spree.
College: Your nose is running like a faucet and you can barely manage to get out a sentence in between all of your cough attacks, but still you refuse to believe you’re sick. Cold? What cold?
High School: Even if you aren’t all that sick, you pull a Ferris Bueller to get Mom to call the attendance office. You don’t worry about missing much because a classmate will be delegated to send you notes.
College: You finally accept that the plague has hit you, but fear that the professor will reveal vital information about the prelim in your absence. You debate whether or not missing class, but ultimately decide that you can’t make it out of bed. You email your professor and pray the people you sit with in class will be gracious enough to fill you in on what you missed.
Going to the Doctor
High School: Within moments of sharing that you’re feeling under the weather, Mom has already made you an appointment with your pediatrician. She drives you there and takes care of everything else for you.
College: You go online and learn that the next available appointment at Gannett isn’t until tomorrow. After texting all your friends with cars and realizing they all have class then, you decide to brave the TCAT, messy hair, sniffles, sweatpants, and all. Naturally, you end up seeing everyone you know.
High School: Upon awakening from your three-hour nap, Mom delivers you hot soup, extra blankets, and antibiotics. She nurses you back to health and makes you wait a ridiculous amount of time before returning to society. You obviously don’t care that she’s being so overprotective because you are quite content with binge-watching your favorite show in bed.
College: You beg your roommate to make you cup-of-noodles while you attempt to finish an essay by midnight for the class you haven’t been attending. You procrastinate by fantasizing about the glory days when being sick was a break of all responsibility. At 10 pm you fall asleep on your laptop, soundly dreaming for a speedy recovery so you don’t fall behind any more than you already have.
In college, we are on our own when it comes to taking care of ourselves. Let’s just hope we all can manage to stay healthy until at least Fall Break, so we can go back to having Mom take care of us again.