Ah, college. “The best years of our lives.” The big leagues. Here’s how to have a ‘successful’ illness while at college—and how to recover fast!
Recognize that you are sick. Denial is not the first step to recovery. If your nose is running harder than the leaky faucet on your floor, your cough is louder than the dubstep upstairs, and the library employees refuse to touch the books to you try to return, it is time to admit it to yourself. YOU ARE SICK.
Rest. Rest, rest, rest, REST. What this does not look like: staying out of class and then going out partying anyways. Running marathons. All-night study sessions. What this does look like: you, in your bed, alone. RESTING.
Get hydrated. Drink some water. Not alcohol, not soda or juice—water. Hot tea can be very soothing on a sore throat, particularly with honey and lemon. However, water is the ultimate elixir for illness. Keep those cells lubricated, and help wash the germs out!
Let your roommate know that you are sick. This way they can make plans to sleep elsewhere (if you are highly contagious or you need time to yourself) or at least use extra precaution. Hey, they might even bring you an extra box of tissues or grab you some food from the dining hall if you can’t make it that far.
Realize that missing class is never good—but then miss class, if you simply MUST. There are some illnesses where it would be kinder for you, your classmates, and your professor if you just didn’t attend class. Here’s a handy list of questions to ask yourself: Am I vomiting? Am I highly contagious? Am I likely to pass out or faint? Will going to class make me feel so ill that I will miss even more class in the coming days? If the answer is YES to any of these questions, you should not be attending class. Email your professors or TAs, who are often very understanding if you are in fact extremely sick. And then get back to resting and water!
Visit the health center on campus. The health center is an awesome place to get cold medicine or diagnosed if you think you might need antibiotics. Also, most health centers will provide you with a note that verifies that you are, in fact, ill—professors especially appreciate this physical evidence of your infirmity.
Sleep. It’s like resting, but even quieter and less work.
Try not to fall behind on your work. As much as you can, keep up to date on your reading, essays, chemistry labs, etc. But do realize if you don’t give yourself time to heal, you will grow even sicker and fall even further behind, which is never worth it!
Tell your friends if you are sick. They deserve to know if they were exposed, they can vouch for you to professors when you are absent from a class that you share, and they are your best chance at getting soup/crackers/vitamin C capsules/a lift to the pharmacy in the nearest town.
Call home. I know nothing makes me feel better when I’m sick than hearing my mom’s voice, no matter how old I get! Added bonus: a care package is almost assured after that phone call!