Being sick sucks. Being sick in college positively blows because more likely than not, you won’t have your parents to take care of you and wait on you with chicken noodle soup like you would at home. Of course, your work and responsibilities will carry on per usual, piling up as you languish in bed. And to top it all off, it’s not like you can avoid it; anyone who has ever lived in a college dorm knows that when you’re sleeping a foot or two away from your roommate(s), it’s not like close contact is really optional. After all, when you’re sharing bathrooms, dining space, desks, gym equipment, and so on, it’s no wonder that germs tend to multiply and flourish on college campuses. Simply put, getting sick in college is so unavoidable that it can pretty much be counted as an integral element of one’s traditional college experience.
That being said, just what should you do if you get sick in college?
Give your roommates a heads-up.
I cannot emphasize this enough. Personally, during my freshman year at UCLA, one of my roommates was in bed with a fever for two days before telling the rest of us that it was strep throat. Needless to say, we’re not roommates anymore. Give them some warning so that they can take some precautions (i.e. make plans to sleep elsewhere). And hey, who knows? They might even bring you some food and/or medicine if you’re not feeling up to it!
Check in with your professors…
…Especially if you’re enrolled in a small class (say, less than 15 students), if you’re going to miss more than a day or two of classes, or if you’re going to miss a particularly important class in which your absence will be noted and problematic. A quick email informing your professor about your condition often does the trick. Make sure to follow up with them about making up your assignment though!
Make a trip to the campus health center.
If you’ve been sick for an extended period of time or are feeling some really nasty symptoms, head down to the campus health center for a check up. If you don’t feel like making an appointment beforehand, head down for a walk-on checkup anyway. They’ll diagnose you and offer advice and medication, if necessary. The campus health center is like any other resource that your institution offers; you’re paying for it so you might as well as use it.
Ask a roommate or a friend to bring you medication, if necessary.
Sometimes all you need is some Nyquil. Don’t be afraid to ask(politely) a roommate or friend to get you some if they’re still up and about! Do them the service of warning them that you’re sick though, if you haven’t already, or if they haven’t figured it out for themselves. And while maybe aspirin isn’t exactly what you need, but it sure can go a long way towards making an otherwise unbearable flu much more manageable.
Eat healthy and drink plenty of fluids.
Think about what your parents would want you to eat. If chicken noodle soup is out of the question, any sort of broth would do. Fruits and vegetables, and other nutrition-heavy foods are excellent as well. Granted, eating healthy often takes a bit of effort in college, but it can be done! After all, you need to eat healthy to be healthy!
There. I said it. You need all the rest that you can get. While you might have that midterm coming up, that concert that you and your roommate have been looking forward to for forever, and/or that fundraiser your organization is putting on in the near future, the fact of the matter is that you need to take care of your health, first and foremost. It might seem counterproductive, but when you’re sick, you really ought to focus on recovering. Let yourself rest. Go to sleep!