How To: Survive Being Sick at School

There is legitimately nothing worse than being sick at school. Unless you live close by, you’re probably stuck in your dorm room without your mom to take care of you. The first time you’re sick at school is very scary, mostly because you don’t realize how incapable you are of taking care of yourself until you’re lying on the floor with a fever. But fear not! Here is the ultimate guide to surviving your first time sick at school.

1. Go to Health Services

Hey, did you know that there’s a convenient free doctor’s office right here on campus? When you’re feeling truly under the weather, you should go to Health Services. They’re nice and they’ll help you out. Whether it’s giving you antibiotics or just those nice medicated cough drops, the lovely people who work at Health Services are there for students. (Unfortunately, they aren’t open on Sundays, so if you really need to see a doctor on that day I would recommend going to Harvard Vanguard in Davis Square.)

2. Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate

As college students, we really suck at taking care of ourselves. We’re adults, but like, adult cats. We still need people to feed us and take care of us and remind us to drink lots of water. When you’re sick, you need to be drinking a lot (and I’m not talking about the fun kind of drinking). Water, tea, orange juice, Gatorade. In my opinion, Gatorade is a disgusting abomination. But when I get sick, I buy one of those jumbo sized suckers. Nothing does the trick when you’re sick like Gatorade.

3. Use your friends

There’s being kinda sick so you still go to class, and then there’s being so sick you can’t leave your dorm room. When you’re the latter kind of sick, you need to text everyone in your contact list to ask for help. You’d be surprised by how many people are willing and happy to help you. You have a whole army of friends willing to get you toast from the dining hall and keep you company if you’re not too infectious. If you have a really good roommate, he or she will be able to make you tea and keep your spirits up. It gets lonely, being alone and sick in your room all day. Friends and roommates are there to help.

4. Keep in contact with your professors

The second your thermometer goes above 98.6 degrees, you should email your professors letting them know what’s going on. Maybe you’ll only miss one day of classes, maybe you’ll miss a whole week. Health Services can provide a note for you excusing you from classes, and then you can just keep your professors in the loop about when you’ll hand in certain assignments and when you’ll come back to class. Shockingly, professors aren’t trying to ruin your life. Most of them realize that health comes first, and are willing to extend due dates and give make-up exams. So don’t stress about missing this class or that test. Focus on getting better first, and then you can devote your time to getting caught up with the help of your professors.

5. Call your mom. A lot.

As scary as it is for you to be sick at college without your mom (or whoever takes care of you when you’re sick), it’s just as worrying for your mom to be away from you. Let her know what’s going on. Chances are that even if she’s thousands of miles away, she’ll be able to help you by offering support and love. I got really sick on a Sunday, so I called my mom and told her I needed to go to the doctor. She called Harvard Vanguard in Davis and set up an appointment for me, and even did all of the insurance paperwork for me over the phone so I didn’t have to do anything when I got there. Even when moms are far away, they’re still the perfect people to take care of you.

Being sick at school is awful, but you can definitely get through it. Just remember that you have a support system here, and there are lots of people who can and will help you. And seriously, stay hydrated. You won’t regret it.

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