Eight Tips When You’re Sick in College

You look at your schedule. Classes from 9 am to 4 pm followed by extracurriculars, work, and a party. Within the first five minutes, you already find yourself exhausted—constant coughing and sneezing. It’s easy to overwork yourself in college. Here’s your guide to taking a break and getting better.

1. Don’t over-exert yourself. Seriously. That weekly club meeting? Skip it. That bar party Thursday night? Take a break. It is an absolute must that you give your body plenty of rest—the more you allow yourself to take a break, the faster you will recover.

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2. Drink plenty of fluids. I recommend Gatorade, Naked juice, or hot tea. Anything that helps replenish electrolytes, has added nutrients, or soothes the throat. Fluids help loosen mucus and replace fever-lost fluids as well.

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3. Email your professors. Attendance matters! Missing multiple classes can leave a bad impression on your professors. They may presume that you are irresponsible or think you believe their class isn’t important enough. Email your professor stating your illness and ask for critical information you may have missed in class. Be aware: some professors may have already outlined what to do in case of illness in their syllabus, so be watchful for that. They also may require a doctor’s note in the case of an extended absence.

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4. Do simple work. I know what you’re thinking. “What? I’m sick!” You don’t have to be running around on campus or pulling all-nighters in the library, but my advice is to write a list of things you should be doing/are missing out on. This way, you can get back on top of things quickly when you’re better. And some of those tasks can probably be tackled in bed while you’re still sick. Anyone can send out a quick email and do some readings. Sleep when you need to sleep, but be semi-productive when you’re awake. You can do this in your dorm room!

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5. But also … don’t become overwhelmed with the work you’re missing. So you took one day off? It’s not the end of the world. It’s much more important that you are physically and mentally well before you start becoming active again. Make a note of extremely important deadlines, but in the meantime, just do what you can!

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6. Call your mom! Or dad! Or uncle! Or best friend! Really anyone! Everyone talks about being physically exhausted, but no one talks about the mental toll sickness takes on your health, especially if you live in a single room with no human contact. Calling someone you love or having someone there for you can lift up your spirits and give you the mindset you need to get better.

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7. Practice healthy hygiene. Wash your hands before meals and in general. Take hot showers. Having hand sanitizer on the go is always a plus. It’s important you do not make others sick because of poor hygiene habits. And changing that shirt you’ve been sleeping in for three days will make you feel loads better.

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8. SLEEP! Do I need to explain? Get some zZZzzzs in!

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Remember, if you’re not well, you’re probably not performing well in class or extracurriculars. Take care!

About the author

Ruki PV

Hello! My name is Ruki and I am a current junior at the UofR. I am majoring in Computer Science, Anthropology, and Film/Media Studies. On-campus, I am involved in a variety of activities, including Women in Computing, Residential Life, and TOOP. I am also involved in the Rochester Prison Project and an avid advocate for social justice. Meliora!

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