The best place to be sick

Where it feels good to feel bad

I often used to get sick when I was little, and I loved it. It would usually be bad enough for me to miss out on school but not so horrible I couldn’t still play during my day off. Once I grew older, I almost never got sick. I recall growing ill once in high school, and strangely, this made me jealous my friends could stay home sick.

Being sick in college is a little bit different than what it was like growing up. The one downside now is having to go to class regardless of how I feel. There have been countless times in which I had to show up to a class with a runny nose or sore throat just because every absence was considered unexcused or participation was a huge factor in the final grade. And another aspect about being sick in college is it feels more constant, and lingers around me wherever I go — dry coughs and a sore throat have become my new normal, because everyone seems to be a little bit “sick.”

This entire semester, many of my friends became sicker than normal from illnesses such as strep throat and mononucleosis. Luckily I did not contract anything from them, but this Thanksgiving — away from all of my bed-ridden friends — I woke up with one of the worst headaches of my life and my face was burning hot. I imagined this was how a really bad hangover felt. After drudging through lunch and dinner with family and greeting them half-heartedly, I went to bed early. I took some medicine and hoped it was nothing more than just a passing headache. I woke up the next morning sweating profusely and burning up with a fever of 103 degrees on the day of my birthday — what a present. I took some more medication and continued to sleep.

During the few days I was sick during Thanksgiving break, I had only a few things occupying my mind — and they were all about schoolwork and responsibilities I would have when I returned to Charlottesville. At first, I felt unlucky I fell ill during break, because this was supposed to be the time when I could decompress from life at the University and catch up on the never-ending flood of work.

But my mom kept telling me I was “really lucky” to be sick during break while I was home, and ultimately she was right. Having her tuck me in, put a cold towel on my forehead, make soup and stick a thermometer in my mouth made me feel like a kid again. In college, you have no one who really takes care of you besides a few friends who check up on you, asking how you’re doing and seeing if you need anything — so it was nice to have my mom when I really needed her.

I may not have had as restful of a Thanksgiving as I wanted, but I could not have imagined going through all of that while I was at school. Being home in my own bed and with my mom by my side was probably the best time and place to be sick as a college student. And, best of all, I didn’t even have to miss a day of class.

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