Getting Sick in College

Getting sick during the academic year is one of the most difficult challenges you will go through as a college student. School doesn’t stop when you get sick, and if you are sick enough that you need lots of rest, and therefore have little time for much else, you are going to get behind.

On this Labor Day, I had just about the worst headache I’d ever had. It felt like my head was in some vindictive machine designed by Jigsaw from the Saw movies that squeezed the entire top hemisphere of my skull.

It was really strange, coming on completely out of the blue, and ibuprofen couldn’t dull the sharp throbbing. Not even a little. I spent most of the day lying in bed, not doing much of anything, because I could barely even see through the pain let alone think.

Tuesday morning I got up and the pain seemed to be almost gone, but by the time I got through my first class, it was back with a vengeance. I went home at 3 in the afternoon, and slept for three hours, got up, ate, and went back to bed for another 9 hours.

On Wednesday I decided I really needed to get it checked out and headed to health services after my 8:00 class. After I described my symptoms to the visiting doctor and she did a quick evaluation, she determined that I was suffering from a sinus infection.

Now, Thursday night, after a few rounds of antibiotics, the pain is very dull and continuing to dissipate. My work load, however, has not dissipated, it had has grown immensely in the three days in which I have been practically useless. While I was ahead in my classes before, I am now barely keeping up. I know I’ll be able to catch up, and it’s just a matter of time, but while I’m catching up it’s going to be rough.

During my internship last spring and summer I was very fortunate to enjoy all of the benefits of a full time employee, including vacation time and sick leave. Although I didn’t need or use nearly as much sick leave as I was given, I did need to take a few days here and there to fend off stomach viruses or soothe an aching head and low grade fever.

I had the luxury of calling in sick when I was ill, and the really cool thing was that I still got paid! It was a really difficult concept for me to accept, and I only used it when I felt I was not in a state in which I could do productive work, but it is a huge perk of working in the real world. And although it may or may not be typical, it was my experience that I just picked up where I left off on my projects when I got back. I’m sure that as I climb the latter in the Engineering world in my future, that won’t always be the case, but as an intern it was.

At Riddle, you don’t miss class unless you have Swine Flu. When you are in a challenging major, you have to go to class, because without the lessons and notes you will get lost later on. In college, sometimes there really is no rest for the weary.

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