Sick Before Second Semester: The Struggles of Being Sick on Your Own



It’s bound to happen: you feel that itch in your nose, that tickle in your throat, and bam, you’re sick. It’s the worst, but I’ve always had someone with me to help when I got sick. I have my parents and other adults around whose wise words of wisdom (and ability to take me to the doctor when I am ill) have gotten me through all of my ailments. But in mid-October I felt that tickle in my throat and began to feel under the weather alone. I mean, I could call my parents and get their advice, but ultimately I was in charge of taking care of myself.

It’s not like I haven’t taken care of myself when I’m sick. I get seasonal allergies and a bad cough every fall, so it’s not like I was clueless. There is something nerve-wracking, though, about being in a foreign CVS trying to figure out which brand of cough syrup is going to be most beneficial or attempting to find a not sketchy, 24 hour urgent care clinic at midnight when you can’t stop coughing and your roommate has no clue where to go. It’s a lot, and doing it all for the first time while you’re under the weather is not fun.

I’m currently still sick while writing this, dealing with all the struggles of being sick on your own for the first time (although both my parents have been very helpful and done everything they could to help me). Here are the things I’ve learned so far.

Medicine is expensive. I’ve spent a ridiculous amount on cough drops, sinus medicine, tissues, more cough drops, more tissues, and more medication (seriously, can I not spend $20 on four days worth of sinus medication?!). Even though some things seem relatively inexpensive, it adds up when you blow through a box of tissues in a day.

Photo by Rex Pickar on Unsplash

You need rest. I went to all of my classes except two in the four week course of my current sickness. I had dealt with it in high school, why couldn’t I do it now? Turns out, between classes, work, and extracurriculars, I didn’t let my body rest enough to heal, and now I’m even more sick than before and just as tired. If you are sick and have the ability to not go to class, use it and rest. You will get better faster than if you do not rest. You are ok to take sick days, especially if you haven’t missed any classes.

Listen to those around you. I admit it, I am really bad at listening to other people’s advice about when I’m sick. I was told by multiple people to go to the doctor and get medicine, but I didn’t until my mom, on the phone with me from California, told me to go see a doctor as soon as I could. I finally did get medicine that would actually help me get better.

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

Being sick is the worst, but in new environments like your first semester at college, it can seem like so much more to deal with. With support from those around you and advice from parents or other adults who actually have a clue about life, though, it will be ok. Cherish your ability to breathe out of your nose while you have it, and stay healthy, kids.