3 Things the Doctors Don't Tell You About the Flu

When I was younger, around eleven years old, I was very prone to getting the flu. In fact, I got the flu two years in a row during the same exact week of February. I remember shaking and sweating at the same time and coughing so hard my eyes bulged from their sockets. I would bring my pillow downstairs and my mom would set me up a little area on our couch in the playroom and place a bell on the arm to ring if I needed anything. The doctor told me to get plenty of rest and that there isn’t much to do but to take it easy for the week. I’m in college now and the doctor says the same exact thing. However, she didn’t tell me a few important things that go hand in hand with “taking it easy” in college.

1. Taking it easy when you’re in college is really stressful.

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When I was in fifth and sixth grade getting the flu, those classes didn’t matter. The most I would miss was a few unimportant homework assignments that didn’t affect my grade anyway. When you’re in college, missing even one lecture day can be detrimental to your work. Sure, you can get notes from a classmate, but it’s not the same as being engaged in the class discussion and really getting a firm grasp on what you’re learning. Also, my lack of attendance without immediate justification probably has my professors pegging me as some kind of slacker that just doesn’t care enough to show up; meanwhile, I’m in bed trying my hardest to catch up with work and frantically texting my classmates to ask if I’ve missed anything important. I swear I’m not just lazy!

2. You miss your mom more than you’d think.

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I’m not afraid to say it: I miss my mom a lot. When I first came to college, I wasn’t homesick at all. I’d be away from home for six months and still not be homesick, but it’s days where I'm stuck in bed, throwing up all night, not allowed to go anywhere, that I really miss home. More specifically, I miss my mom taking care of me like I was eleven years old again, bringing me soup and juice without asking, not being afraid to get infected too, letting me know that everything will get better. I call her and she tells me she wishes she could be here to take care of me, but that just makes me miss her more.

3. It’s lonely.

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I get bored really easily, so being isolated in my room for days is torture. I actually miss sitting through lectures and forced group work. I can hear life happening around me. My friends are getting ready to go to New Orleans for the weekend, a trip that I was supposed to go on too, but now, instead of tossing back shots on Bourbon Street, I’m tossing back shots of Robitussin and NyQuil before bed. I guess my health and safety is more important than having a really fun, carefree, stress-free weekend with my friends in NOLA, but it still sucks not being able to go. And since those friends were also my roommates, I’m even more alone than I was before.