Being Sick in College: Adulting Yourself

One of the biggest things you learn in college is being independent. For most of us, that doesn’t seem too difficult. We are used to waking up on our own for classes, handling our assignments, and even having jobs. College is about learning to become even more independent than we are already were in high school. But I’m sure many of my peers would agree that whether you are thirty miles or 3,000 miles away from home, nothing questions your independence quite like getting sick in college.

Unfortunately, I came down with the nasty cold that has been circulating the campus over the last couple weeks. I never understood how much one silly head cold could turn you into the biggest baby. I realized as I went through mountains of tissues and was coughing up my lungs that the only thing that could possibly make this slow death less painful would be having my mother to take care of me, make me soup, and cuddle me on the couch. I realized as a young 18-year-old in college that while my mother would probably love it if I called her every day (especially when sick), if I truly wanted to be independent, I couldn’t call her every five minutes to complain or cry because everything in my body hurt. I couldn’t ask her if she would call my teachers and tell them I couldn’t make it to class. I had to make the decision on my own and decide if a head cold was really a viable reason to lay in bed all day.

It’s a common idea that no matter how old you get, you always want your mom when sick. I have never believed in that statement more than I do now. Being sick for the first time at school really teaches you how to adult on your own. It also teaches you that roommates and friends may not hug you or comb your hair like your mother does, but they do come in a close second when they’re making sure you’re taking your medication and sleeping, and that you have all the tissues in the world you could possibly want. There are times we wish we could have our mom at school, but having our roommates is almost enough to make it through the day.

So to all the moms out there, on behalf of all college kids who have ever been sick, we thank you for taking care of us when we were sick all those years at home, and we thank you for teaching us how to handle sickness on our own, and finally, we thank you for raising our roommates the way you did so that they could mom us when you couldn’t.