Being sick in college

By Hannah Bucklin

Being sick used to mean staying home from school, lounging in your pajamas all day while you eat chicken noodle soup and watch cartoons.

If you were feeling under the weather, it wasn’t that bad because you were in the comfort of your own home and had your parents to take care of you.

Missing a day of school was just the icing on the cake. Now, however, as a college student, being sick is an entirely different experience.

These past two weeks I have unfortunately been suffering from mono, although for over a week the Health Center could not diagnose it. I did not have my mom there to give me soup, nor did I have the luxury of sleeping all day.

When you’re sick in college, life goes on and you have to go on with it. The days of staying home from school are long over.

Dealing with this illness for the past two weeks has been a real eye-opener.

Before, I did not realize how much I depended on my parents not only for food but also for comfort.

Even at age 20, I still instantly call my mom when I need help, comfort or advice; these past two weeks have been no different.

As much as I claim to be an independent adult living on my own across the country, I am still dependent on my parents.

As much as the Health Center tries to be a place where students can come in and feel as though they are being cared for, they lack the sense of urgency and care that you receive from your parents.
It doesn’t help that students have to sit in a white, dull waiting room with others coughing and sneezing next to you. You suddenly feel very unimportant and all expectations of receiving that motherly comfort disappear.

My interactions with the Health Center have been bittersweet. While I have seen some helpful and kind doctors, I was truly disappointed with my overall experience.

I cannot expect the Health Center to be like my parents, waiting there by my side to help me with whatever I need, but I do expect them to be prompt with diagnosing a student and helping them to recover.
Every interaction I have had in the Health Center has been very impersonal and was only just another reminder that I am far away from my parents.

The unfamiliarity of the doctors and the separation from my support system has been difficult. But, at a time when you are in pain and worried, you discover who your real friends are. Friends are like family when you’re like me and 3,000 miles away from home: you better hope you have some good friends to turn to.

I have been fortunate enough to have some of the best friends I can ask for. One of my friends willingly drove me to the ER at 5 a.m. on a Friday; another friend drove me from my room to the Health Center because I couldn’t make the walk.

I had another take me to get ice cream when I needed something to ease the pain in my throat.

My friends may not be related to me by blood, but I definitely consider them family.

Being sick at school, particularly with mono, has been a pretty horrible experience.

I am trying to keep up with my classes and fend for myself when it comes to making comfort food. I used to love those sick days when I was in middle school, but after these past two weeks I will never wish another sick day upon myself.

Pajamas, TV and soup will not tempt me to think about being unwell in a positive manner.

I want to be healthy and stay healthy through my college career because being bedridden without your mom around is something that no one should experience.