5 Horrifying Stages of Being Sick in College

Fall is arguably one of the best times on campus: the leaves are changing, homecoming is in full swing, and holiday breaks are just around the corner.

On the flip side, illness is rampant. You can’t help but take a minute to listen to the symphony of coughing in lecture—we’ve all been there. At the most inopportune time, you are struck with an illness that you could probably trace throughout the entire campus. Each time it happens, it seems, at least for me, to follow a similar pattern. Here are the 5 horrifying stages of being sick in college.


You start your day with a sniffle and cough, assuring yourself it is just allergies. In the back of your head, you know better, but there are too many projects, papers, and assignments, leaving no time to be sick. If you are lucky and it is only a cold — best of luck with the stomach flu — you go about your day pretending that everything is fine.

Loading up

The sickness is getting to you but with finals looming and almost all of your absences used up, you have to go to class. You head to CVS and load on up on medicine and maybe a little something to treat yo’ self — I mean you are already sick so why not buy the candy bar or pint of ice cream. AND. . .you have already gone through two boxes of Kleenex’s in a day, so not a bad idea to get some more.

Remembering what it is like to not be sick

While you are thriving on cough drops, you remember how ungrateful you are. You reminisce on the sweet memories when you could breathe through your nose, sleep without four pillows propping you up to avoid coughing, and being able to stay up past 9:30pm.

Calling mom

After a while of being miserable, it is time to call mom or dad that will listen to you complain. Hopefully, they send you some well wishes, but odds are you will get some tough love. You ask all of your illness questions. Even though most of them could probably be answered on the internet, it is nice to hear it from a trusted source. For me, I repeat this step two-three times a day, but it is really up to you.

Sweet Release

Finally, after a week or so of dread, you are finally able to sit through a lecture without a coughing fit. You can put the medicine in the back of the cabinet until you have to pull it out again. If you are anything like me, you will quickly forget you are invincible, just until you are sick again.

Being sick is never fun, but being sick in college is another level. As much as it really stinks, in a short time you are healthy again with sickness in the review mirror and winter break on the horizon. But to make life a little easier, I would recommend a flu shot and some vitamin C; you’ll thank yourself later.

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