Last week, I was sick. Upon coming home from school, I walked to my bed and passed out. Physically-deficient and mentally-drained, my poor health was legitimized by a doctor’s note saying that I would not be back until this week. I needed to rest. Sleep. Drink fluids. Take vitamins. Curl up into those overpriced Marimekko sheets that I really shouldn’t have bought and sleep for hours, nights, even days. REST!!!
Yet I panicked. Particularly about two classes. One seminar course I am in has three students (I am included in this number). If I am absent, it’s pretty obvious. Not to mention that I made a pact with the two students to always go to class otherwise things could get awkward. Another course, Inuktitut, is a language class. If I miss one three-hour lesson I will be severely behind and then I really won’t know what anyone is saying (this is already a minor problem when I actually attend class).
I decided to drag myself to school. Be an active participant. Listen (although my hearing was a little off). Try to speak Inuktitut (in a nasal accent). Take notes (bad ones because of the blurry eyesight). I actually ended up sitting beside another student who was recovering from something else in Inuktitut. We shared the tissue box. Either way, I would have felt bad going or not going to school. Since my illness was not contagious, I didn’t feel like I was going to make my classmates sick although I think because my immune system was down I caught something new. I also feel like I wouldn’t have slept if I stayed home but would have been awake in bed obsessed with what I was missing.
This is the second time I have been ill this winter and my greatest fear is that my professors won’t believe me when I say I am sick (which is why I always get a pricey doctor’s note). Isn’t that terrible? But it’s true. I’m always paranoid that I might come across as a lazy student who can’t be bothered to roll out of bed and make a bad impression on faculty. So I usually push myself to do things I shouldn’t be doing to save face. A sad looking, exhausted face with sore eyes that can’t stay open. But face, nonetheless.
This year I am constantly surprised by how supportive and understanding my professors have been whenever I’ve confided or relayed any personal information about myself. When I told the professor who teaches the three person seminar that I was not feeling very well, she told me to not worry about missing a class. Since I’ve had her before, she knows that I have a solid work ethic and I don’t use excuses in order to get out of class or work.
I wish I listened to my body instead of guilty conscience (you can still walk, you aren’t that sick!) and overactive imagination (my professors will think I am skipping class because I am lazy!) because by Friday, after attending nearly all of my classes, I felt extremely horrible and was miserable at my father’s birthday.
If you have any concerns about missing school because you are not well, I really encourage students to contact their Registrar’s office. Also, get a sick note, if possible, from your doctor. And don’t be afraid of letting your professor know that you are not well and may not come to class. Professors get ill, too, because they are only human. I guess being sick reminds me that I am only human, too.