The College Girl’s Guide to Being Sick

For about a week I had felt off. I would go from wanting to be bundled up in a jacket with a blanket wrapped around me to wanting to just put on a tank top and shorts, the bags under my eyes were horrific, my body ached horribly, and my head would randomly begin to throb. It’s just stress, I would tell myself, you’ll be fine once you’ve turned in your English paper and taken the math test. When I didn’t feel so good the next day, I decided it was probably a good idea to head to the doctor. That’s when I learned that it indeed was not stress that I was dealing with, but mono.

No matter what part of life you are in, you will get sick. It’s inevitable. And sometimes, sick days simply just aren’t an option. Part of growing up is taking the responsibility to decide when you need to get out of bed and push through it or when you need to take a day for yourself to get better. Whatever it is that you decide, here are my tips that I learned after enduring a long month of having mono and still having to get myself to class.


  1. Notify your professors. If you are sick, let your professors know. Whether you have strep throat, a fever, the flu, or even mono, let them know what’s going on and give them the heads up. That way, if you will have to miss class, a quiz, or even a test, you have a better chance of being able to make-up whatever it was that you missed. And remember, when you let your professors know that you are sick, inform them that they are more than welcome to see a doctor’s note.
  2. Drink plenty of fluids. While I will admit that the first thing I do in the morning after I turn off my alarm clock is turn on my coffee maker that should not be your go-to when you are sick. Drinking plenty of water is crucial when you are sick so that you can get better faster.
  3. Get rest. One of the hardest things for me to do when I am sick is to allow myself to get enough rest. I will personally give you the permission now, no matter how long your to-do list is, to take the time to rest and allow yourself to get better. With mono, it meant 3-5 hours of resting every day (or more), so listen to your body and get the rest that you need.
  4. Miss class if you have to. I’m immensely thankful to say that in the month I was sick with mono, I only missed one class. The day before I had three tests and a rough draft to turn in, so come Thursday, my body told me that I had done enough. I ended up sleeping through my alarm for three hours (yes, three) when typically I am up by the third chirp. Whether or not you sleep through your alarm or you simply wake up to your alarm and feel like you’ve been hit by a train, it’s up to you on whether or not you miss class. Another thing to remember is that you can pick and choose which classes to go to if you need to. Maybe your day starts with your three hard classes and ends with your two easiest classes, so you only go to your morning classes. You are in college now, it’s up to you.
  5. Go to the doctor. Growing up, any time I felt sick my parents would take me to the doctor. While it sounds a little excessive, I’m the kind of person that when I get sick, I’m sick. Now that I’ve gotten to college, I haven’t been so fast to go to the doctor and it’s definitely come to make things worse. Before I knew I had mono, I thought I was dealing with stress and allergies, so I was simply taking cold and sinus medicine. Then, I woke up and my face was so puffy it looked like I had had my wisdom teeth removed. If I would have gone to the doctor sooner, I wouldn’t have had to deal with that crazy puffiness from not getting medicine soon enough. Needless to say, a quick visit to the doctor is worth it.
  6. Take a break from work/organizations/volunteering if needed. Along with allowing yourself to rest, you should allow yourself to take the time away from organizations. Yes it’s difficult, yes you will miss out on things, yes it isn’t the most ideal situation, but right now is the time to focus on yourself and getting better. E-mail or call your boss or organization head and let them know what’s going on. I ended up having to take a temporary leave from both work and my organizations for a month per doctor’s orders. While I wasn’t too happy about it in the beginning, it allowed me to get better much faster since I had the time to rest.
  7. Tell your roommate(s) you are sick. If you are sick, your roommate needs to know. It is only fair to them to have a warning that you aren’t feeling well so that they can go about keeping themselves healthy and helping you out if needed.
  8. Stay on top of your school work. As hard as it can be, stay on top of your school work. I wasn’t awake for very long when I was sick, but when I was awake I was either in class or doing school work. Thankfully I was already ahead on my work and was able to stay on top of the work that I was assigned while I was sick. Yes, I was doing my homework from bed, but it was getting done and that’s all that matters.

Have you ever been sick in college? What steps would you add to being sick in college? If you haven’t been sick in college yet, which of these tips do you plan to implement if you do?

*please note that with the publishing of this post I am not in any way promoting Advil, the throat spray, essential oils, etc. as your method to feel better. They were simply items I used in the photo to portray being sick. Always talk to your doctor about the right medicines for you.

  • great! i’ll keep these in mind just in case 🙂 thank you for sharing!

  • This is the sickest I have ever been and it definitely wasn’t fun. I’m honestly not sure how I handled being sick for so long so well, although at two weeks in I was totally over being sick. After a month though, I can say that I’m hoping I don’t get sick for a long time!

    I totally agree with giving your professors the heads up before you miss an assignment or quiz. I actually had one of the toughest professors I’ve ever had tell me that since I was still in all of my classes while sick that if I needed more time for my homework since I was sleeping so much he was happy to give it to me. I was shocked/surprised/thrilled/thankful all in one!

    Thanks for your sweet comment! I’m so glad to finally be feeling better.

  • I am so sorry that you had to deal with mono for an entire month, that sucks. Being sick in general sucks, so I couldn’t imagine being suck for so long! I’m happy you are feeling better though! After two years and a half years, I have definitely had my fair sure of being sick in college. I would say the best thing you can do is keep in contact with your professors, and let them know you’re under the weather. Professors are usually pretty understanding if you tell them upfront, rather than waiting until after you miss an assignment or quiz.

    Colleen | Buckeye Bliss