How to Survive University When You’re Sick

By Taylor

Imagine this. It’s almost Finals season. You have three papers due. Four presentations coming up. And you haven’t done your readings for the past month. You don’t think it could get any worse, but then it does: you wake up with a stuffy nose. You grab the ColdFX, trying to ward off any symptoms of sickness. But it doesn’t work. The next day your throat is on fire, your nose is running, you can’t stop coughing. All you want to do is drink a gallon of tea and try to rest but schoolwork waits for no one.

But fear not! Yes, being sick is one of the worst things to happen to a university student, but luckily for you, I have been sick enough times this year (and the past four years of my undergrad) to have gathered up some tips and advice that have got me through my studies when it feels like I’m dying.

What To Do

My biggest advice would be this: Every second that’s not spent doing homework or preparing a presentation or cramming for a test, needs to be spent sleeping. Turn off that Netflix, put away your phone, and catch some much-needed z’s. However, if you’re struggling to take a nap midday, try to relax as much as possible and read a good book instead. (I’d recommend any of these from my favorite book list!)

What To Wear

Layers, layers, layers. When I’m sick, I no longer care about being fashionable. All that matters is being comfy and warm. Because the last thing I want is to be freezing with my lowered immune system. Scarves are my best friend when I’m sick. And hats. And hoodies. And hoodies (yes, two hoodies!). Anything warm and cozy really. Oh, and pockets. You’ll want a place to squirrel emergency tissues.

What To Eat

My appetite totally goes away when I’m sick but I know that it’s important to feed your body during this horrible time. And sometimes, the best fuel you can put in your body is a nice steaming hot bowl of soup. You can find great soup options at La Pasta in HUB, and Subway or L’Express in SUB!

What To Drink

There is one thing on campus that has the power to make me feel somewhat better whenever I am sick. It is the Hot Apple Cider from Cookies by George. Something about it just soothes my throat and clears my sinuses. It’s basically a magic potion. One time, during an especially bad cold, I ordered three of these throughout the day. I was definitely on a sugar high because of it but it also did wonders to help me feel better. But if apple cider just isn’t your jam, I’d also recommend a nice hot tea from your favorite campus coffee shop.


I know it’s so easy to get overwhelmed and feel like your life is falling apart when you have so much to do and you have no energy from being sick. But try to focus on helping yourself get better, because that’s always the most important thing.

And if you aren’t sick yet, keep these tips in mind:

Wash Your Hands

Every time you set your hand on one of the desks in your classroom or open a door into a pedway, it’s like you’re giving a high five to every other person who has previously touched it, so washing your hands is a big part of avoiding the flu.

Cover Your Mouth

Staying healthy can also mean helping your peers stay healthy. If you have to cough or sneeze, help protect those around you by covering your mouth with the inside of your elbow.

No Touching

Avoid rubbing your eyes, wiping your mouth, or touching your nose before washing your hands. Nobody wants the flu and nobody want pink eye.

Don’t Share

Avoid sharing your water bottles, lip balm, or that pen you chew on in class. And if you have a reusable hanky… keep it to yourself.

Avoid People… Who ARE Sick

If you or your friends are sick, keep in touch over the phone, or iChat, or G-Chat, or Skype… don’t hang out in person. And if you see a sneezing person sitting on the bus, opt to stand or keep moving to the back.

Use the Garbage

Although you might want to accept the challenge of building the tallest tissue pile (and if you do… ick), please don’t. Put your used Kleenex where it belongs — the garbage.