Student Snippets A Window Into The Daily Life & Thoughts of SLIS Students

Health Comes First

Jill Silverberg

Does anyone else remember the days when they would pretend to be sick to get out of classes? I certainly do. Back during my high school days, I would sometimes wish I would get sick just so I wouldn’t have to get up at 6:20am and endure about eight hours of mind-numbing and soul breaking school. During those days, I would have to be strategic; pretend to be sick too much and the parents would certainly catch on. I doubt I missed a total of ten days throughout my entire high school career and certainly at least three or four of those times I probably truly needed to miss school, but I’ll be honest, those days when I could stay home and relax were always worth the risk of getting caught faking it. 

Ironically, high school would be the last time I ever truly enjoyed getting sick.
In my first semester as a freshman, I caught the Swine Flu, H1N1, and missed an entire week of school. Not only that, but my parents had to drive four and half hours from NY to take me home for if they didn’t, I would have been quarantined and would have had to pay for it. When I finally returned to school a week later, I walked right into midterms, absolutely unprepared. I managed to make it through, but by the skin of my teeth. After that, I vowed never to miss another class unless I simply did not possess the energy to move. I’ll confess, under this vow, I did some pretty reckless things. I once fainted in the library while trying to hand in a final paper for a sociology course. Another, I emptied an entire box of tissues over the course of a three hour seminar course. In retrospect, I should have listened to my body and stayed in my dorm room. Yet the fear of missing school was too strong; I didn’t want to get left behind.
This past Monday, I finally learned the lesson that I should have learned years ago: listen to your body. During my afternoon class on Monday, my professor politely threw me out of class. 
“You look miserable”, she said. “I can’t go home,” I weakly replied, “I’m here to learn”. Since I’m the type of student who pulls most my notes from the professor’s actual lecture and supplement the information with their powerpoint presentations, I really depend on hearing my professors’ lectures. But almost as if she read my mind, my professor said the magic words: “Go home, I’ll email you my notes.” And so I left, and when I got home, collapsed into bed. 
While no one likes to miss school, sometimes, it isn’t worth killing yourself for. Graduate school isn’t like high school; if you are sick, the professors will understand. Your body needs rest, not more stress. While I can happily report that I am feeling much better now, from this point onwards, I won’t be as reckless with my health. I know my professors will understand and through the help of classmates, I can get caught up on the information I missed. 
School might be important, but sometimes, you just have to admit defeat.