If you’ve been attending class lately, you might have noticed that there is a sickness passing around campus. Aside from the lecturers and the typing of keys, there is the distinct sniffing, coughing, and throat-clearing of the flu season. It is a natural process of life, even if it is annoying. You’ll find a lot of people on campus saying they don’t want to get sick, which is understandable, but honestly, it’s going to happen one way or another. </p>
As of printing, I am sick. I am on the tail end of my cold, where it is mostly just a stuffy nose. I am okay with being sick. Like I said before, it is a natural process of the world, especially being back in school and being exposed to thousands of people each day. There are some people, however, who I think are embarrassed of being sick. I make this assumption based on the people in my classes who seem to stifle their coughs, or try to blow their nose as quietly as possible.
Having a bad chest cold means having some bad coughs, it’s just part of the process. I know what it’s like to have a big cough and it’s a little, for lack of a better word, wet. You’re basically hacking up a lung along with a side of mucus. We’ve all been there, it sucks. Back when I was shyer and disliked standing out, I used to stifle my coughs to the point where just breathing would cause me to hack, ahem, and generally just stop breathing because my throat needed to be cleared.
I have one experience, one I’ve never shared up until this point and I won’t go into details because it is kind of gross, where I was so paralyzed by the thought of disrupting my class (because it was an exam in high school), that I couldn’t get access to tissue paper. I was thus stuck with a lot of snot with nowhere to go. The ending to that experience is not pretty, but I basically learnt two lessons: it’s not the end of the world to stand up and get a Kleenex from the teacher’s desk, even if it’s an exam; and always have your own tissue paper when you have a cold.
What I am trying to convey here is that yes, it may be a little daunting to stand up in the middle of a lecture to step outside and have a coughing fit or go to the bathroom to blow your nose, but don’t let that stop you. Yes, some people may look at you on your way out (because the human eye is naturally attracted to movement, and in the middle of a lecture you will stand out), but they’ll forget about you more or less immediately. If you cough in class or walk out, you will gain attention. Trust me when I say stepping out is much more satisfying, because you can blow your nose or hack up mucus to your heart’s content, guilt-free.
But if you’re one of those people who cough or sneeze or whatever without covering up, that is another issue.
When someone is sick and they say, “oh, I don’t want to get you sick,” and they keep a small distance, that is fine. When someone is not sick and knows someone who is, it is also okay to keep a small distance. The worst person, however, is the sick person who does not control themselves; the person who is not coughing into their elbow or is sneezing rudely in your face. This is the person who is at fault in the flu season.
To conclude this pseudo-PSA, it’s okay to be sick, so long as it is in a controlled manner. Unfortunately, we live in a culture where wearing a surgical mask makes someone look “weird” even though it’s basically there as a precaution to stop spreading. So I guess our elbows will have to do.