An open letter to the sick person next to me in class.
Dear Sickly Sam,
“Good to see you!” is what I would say if you weren’t slowly dying next to me.
I’m worried for your health, my own and everyone else’s in our classroom.
School is no place to deal with your sickness. You sit there miserably with your head buried in your arms on the table as you wheeze and sneeze. I know it’s tough to miss a day of class and I can understand if you have a test, but it’s lecture today. I’ll let you copy my notes if that’s what it takes. Please, just go home. You’re infinitely more likely to get better if you set aside time for bed rest or a doctor’s visit, if possible.
It’s amazing what a few days can do if you’re on the proper medication and spend your time drinking tea, eating soup and sleeping. Obviously, your illness may be stronger than those fixes, but if those tried-and-true remedies aren’t working, there’s absolutely no way being out and about will do you any good.
If you stay home, you’re far less likely to get 30 to 50 other people sick and ruin their weeks too. Don’t you wish that the person who got you sick didn’t show up when it happened? Let’s follow the golden rule and do unto others as you’d have them do unto you.
One missed class won’t ruin your grade. You’re resourceful. You can find a friend with the information you need or email our professor.
There are worse things in the world than missing class, like being patient zero for a sickness that puts countless professors and students out of commission for weeks at a time. Not showing up may be a thankless act, but the general public will be happier if they aren’t sick.
I’m empathetic to your struggle, though. You don’t want to waste the money you’ve spent on your education, lose track of vital information for a test or feel defeated by your sickness. But realistically, how much more are you really gaining by sitting in class and having a coughing fit every other minute?
If you’re unmoved by the possibility of making a quicker recovery, at least try to act like you’re paying attention during lecture. There’s no bigger waste of your own time than coming to class sick – when you could be resting and recovering – and perusing cars and Hollywood drama instead of listening to the professor’s lecture.
It all comes down to courtesy and self-care. The sooner you hop into bed for a day of rest, not only will your health potentially improve, but your professors and peers will all benefit by not getting sick. It’s not terribly difficult to sleep for a day, and doing everyone a favor might make you feel a little bit better, if only on the inside.
Your not sick classmate