How to Deal with Getting Sick in College

It happens at the worst possible time ever. You wake up, clogged nose, sore throat, burning head, and you know. You’re sick. The worst part is you’re in college and getting sick is seriously just not an option right now. You’re away from home, you’ve got classes, homework, and that exam to worry about. You can’t get sick now! Here’s some tips on staying sane when you feel like death.

Deal with getting sick in college

Stock up on supplies

When I first went away to boarding school, I had a stock pile of everything I could possibly need medicine wise. It’s smart to have a supply of pain reliever, ointment, cough drops, and cold medicine in your dorm just in case. Also handy, but less important, is a thermometer, tissues, alka-seltzer, and vitamins. If you get caught of guard and become ill with zero supplies, fret not! The nurse or clinic at your school usually supplies these things for free. I know the last thing you want to do when you’re sick is get out of bed and drag yourself to the nurse, but usually they have “cold kits” and stuff ready to go and you can leave with a big supply for free.


My freshman year I came down with a vicious cold and it was horrible. My friend at the time introduced me to the wonders of medicated teas and I have been changed ever since. Alka seltzer and Zarbees are good brands to try, just look for their cold/flu/cough/sore throat teas in the cold section of any convenience store. You can heat a mug of water in the microwave and mix in the little packet and dear lord they are so soothing. I take them to class and work and feel alive for a few hours. There’s even nighttime options which serve as a sleep aid. If you don’t have access to medicated tea, opt for a dark tea. You can usually find a selection in the dining hall of your college or in the school store. Anything hot does wonders for a sore throat!

Stay in bed

This is such an important point. So many people who get sick in college try to get up and keep with their schedule anyway. DON’T DO THIS. I repeat. DO NOT DO THIS. You will not get better, you will feel worse, and you will infect everyone else! If you have a fever, stay in bed and warn your roommate to stay away! Email your professors about submitting projects later or for missed assignments. My school requires you to go see the clinic in order to be formally excused, but most professors will take your word for it if this isn’t a common occurrence. Once again, if you have a fever, do not go to class! Stay in your bed and get better! You don’t want to get everyone else sick, it spreads so quickly on campuses! Not to mention, you’ll get better faster if you let your body rest.


Another super important thing! You might think you need to stay up late and get all your schoolwork done because you’re falling super behind since you’re sick, but resist this urge! Your body needs sleep to heal, so go to bed as early as you can! Even if it’s only 6pm and you just ate dinner, if you feel tired, go to sleep! You’ll probably feel better and more efficient when you wake up!

Be kind to yourself

Remember that the key to getting better is being gentle with your body and allowing it to rest. Focus on getting better, and try not to stress about being sick. It’s hard when you’re away from home and have nobody to take care of you, so enlist the help of your friends if you can! Ask if they’ll bring you dinner or something from the dining hall. Ask for a copy of their notes! Ask for help if you need it and be kind to yourself!

I’m currently coming down with something right now and am drinking a warm cup of tea while sucking on cough drops. How do you deal with being sick?