Lazy Boy on Campus: The mysterious sick day

"Lazy Boy On Campus" is a weekly column on how to embrace laziness while maintaining a jam packed schedule. Easy, right?

Drinking Throat Coat is one of the many treatments that can help you recover during a sick day. You may miss class — and what feels like a semester's worth of assignments — but taking a sick day is the best thing you can do for yourself. (Tyler Benton/The Daily Campus)

I think I’m getting sick. As I sit here and type this, I’m sniffling and my nose feels like it has been rubbed raw. My throat itches and I can’t seem to breathe out of one of my nostrils. All of my joints hurt and I have a wicked headache. All of this is heavily exacerbated by the crappy, wet weather and the horrific cold that is winter in Storrs. Today’s column isn’t going to contain hacks or solutions to major college decisions. It will have nothing to do with listicles or a gripe I still have with Dining Services. Today is all about the relatively mysterious topic called the “sick day.”

The sick day is a relatively well known, but not well understood topic that has been around since television sets were in black and white, dinosaurs roamed the earth and your ancient Calculus II professor was still just a lowly graduate student in their first year of the master’s degree. To most students, a sick day is that day off where you attempt to recover but know that when you return to real life, it will seem like you have somehow missed out on an entire semester’s worth of knowledge. Or the day you miss is the one day that the professor gives away all the answers to everything on the final. Nobody knows why it works that way, it just does. It’s up there with all the great mysteries, like how did the Warriors blow a 3-1 lead and what will actually make UConn cancel classes? And yet despite all of this, I’m going to advocate for the sick day. If I have learned one thing in my almost four years at this university, it is that taking a sick day could save your life.

Important disclaimer: I shouldn’t have to say this but this column and the Daily Campus are not responsible for any work you may miss because you decided to take a sick day. Also, if for some reason you decide that the rest of the days in this semester are going to be sick days, then maybe this column—and college in general, for that matter—are not for you.

What are the main things that contribute to someone getting sick? Poor weather, lack of sleep, lack of food and close proximity to others. Any of that sound familiar? It should, because that is what every single one of us faces on a daily basis. The fact that all of the university is not in a constant state of massive illness is amazing to me. Taking a sick day can help you fix and get rid of any illness you might have.

I know that taking a sick day can be terrifying. Your parents aren’t around to take care of you. Realistically (especially if you are a freshman), nobody around you has any clue on how to actually get better. And of course, looming over all of that is the fact that classes won’t stop.

Screw all of that. The most important thing you need to make it through college is your health. Without it you won’t be able to survive one class, let alone four years of classes. If your professors don’t understand why you’re taking a sick day, screw them too. We are all only human. If missing one day of class means that you are suddenly far behind, then maybe they are more at fault than you are. Taking a day to rest and recover is exactly what your body needs to fight off whatever is causing you issues. Eat some instant noodles, drink some tea and get some sleep. Your body will thank you.

And whatever you do, do not bottle up the sickness inside. I totally get how daunting all your work might seem. Skipping a day of work may seem like it will cause your entire world to come crumbling down, but I promise it will not. Trying to “suck it up” will only cause your sick time to lengthen and could cause greater illness to strike at a moment when it really is not helpful to be sick.

As I say in all my columns like this, you do you. Only you know how much stress and illness your body can take. Do not let yourself be brought to a breaking point. Know your limits and if you have to take your sick day. You and your health will be glad you did.


Amar Batra is a senior staff photographer and opinion’s staff columnist for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email amar.batra@uconn.edu. He tweets at @amar_batra19.