As a sophomore at Staples, I lead a pretty busy life. I’ve got places to be and things to do. I’ve got a plate as full as the one at my first all-you-can-eat buffet. I am always told that my eyes are bigger than my stomach.
Most of the time I feel like a bug in a human’s world, afraid I’ll be crushed by the seniors that resemble mythical giants. But somehow, I divert these creatures and survive. Then, the horrific inevitable happens.
My immune system fails me.
When faced with this catastrophe, I struggle with an internal question. No, not “to be or not to be?” English class hasn’t brainwashed me that much, yet.
The question is, do I do the noble thing and stay quarantined in an effort to prevent contamination, or cover up my red-as-Rudolph nose with as much concealer as possible and drag myself to school?
Let’s be real. No one wants the sick kid in his or her class, hacking up a storm, constantly getting up to use a tissue that frankly, feels like it was the love baby of a cardboard box and sandpaper.
Everyone would just be better off if we, the sick, swaddled ourselves in bed like newborn babies and slept. But then again, while hibernating in our own little cocoons, we are missing out.
When we’re feeling so crummy that pulling a binder out of our backpacks takes too much effort, why do we feel the obligation to come to school?
Maybe it’s because we’re constantly being reminded on a daily basis that we only have between one to four years, depending on the grade, before college. And although that may not seem like it’s even in this lifetime, it goes quicker than expected. We know that we need to make every test, every project, and every day count.
Or maybe it’s because of the pressure from our parents. If parents work during the day, which many do, perhaps they don’t feel comfortable leaving an ill child alone at home. But if you’re sick enough that they don’t want to leave you unattended, and we’re all old enough that being an unaccompanied minor in your own home for a few hours should not be a problem, then should you really be at school?
Then there’s the stereotypical perfectionist student. I must admit, I’m guilty as charged. There’s no feeling worse for me then coming back to school after spending time recuperating and feeling like you’ve entered an alternate universe. Schoology and email, which allow me to communicate with my teachers, are my lifeline when stranded on the island of sickness. Falling behind, or failure, is simply not an option.
We’re all under the illusion that there will be some heinous consequence for neglecting school. What, are we going to be locked in the secret dungeon in the basement? Expelled and sent to juvenile detention?
Honestly, we’re in high school. We’re not world class surgeons or CEOs of major companies. We’re students. Sometimes, we just need those breaks from school, and we don’t appreciate the guilt trip associated with it.
While you’re at it, bulk up on hand sanitizer and vitamin A while you still can.