Professors should be more understanding of sicknesses

Nick Sestanovich
Nick Sestanovich

Being sick is annoying, especially with the pressure to not miss school.

As I write, I have a sore throat and a cough. It hasn’t developed into a full-blown fever, but that is usually how it starts.

I try my best to keep myself from getting sick, but with flu season starting up I guess it was inevitable. I hate being sick for the obvious reason that it drains my energy and makes me feel horrible. I try my best to frequently wash my hands, drink lots of water and take Airborne if I know I am around a sea of flu-stricken people.

The other reason I work to keep myself from getting sick is because of the pressure to be in class every single day of the semester.

Professors don’t seem to take kindly to absences, even if students miss school for being sick. I have had other professors who treat sicknesses as “excused absences,” which is understandable, but I have also had professors who don’t excuse these kinds of absences. I can understand penalizing students for deliberately missing class,  but fevers are different. Students don’t choose to become sick, and they likely are not trying to miss class.

As somebody who works hard in school and tries to keep myself from becoming sick, I would like it if professors were a little more lenient when it comes to absences due to illness.

The reason students tend to opt out of going to school when they are sick is because they are not in the proper mindset to sit in class for an hour or two. When I have been sick in the past, I’m usually groggy and unfocused. My notes are a little less coherent and paying attention to the professor becomes a bigger challenge when I have to cough or sneeze. The time that I spend infecting everyone in class is time that can be better spent resting to improve health, so it’s understandable why staying home is attractive to those who are sick.

Unfortunately, since professors put so much emphasis on attendance, going to school essentially becomes mandatory. I feel the reason why there are always so many sniffling and coughing students in my classes during flu season is because they know they can’t miss class.

Crowding all these sick students into one class just increases other students’ chances of getting sick. I don’t think professors ever want to teach a class full of flu-stricken students, so students shouldn’t feel pressured to come to class when they are feeling feverish. If they can get the work done outside of class, it shouldn’t count as an absence.

Feeling sick is a perfectly legitimate reason to stay home from school and should be treated as such. I know there are plenty of professors that excuse students for illness, but there’s been a smattering of professors who seem to be under the mindset of “If you aren’t here, you can’t get attendance points.”

Getting sick is not the same as ditching class and should be considered an excused absence in all cases.

In the meantime, students should do everything they can to keep from becoming sick. They should keep their hands clean to prevent spreading or catching germs and take advantage of the Student Health Center if they are feeling under the weather. Take it from me, being sick is an annoying experience in or out of class, and nobody should have to be in that situation.

 

Nick Sestanovich can be reached at [email protected] or @Nsestanovich on Twitter.