Ah, the all too familiar scene of the “illderness.” No, not the wilderness, the “illderness” – the landscape of tissues, propped pillows and empty bowls of chicken noodle soup that a bedroom becomes when the ill inhabit it. From the age of learning to speak until 18 years-of-age, this call usually brings a parent or guardian to take a temperature and bring more soup, but once college rolls around you’re lucky to get a roommate who won’t quarantine you, let alone bring you soup. Care for your health comes down to you.

So what’s a sick college student to do?

First, go to the Student Health Center. Located under Harborview Apartments, the center is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. while the University is in operation. Simply walk in and you can be checked out by a full time nurse within minutes.

Beyond basic care, nurses can also help students set up an appointment with a doctor who visits multiple times a week, and refer students to any necessary outside services. For care of the mind as well as the body, the center also offers free counseling services to the Gannon community.

Once a student has been checked out, diagnosed and has received medications in hand (whether over-the-counter or prescribed,) the next thing to do is heal. Sometimes this involves taking a break from the rigors of college life.

Many teachers are very understanding when it comes to an illness, and a simple e-mail or visit to office hours is enough to get a student excused from class, and assignments postponed. This is not something to be abused of course, but believe it or not, teachers were once students too, and want to make sure their students are well.

It is also important to stay home and rest, even when it means missing meetings, practices and parties. A busy college life means stress, and stress leads to illness. Even your club and organization leaders, coaches and friends will understand if you need a few days to stay home with soup and Netflix.

As the famous saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure;” a healthy diet, stress management, exercise and health education are vital to ensuring peak performance!

Sickness happens, and the close proximity of students during college life makes it all the more likely. However, part of being a college student and growing up is learning how to manage your health. Resources like the Student Health Center, as well as smart choice and education about your health, can keep you in the classroom and out of the “illderness.”