There are certain rites of passage one must complete in their first year of college, like pulling an all-nighter before an 8 a.m. exam and getting locked out of your dorm room after taking a shower. I managed to accomplish one of the more lofty achievements: getting sick and not having your mother available to take care of you.

I tried my hardest to avoid the pestering scratch in the back of my throat, telling myself that I was hoarse because I cheered too exuberantly at the basketball game. When I began feeling run down, I blamed it on the fact that I was simply tired from staying up too late. It was only after my roommate told me to “go take some NyQuil already – it’s 3 a.m. and you’ve been coughing all night” that I realized I might be coming down with something. The following day, I sucked down a spoonful of cough medicine and stuffed some Cold-EEZEs in my pocket and headed to class. Alas, my symptoms were still present.

I slowly came to the conclusion that I needed to do something drastic and out of my comfort zone: go to a doctor’s office and talk to a professional. Now, some might not consider this a big deal, but my mom always took care of me when I was sick. She would drive me to the doctor’s office, pick up my prescription for me and make sure I took my medicine at regular intervals. With no mother to alleviate my discomfort, I would have to tackle this illness on my own.

I made an appointment at the health center and a nice nurse led me to an examination room. She took one look at my pale face, runny nose, and swollen lymph nodes and said, “I bet you wish you were home right now.” One strep test later, I had my diagnosis: a sinus infection. The doctor gave me a prescription for some antibiotics and told me to take it three times a day.

The whole ordeal lasted less than 30 minutes and was relatively painless. After I was sent home, it hit me. I did it! I had successfully proven that I could take care of myself without my mother. Now I just need to figure out how to do taxes and I’ll practically be a real adult! Admittedly, I still wish I had my mom around sometimes to make me chicken soup. The cafeteria just can’t beat mom’s homemade cooking.